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General Mills’ Arjoon Bose says FMCG brands must aim to be 'more responsible'

By Thomas Hobbs, Journalist

April 1, 2020 | 4 min read

There is an opportunity for the brands owned by General Mills to become more mindful and responsible, according to Arjoon Bose, the FMCG giant’s head of brand experience for the Europe and Australasia regions.

old el paso ads

Bose believes there's space for brands owned by General Mills (like Old El Paso) to become more mindful and responsible

In an interview with The Drum’s executive editor Sonoo Singh as part of our ongoing Digital Transformation festival, Bose was asked if FMCG firms were well placed to play a meaningful role in consumers’ lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

He replied: “In our industry of food, there’s never been a greater time to be more responsible in how you interact with your consumers and serve them. We need to be there [more].

“The brands in our portfolio can deepen the relationship with a consumer by acting more responsibly and mindfully. Our brands need to be having meaningful one-to-one conversations. We need to take a stand, where possible, and serve as a beacon of inspiration and force for good. There’s a lot of opportunities.”

Looking forward, he admitted that as a marketer he was nervous about sponsoring or putting money into live events due to the ongoing pandemic, and suggested General Mills could look at investing its marketing budget primarily in the digital space over the coming months.

“During these unprecedented times, where traditional advertising might prove to be challenging, we have no choice but to review our plans,” he said.

“We are mindful of where consumers are spending most of their time so there will be an increased shift at looking what we can do in the digital social influencer space. There will need to be more of a focus on social, digital and e-commerce. Embracing the right tech is going to be important to look at.”

On how embedding responsibility into General Mills' brands might look like in reality, Bose explained: “We are in the midst of making these changes, so I can’t say too much.

"But let’s say one of our brands like Old El Paso, which is a Mexican-inspired cooking brand all about recipes and bringing people together around a table, well, people are going to have more time at home [because of coronavirus]. So recipes could be a strong way to bring more good noise of happiness and variation into people’s lives.

“Or if you look at Lärabar, which is a gluten-free, vegan energy bar, we can embrace the more mindful tribe. We can connect with its fans through content that touches on wellness and mindfulness; there’s a chance to bring that community together.”

Bose also explained how General Mills recently altered its home baking brand Betty Crocker, starting in the Middle East, so it was less female-centric, taking note of the fact that just about everyone right now is baking.

You can watch the full interview here and view more content from The Drum's Digital Transformation Festival here.

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