Even in the most steady of sectors, many brands will find the fall from peak to trough too great to recover from, lasting for only a short while until the demand simply isn’t there. However, there are a handful of brands that have managed to achieve the kind of longevity that most Hollywood actors require excessive cosmetic surgery for.
Of these long-lasting brands, even fewer are able to maintain such a tight hold on their market in the way that Kellogg’s has. A brand with an unsurpassable heritage, Kellogg’s is a case study that every marketing graduate should be familiar with.
As the world of marketing continues to evolve, it’s essential that the Kellogg’s brand, like so many others, evolves with it. At the time of Kellogg’s inception in 1902, there certainly wouldn’t have been a senior co-ordinator for consumer promotions and interactive media on the payroll. However, it’s now 2004 and for the last three years Simon Jones has held just that position at Kellogg’s Manchester headquarters.
It’s a brand that Jones is very familiar with. Now in his twelfth year with Kellogg’s, he joined the firm as a senior graphic designer before moving into promotions and, latterly, interactive media. Taking time out of his reassuringly busy schedule, Jones is here to talk about his role and how one of the world’s most successful companies approaches interactive marketing.
“Interactive has become a very important medium for us. Having brands that appeal to all ages and types means that we have a lot of ground to cover, and there’s always more we can do. Our online offering runs from hard facts and data, though lifestyle and experiential content, to promotional support and gaming.”
As interactive continues to work alongside, rather than behind, other parts of marketing mix, Jones’s role becomes of paramount importance.
“I’m based in the marketing operations area, splitting my time between kids’ on-pack consumer promotions and interactive. I edit the corporate website, whereas brand-specific sites are the responsibility of the appropriate brand manager, as part of their media mix. Apart from running the corporate site and offering advice to the brand teams, I concern myself with the UK company’s interactive policy, particularly best practice and legal restrictions, and our shared server solution.”
Speaking passionately about the importance of interactive and Kellogg’s, Jones says: “We already have a great medium in the form of our packs, and interactive gives us a place to go into even more depth and involvement with our consumers. That might mean more time and space for an adult to check out the science behind our ‘Drop A Jeans Size’ campaign, or the opportunity for a kid to spend a bit more time with their favourite character.”
The Kellogg’s website stable has gone through a series of changes recently. Last year, Jones and his team reorganised the brand’s URLs so that all content would sit behind the www.kelloggs ... prefix.
“Kellogg’s maintains a deliberately limited range of sites – a main corporate site, plus brand-specific sites for those products that have the most news. This was to simplify the number and style of URLs that we had in the market, and to make our online presence more intuitive for the consumer.
“Our sites don’t provide e-commerce opportunities. They’re places to experience our brands at more leisure, or to interact with Kellogg’s in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago.”
During the last three years, Jones has worked closely with Manchester-based new media agency magneticNorth to ensure the Web delivers for Kellogg’s. Speaking of the www.kelloggs.co.uk umbrella site, Jones says: “It serves as the main reference for our consumers, regarding subjects such as products, promotions, lifestyle, vitamin and nutrition information, kids’ gaming, consumer contact and help forms, company history. Our homepage is a jumping-off point for all manner of features and activity.
“The site has been rebuilt several times as it has evolved (and as our experience has grown). The template you see today was designed to be modular, flexible and easy to update. We don’t use in-house content management – the site is designed and maintained by magneticNorth – so we needed a style that wouldn’t need wholesale reworking as features come in and out.”
There are four other product-specific sites, with magneticNorth and Arc Interactive responsible for two sites each. Despite declining to use the phrase “it’s grrrrreattttt”, Jones’ is full of praise for the Frosties site. “This is a red-hot gaming destination site that’s been pushing the boundaries over the last couple of years with 3D Shockwave games, as well as hosting an archive of classic games. As Frosties has become more involved with football recently, the site has been adapted to accommodate promotional support and hard facts.”
Other brands making use of their own sites are Special K, Coco Pops and Screamin Fruit.
Kellogg’s, as you’d expect, makes full use of the Web and all its capabilities. It uses a registered opted-in database, which means it hasn’t been affected to any great extent by the new legislation. Jones remarks: “We keep our outbound e-mails very simple and punchy, with an intriguing or compelling reason for the consumer – it’s not rocket science. We use a regular HTML template, which allows for various creative executions, plus all the legal and unsubscribe info that you’d expect. A plain text version is also sent – it always surprises me how many commercial e-mails don’t show at all in plain text, or even worse, display reams of HTML code. Using a text-only mail package at work prevents me from overlooking things like that.”
Jones also makes sure the sites are worthy of the time, effort and money that are invested. “As you’d expect, we set metrics for our sites’ performance. These include the usual measures: number of visits/unique visitors, dwell time and database growth. We correlate these hard facts against spend to weigh up what’s delivering and earning its keep, and to identify features and mechanics that don’t work hard enough. But part of the process is trying new things without the 100 per cent certainty that it will work – and that’s part of the fun too. ‘New media’ is still new enough for us to be trying things we’ve never done before.”
Rather succinctly, Jones is keen to explain the way Kellogg’s rolls with the punches. “As we’ve become more experienced, and as we feel our consumers are becoming more confident online, we’ve begun to use the Web as an integrated part of the mechanics of delivering our promotions. In the past we would have run a feature online about our on-pack promotions. These days there’s every chance that we’ll make the Web an essential means of taking part: that might be the place where you collect your Amazon unique codes in an online account, or where you are driven from the TV as the only place to make your entry into the Crunchy Nut Clusters competition.”
While interactive media is likely to evolve extensively over the coming years, one thing that you can put your mortgage on is that Kellogg’s will be there to wake up to and, if there’s a medium for a consumer to experience a brand in more depth, Kellogg’s and Jones will find a way of making it possible.