For today’s Kellogg’s it’s all about transparency in storytelling. How often have you asked, “What’s in my food?” I know as a child I spent hours reading the cereal box as I ate my morning breakfast. Potassium, iron and all those ingredients were meaningless to me as a child but as a mom for today’s average consumer they take on all new meaning. As the Chief Health Officer those standard lists don’t tell the full story and she wants the full explanation behind those ingredients. Here’s a fun fact: one third of Kellogg’s traffic comes from the cereal box!
I had the pleasure of attending a session led by Rick Wion, Senior Director of Consumer Engagement at Kellogg’s, at this year’s Content Marketing World. He is the father of three kids who think he’s the coolest dad because he works for the company their cereal comes from. I’m sure he gets peppered with questions from his kids with questions similar to those questions Kellogg’s receives everyday. Those many questions became the idea behind “Open for Breakfast”, a website Kellogg’s developed to field questions from their consumers around nutrition, sustainability, and philanthropy. Every week they get hundreds of queries.
These questions are all part of Kellogg’s content strategy for building trust through transparency. They grab a handful of them and answer/publish them as content in the form of videos, expert interviews, infographics and fast facts. “How does Kellogg’s help farmers?” “What’s in Rice Krispies?”
Why is Kellogg’s doing this? “Trust in institutions is at an all time low so transparency is important for institutions and brands,” said Wion. “And Consumers expect more information. Consumers are demanding more value. They want to know how we are helping the environment or choosing brands that help children and farmers.”
Wion believes, as we all should, that building trust with your customer is paramount and the foundation for any brand’s future if anything negative occurs. No consumer expects a brand to be perfect and if you’ve built trust they will believe you will right the ship should anything happen. That said, consumers are looking for consistency so brands need to stay at the top of their game.
Wion stated, “Transparency builds trust. Transparency impacts purchase intent. And when you build trust through understanding you not only help your brand or product, it improves employee relations. It’s important to build a network within your organization because it is the foundation for transparent story creation. Customers need to see those stories and messages everywhere. It can’t just be a 30 second spot.”
Along the way, having worked at McDonalds and now at Kellogg’s, Mr. Wion has learned some valuable lessons, which he happily shared.