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Three data-driven strategies to grow your brand

By Charisse Hughes, SVP, Chief Growth Officer

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest-growing data-driven technologies being used worldwide, transforming every industry and every function in business.

Many organizations are focused on finding the “AI silver bullet” fix, but the reality is being data-driven is a continuous journey, not a destination. While the data deluge can be daunting, the benefits of advanced analytics – AI, machine learning, and data scientists – allow brands to connect with consumers in more personalized and authentic ways than ever before.

At Kellanova, our vision is a good and just world where people are not just fed but fulfilled. Our purpose is to create better days and a place at the table for everyone. As consumer profiles and behaviors continuously evolve, we’ve doubled down on the investments we’ve made in recent years and recently assembled a center-led Advanced Analytics team focused on scaling our approach to AI, and machine learning, prioritizing full-funnel marketing, revenue growth management, and portfolio analytics to ensure we’re living by our vision and purpose.

As we’ve established our Kellanova Advanced Analytics team, we’ve identified three best practices on how to leverage data to help grow our brands. At the core, we’re infusing cultural relevance and greater understanding into how we develop our foods and engage with our diverse mix of consumers.

1. Prioritize which data is most important and valuable.

One of the greatest assets of any business is its unique customer data — interactions, transactions, and behaviors. It’s essential to understand what unique insights your data gives you and how to merge it with external data to identify the opportunities.

Kellanova, previously Kellogg Company, has been on this journey for several years, with data as the backbone of our AI and machine learning efforts. We collect and analyze multiple first-party data sources, including 33 million households from our loyalty program and second and third-party data. But the magic lies in integrating and synthesizing across the data sources. When we cut across domains, transformational things can happen, and insights turn into growth opportunities.

We’ve taken it one step further with the launch of our Antenna platform – our online lab created to shape the future of food innovation directly with consumers. The antenna allows us to test dozens of food concepts simultaneously across thousands of consumers in minutes, with the actionable insight available near-real-time – with minimal human interaction required.

2. Recognize that AI cannot be separated from EDI & ESG goals.

AI should elevate human intelligence, not replace it. The COVID-19 pandemic drove many companies to leapfrog into adopting AI at scale and prompted a shift in expectations for equity, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. We’ve married our machine learning efforts with human empathy through our “K Way of Inclusive Marketing,” equipping our marketers with the knowledge and conviction to create holistic and inclusive brand strategies and experiences that will delight and nourish our rapidly evolving consumer base for generations to come.

Additionally, we recognize that AI must act in service to our EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) and ESG (Environment Social Governance) goals ensuring there’s a place at the table for everyone. We recently updated our Advanced Analytics ESG framework to drive transparency in collecting and using customer data to ensure it’s being used ethically and not wrought with biases. We look at four key pillars – Collect, Protect, Activate & Communicate – formalizing responsibility for ethics at every value chain stage.

3. Break down silos and champion cross-collaboration.

Information silos can create challenges in business, so it’s essential that all employees involved are working in sync.  To ensure continuity throughout our organization, we’ve partnered with our global IT team to host quarterly Internal Data & Analytics Summits across functions to educate employees on how we’re using advanced data and analytics, further connecting the dots and turning insights into action that drive growth for the business.

Next steps?

We believe it’s critically important to test and learn out loud – we’ll continue to grow and become more experienced, providing the right Kellanova foods to consumers who desire them the most.

As marketers, we are responsible for ensuring our foods, communications, and teams reflect the diverse experiences of consumers. By leveraging data and advanced analytics, we can better understand the lived experiences of customers and authentically represent them in our creative, messaging, and foods.

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