General Mills is home to 100 brands in 100 markets worldwide. Their portfolio is highlighted by iconic brands like Cheerios, Yoplait, Nature Valley, and Häagen Dazs—each worth more than $1 billion in retail sales.
General Mills’ enormous brand portfolio demands an equally large supply of customer intelligence. Late 2019, their Consumer Insights Team decided to apply technology to address the following challenges: how could they leverage their intelligence across decentralized global teams and countless sources of information?
How could they create not only an easily accessible library of insights but a living, breathing, evolving ecosystem their stakeholders could rely on to make winning decisions?
The HIVE: a one-stop-shop for insights
Paul Schroeder, General Mills’ Associate Manager of Consumer Insights, says within ten months of launching “the HIVE,” the platform is already empowering insights teams and business users to make faster decisions. With $45 million worth of insights at the fingertips of the business, the insights team is well on its way to creating the insights ecosystem they imagined.
When General Mills launched their Market Logic insights platform, they had full buy-in from senior leadership. Sakshi Aggarwal, Head, Global Consumer Insights, says strong endorsement from senior leadership was a key enabler for effective collaboration once the global pandemic hit. VPs included links to the HIVE in weekly emails, which reinforced the HIVE’s status as a one-stop-shop. Says Sakshi, “we’re building an entire ecosystem, and marketing it as the ecosystem for CMI.”
With a large insights team working independently across regions, categories, and brands, Paul says General Mills needed a better way to leverage their intelligence across their decentralized global teams. But the teams weren’t the only decentralized challenge the organization faced.
There was a time not too long ago when all data, information, and insights “were spread far and wide,” Paul says. It wasn’t unheard of for insights professionals at General Mills to have to keep track of up to 15 different logins and passwords to get all the information they needed.
The HIVE’s seamless workflows, integrated secondary sources, and 45-million-dollar knowledge asset, all available in one user-friendly market insights platform, were exactly what General Mills needed to connect the dots between their insights and their stakeholders to truly harness the power of their data.
Driving results on the HIVE
In less than a year, Paul said there were three ways the HIVE became the brand’s comprehensive digital insights workspace:
1. Efficient vendor management
Three years ago, Paul said his team started on a journey to consolidate their vendor roster. “It was a manual process that was very difficult to manage,” he said. Now, the HIVE makes it easier for Paul and his team to navigate and manage their vendor ecosystem. Because of the HIVE’s automated vendor and procurement workflows, General Mills can better leverage their strategic partners to scale while also consolidating vendors they’re not using.
2. Visibility across teams and reduced research duplication
The HIVE is an easily accessible workspace for General Mills’ insights and business teams to see what other global teams are doing. “Our goal is to identify teams’ opportunities to partner more, especially when learning about similar audiences and occasions,” Paul said. When a user enters a research brief on the HIVE, the system tells them exactly what relevant knowledge and insights already exist. Not only does this make their teams’ work more visible to others, but it also reduces research duplication, preventing teams from continually reinventing the wheel.
3. A complete point of view, easily accessed and shared
The HIVE brings together all General Mills’ primary research, syndicated sources, and news feeds in one place. Paul said this gives General Mills’ insights pros a more complete point of view, and as a bonus, delivers much better ROI on their syndicated subscriptions. To move quickly with the HIVE’s deployment, the team created a virtual event and leader board to incentivize folks to lean in, find their past research, and upload it, all within a three-week period. “By getting this right, we were able to move pretty quick,” Paul said.
An insights ecosystem for the entire enterprise
In the first two months of activation, 200 users conducted over 2000 searches on the HIVE – a powerful endorsement of the team’s decision to invest in a one-stop-shop for all of General Mills’ insights needs.