Monday, March 29, 2010

FUEL Your Creativity, THRIVE in Brand Development Contest

WheatiesHave you seen the new Wheaties FUEL™ cereal in your neighborhood grocery store or viewed recent promotional campaigns for this Wheaties® brand extension? Did Ben Johnson’s blog posts about Big G’s extensive co-creation efforts to revitalize the 85-year-old iconic Wheaties® brand fascinate you? The MN AMA is proud to bring you exclusive access to the Wheaties FUEL™ development team in our upcoming Morning Program in April!

But wait, innovative marketing ideas are meant to be shared. To encourage intellectual discussions in brand development, the MN AMA is proud to present our second social media contest! Prizes include:

  • Grand Prize: One full-year supply of Wheaties FUEL™, a $100 value
  • Two signed Wheaties FUEL™ Cereal Packages, valued at $50 each
  • Two free passes for the April program, valued at $50 each

The rules are simple. First, review Ben’s blog posts (The Wheaties FUEL™ Development Story Part 1 and Part 2) and the website to familiarize yourself with General Mill’s product co-creation strategy. Then tell us your thoughts about the Wheaties FUEL™ campaign:

  • What do you like about it or what don’t you like about it?
  • What should Big G consider to improve their co-creation and promotional campaign?
  • Provide an example of how similar product development and marketing strategy may or may not be successfully applied to another branded product/service other than the ready-to-eat cereal category.

Two-ways to Participate and Win:i

  1. Participate through Facebook:
    Become a Fan of MNAMA and Wheaties on Facebook. Submit your answers via MNAMA Discussion: “FUEL Your Creativity, THRIVE in Brand Development Contest Submission (3/30/2010, 8AM CST - 04/05/2010, 12:00PM CST)
  2. Participate through Twitter:
    Follow @MNAMA and @Wheaties_FUEL on Twitter if you aren’t already doing so. Submit your answers via Twitter with hashtags #MNAMA #Wheaties. (NOTE: Both hashtags must be included in each qualified tweet.)

Be honest, be creative and be reasonable. All you have to do is share or tweet your original idea(s). Share and tweet as much as you'd like - just be sure to follow the instructions above. Don't want to join Facebook or Twitter? Sorry... this is the only way to enter this contest.

The contest will begin at 8:00 AM CST on Tuesday, March 30 and run until 12:00PM CST on Monday, April 5. Any discussion responses or tweets submitted before or after these dates/times will not be considered. One Signed Wheaties FUEL™ Cereal Package and one Free Program pass will be awarded to the top responses in each social media channel.ii The grand prize will be awarded to the best response received between Facebook and Twitter. The lucky winners will be announced at 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 6. All prizes must be claimed at the event on April 13 at General Mills Headquarters, so please be sure you are able to attend! We promise it will be worth clearing your schedule for.

Questions? Feel free to leave a comment here, post your question on Facebook Participant Q&A discussion post or reach us via Twitter @MNAMA. Good luck, and spread the word!

i    Winning is limited to one (1) prize per participant. Participants may elect to participate exclusively through Facebook, Twitter or both. All participants must fully comply with the selected social media channel(s) requirements. Odds of winning are subjected to the quality of responses and the total number of participations. All submissions will be reviewed and judged by the MN AMA social media team. Current MN AMA Board Members and Social Media Team volunteers are not eligible to participate in this contest.

ii    Subjected to the quality of responses and the number of participations in each approved social media channel, the MN AMA reserves the rights to reassign prizes if deemed appropriate.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

An invitation to expose yourself: How well does your inside match your outside?

By Marc Sokol
No, we are not talking about undergarments! But we are talking about what happens inside your organization that either helps or hinders the execution of your sales and marketing strategy.
This is a new guest blog for MNAMA. Each month we will take a brief look at the organizational dynamics that drive your team to success or that drive you to drink.
As a psychologist, I tune into what makes people tick and how people relate to each other. As an organizational consultant, I’ve helped teams and organizations recognize what it takes to make change happen, to become more effective, and to see just how easily companies become dysfunctional even when they have good intentions.
This is an opportunity for you to sound off, to ask your community what they think and what they would do. I’ll have an occasional opinion to share as well. So let’s get started!
First, a few questions:
  • How well does the internal culture of your company match the brand message you share with customers? Does your inside mirror your outside?
  • How well do the front-line employees of your business understand the marketing strategy? If you are on that front-line, do you get a clear message, a mixed message, or no message at all?
  • How much latitude do you and others have to serve customers in ways that reinforce your brand and make a difference? (Or do you feel like passengers on the Titanic wondering which part of the ship will go down first!)
  • When it comes to helping your company execute an effective sales and marketing strategy, what drives you crazy about the way your company is managed? How is the alignment between what they say vs. what they do?
If one or more of these questions strikes a chord with you, or if reading them absolutely makes your hair stand on end, then take two minutes and leave a comment.
It’s time to sound off!
Marc Sokol is an organizational psychologist with an eye for how people and teams can be more effective, even in a dysfunctional company. He is part of M Squared Group, a data-driven marketing consultancy.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Wheaties FUEL™ Development Story - Part 2

By Ben Johnson

The Wheaties Team looks forward to welcoming AMA members to General Mills on April 13th! We are planning for a great discussion regarding the newest Breakfast of Champions®, New Wheaties FUEL! If you haven’t checked out my previous post and the websiodes detailing the co-creation of new Wheaties FUEL with the likes of Albert Pujols, Kevin Garnett and Peyton Manning, take a look at webisode #2. In webisode #2, Dr. John Ivy has breakfast with the co-creation team members and discusses what they need from a breakfast cereal. The Wheaties Team broke the mold for traditional product development and allowed our team of co-creators to play a central role in the process.

Additionally, take a moment to check out the Wheaties Facebook Page to see what we are up to in the social media space. Take a moment to join-in on the day-to-day banter of champions at

Ben Johnson is an Associate Marketing Manager for the Wheaties Brand at General Mills. Ben and his team will be presenting "The Evolution of an American Icon: The Wheaties FUEL Development Story" at the upcoming MN AMA program on April 13, 2010.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Marketing the Philanthropic Brand

By Emily Jasper

There are some people who just belong in marketing: they are outgoing, creative, and full of energy. What if you aren’t sure? It seems like a pretty fun industry, there are tons of blogs and publications dedicated to the topic, and all your Twitter friends are in marketing or PR. All the signs are pointing to yes, and yet there’s still a question.

Do I belong in marketing? It seems so superficial…

This is tough for many people, especially because there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world. Marketing might even be more susceptible to uncertainty, not just because of lost jobs and decreases in budget, but because the whole nature of marketing is changing. If you need stability in your life, marketing can seem pretty daunting.

And the whole point is to raise awareness of a brand…it might want you to buy something.

The thing to keep in mind is that marketing touches everything, and it’s not all sketchy. Sure, there are messages about “Buy, buy, buy!” On the other hand, did you ever wonder who got the neat job to handle the philanthropic efforts for a company? The representatives to make donations on the news? The planners of fundraising galas with celebrity entertainers?

Could be marketing.

What may have been lost during the recession’s hardest months is that positive work that organizations do. Donating time to your community or collecting canned goods for a shelter is great work that a company can highlight as part of its public appearance. Sure, if your company isn’t actually doing those kinds of things, don’t promote it as if you are. But there isn’t a reason to hide good work. If it’s part of a company’s brand, put it into the portfolio.

If you love highlighting that kind of community and philanthropic work, look into how companies market their own involvement. They are sponsors at a national level for organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure or can be involved more locally with the Race for the Cure event in your city. There may be entire teams in a company doing food drives or knitting blankets for hospitals.

If you are heavily involved in that arena, there is no reason why you cannot be part of communicating those efforts as part of a company brand.

Emily Jasper is a Corporate Marketing Manager with PDI Ninth House. In addition to marketing, Emily has sales and PR experience from previous roles. She currently writes a blog, "From the Gen Y Perspective," and can be followed on Twitter at

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Monday, March 1, 2010

The Wheaties FUEL™ Development Story

By Ben Johnson

New Wheaties FUEL cereal -- created with the help of Peyton Manning, triathlete Hunter Kemper, Kevin Garnett, gold medal-winning decathlete Bryan Clay, Albert Pujols and sports nutritionist Dr. John Ivy -- is now available in retail stores across the country. Wheaties FUEL is a lightly sweetened, crunchy whole wheat flake with crispy rice and a touch of honey and cinnamon and it represents the evolution of the iconic 85-year-old Breakfast of Champions®. Wheaties FUEL is the first-ever cereal designed to help meet the nutritional needs of today's athletes. Take a look at the first webisode, reviewing the unique Wheaties FUEL co-creation process.

Ben Johnson is an Associate Marketing Manager for the Wheaties Brand at General Mills. Ben and his team will be presenting "The Evolution of an American Icon: The Wheaties FUEL Development Story" at the upcoming MN AMA program on April 13, 2010.

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