By adaptive - October 10th, 2017

Marketing executives are quick to note that while media and delivery methods have changed, one essential ingredient has not—the message. It is perhaps more crucial than ever for marketers to tell their story in a clever, concise way with meaningful content in order to cut through the ever-increasing clutter.

Peter McGuinness, chief marketing and brand officer for yogurt maker Chobani discussed the importance of storytelling and content amid the changing landscape of brand-building in the digital age with Open Mobile Media's Robert Gray.
Incite: Marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years with the proliferation of social media and digital options, what’s your take on the current marketplace?
McGuinness: Marketing and brands are in an interesting place, it’s changed in many ways but still about great content creation and storytelling. The brands that are succeeding today are the ones that are bravely and courageously telling great stories.
They’re also the ones that are purpose-based and belief-based that are transcending the products they make and punching well above their weight and they’re wading into society in a beautiful and integrated way. That’s the key: to have a modern, relevant and resonant brand.
Incite: What would you say are your top 3 priorities are for 2017?
McGuinness: At the end of the day, none of this matters if we don’t grow top line sales and market share. We want to grow brand preference so we can bring more people into yogurt and create consumption and have a good and positive effect on our category. We want to go from the leader in Greek yogurt to the leader in (all) yogurt. We just overtook Yoplait as the number two overall brand. Danone is number one.  We’re setting our sights on #1 overall--that’s for 2018. It’s good, solid growth, not outrageous, not unrealistic.
Incite: What would you say is the biggest change in marketing this year?
McGuinness: We love to talk about the death of TV and the advent of digital--it’s boring. Digital is everything; almost all of our public relations is read digitally. It’s all just marketing navel gazing. Everything’s changed but nothing’s changed: find out what’s special about your brand, tell it the best way you can, in channels that makes sense.
Incite: Through which channels do you primarily share your content and messaging?  And are you experimenting with any new channels?
McGuinness: Digital is everywhere, it’s a mechanism to deliver content. All customers who have brick and mortar outlets have a digital outlet. It’s not one or the other. Social channels work well for us, we do extremely well on Instagram--it’s about recipes, inspiration. We do great on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat. We lean heavily on Twitter.
We’re a young brand, nine years old, with fairly low penetration and awareness. It’s about the basics, we’re better food, nationally distributed, we’re underdeveloped and there’s a lot of runway left.
TV still works for us, even though it’s dying.
We’re a pioneering and innovative company but that doesn’t mean we need to be on the bleeding edge of technology or trends from a marketing perspective when we have 33 percent awareness and 67 percent of the country hasn’t heard of us.
Incite: What do you think is next for content & storytelling?
McGuinness: You have to have a story to tell. We’re of the belief we do a lot of exciting, innovative things. I don’t think there is a finish line.
What we’ve been doing is doing a lot of interesting programs, shares; when Hamdi Ulukaya gave away 10 percent of equity in the company it became one of the most watched NBC segments of all time.
When we did paid parental leave and the incubator, when we do refugee work, these are amazing areas and stories to tell so we do the programs first, and then we become a bit of a magnet and what we’ve been able to do is a lot of earned (media). Of course we do paid and owned, but we’ve done the right thing for the right reasons regardless of sentiment and what’s out there and that’s become a magnet for other people wanting to tell our story in deeper and authentic ways.
What I would say is have your vision, mission, beliefs and purpose and do real programs against that and people will want to tell your story with you and in some cases, for you.
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