Innovation Day at Walmart

February 6, 2013

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA

I made my first-ever trip to Bentonville, Arkansas this past week where Walmart hosted ANA Innovation Day.  Here are some highlights from the day:

  • Walmart: CMO Stephen Quinn stressed that innovation come from within your core. Know why you are in business—for Walmart, it’s “save money, live better”—and innovate around that.
  • Kraft: Barry Capino, VP of Breakthrough Innovation, said, “Just get rid of all the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”  Back in 2009, Kraft launched 135 new products and rated last in one ranking of innovation.  In 2011 they narrowed their focus to twelve big bets and performance sky rocketed.
  • General Mills: Ami Anderson, Director of Marketing Excellence, talked about the importance of brand purpose versus brand promise.  Brand promise is what we are (as a brand).  Brand purpose is what we do and what our brand can uniquely own.  As an example, the brand promise for Yoplait is, “Always so good” while the brand purpose is “Creating experiences that make her feel so good.”
  • P&G: Alex Tosolini, VP e-Business, spoke about the importance of authenticity and authentic content.  92% of consumers trust earned media above all other advertising.  70% trust consumer reviews more than brand advertising.
  • Intel: Mariann Coleman is Director, Global Agency Relations & Performance and manages Intel’s Marketing Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate great agency work in categories including creative, paid media, and earned media.  The awards serve as terrific motivators for agencies. P&G and Walmart also recognize agency performance with award programs and more marketers should consider doing so.

Finally, here are a few memorable lines heard during the day:

  • “Innovation is about monetizing ideas—not just generating ideas.”
  • “Marketers have two ears and one mouth that we should use proportionately.”
  • “Steal (ideas and innovation from others) with pride.”


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