General Mills’ 150-Year-Old Brand Is Tackling a ‘Billion Acts of Good’

Chief brand officer of North America Brad Hiranaga talked about what's top of mind for the brand

Editor: Breana Mallamaci
Headshot of Nadine Dietz

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.—General Mills has been around for more than a century, but its relatively new mission is still less than a year old. At the annual Brandweek summit, I caught up with Brad Hiranaga, the company’s chief brand officer of North America to find out what’s top of mind for him as he takes on turning this 150-year-old brand into “a force for good.”

Delivering 30 billion meals to fight hunger, reviving 1 million acres of land through regenerative agriculture—these are just a couple of the billion acts of good the company is tackling. Hiranaga also told us that he’s thinking about innovation more holistically.

“We’ve really started to think about the intersection of brands, culture and then technology and making people’s lives easier.” One example of that is digitizing the company’s cornerstone Box Tops for Education program that’s generated nearly $1 billion for schools in more than 20 years.

Innovation of this scale does not come easy, he acknowledged. When asked about the challenges, Hiranaga noted one of the biggest opportunities in marketing today is to employ an “and mindset” to fuel growth.

“It’s not only going to be data that’s going to tell us how to target or personalize experiences for consumers, and it’s not only going to be inspiring things that make me feel good,” he said. “It’s going to be both.”

Watch to hear more about what’s top of mind for Hiranaga and the advice he offered to fellow marketers from what he’s learned in his 15 years with General Mills. Nadine Dietz is chief community officer at Adweek and host of the CMO Moves podcast.