How Nestlé is tapping into the millennial mind by embracing reverse mentoring

As part of Nestlé's digital transformation strategy, the 150 year old FMCG company has embraced reverse mentoring with young digital natives educating c-level executives.

The newly employed chief executive of the company's Germany division, Beatrice Guillame-Grabisch has championed the initiative, believing it can close the digital knowledge gap for older employees who haven’t fully grasped digital skills like social media. The move to school executives in millennial thinking comes as Nestlé continues to drive forward its company-wide digital transformation, a task that was launched with the formation of the business’ Digital Activation Team (DAT) in 2012.

“It’s such an unbelievable experience… because it’s not only understanding the digital world it’s also understanding different perspectives from different generations,” explained Guillame-Grabisch, who herself has a female mentor in her twenties.

Speaking at Dmexco earlier today (17 September), she added. “It’s part of a discussion but it’s also part of utilisation and we see what is already great and what can be improved. So out of that session it’s not only learning its moving the agenda into action again.”

Part of the digital transformation includes a renewed focus on ecommerce. Guillame-Grabisch wants to "win" in the space to help the company "face the future". For example in Germany, ecommerce currently accounts for just 0.8 per cent of sales and in France only 4.5 per cent. Nestlé plans to forge partnerships with ecommerce natives such as Amazon to create new revenue streams for its 2000-strong brand portfolio. It has sold its Felix cat food brand on Amazon, which “immediately became a best seller” in the category, claimed Guillame-Grabisch.

The business has previously made clear its ambition in the online retail space after hiring former Amazon director of consumables Sebastien Szczepaniak in May to head up its ecommerce offering.

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