Valérie Hernando Presse, Global CMO of Danone
Valérie Hernando Presse
Global CMO

Danone Global CMO Valérie Hernando Presse on Reimagining Marketing to Reconcile Business and Purpose

Valérie Hernando Presse, Global CMO of Danone, has been on a mission for the past 18 months with Danone’s 2000 global marketers to reimagine marketing.  As the first Global CMO of Danone in a decade, Valérie’s prior role in Strategy and Corporate Affairs (along with some candid family feedback) inspired her to take this course to better connect marketing, business and purpose by putting people in the center of every brand, in particular, manifesto brands.

“The power of brands to impact society and to address human aspirations is tremendous. It's just a question of imagination and shaking the traditional practices of marketing.”

This episode is packed full of incredible advice on how to transform into a “people-powered” marketing team. I can’t do justice in one short summary, so below is her high-level roadmap and key takeaways. Join us as we dive deep into each step and hear from Valérie directly on how she is challenging herself and her team to live up to Danone’s promise of “One Planet, One Health”.

On this Episode: Valérie's Leadership Tips

  • Find the Driving Force. To set up this vision was really the first job of this team. I traveled a lot, met with many people and we came up with one single observation: that the main force urging for marketing transformation was not tech or data or AI. It's a power shift from big corporations, experts, medical experts, governance, powerful people to ordinary people – each of us – because people and technology are really empowering each other.  People have an unstoppable desire to drive the change, to participate and to use their voice.  They want to sit in the driver's seat.
  • Provide a Vision. The individual is the new factor for change. This is what we call the food revolution and each time we eat and drink, we are voting for the society and the world we want. We are voting for agriculture.  To make it simple, the marketing vision that we shared was to say that we will embrace this new power. This is full of opportunities. This is a new world of people-powered marketing.  Embracing societal shifts, not just growing our brands for people we serve, but with them, bringing to life “One Planet, One Health” through connecting people off the brands.
  • Share a Clear Focus. After the vision, you have to share a clear focus for the organization. And what was obvious was to focus on our way of building brands, our brand strategy, our brand platform model that we call manifesto brands, which means really putting people at the center of your strategy. The purpose of the brand – the big why of the brand – comes to life by taking a stance on societal issues that matter to your tribes and acting upon them consistently over time. “One Planet, One Health” drives the brand movements with the people that we serve.
  • Empower Transformation. From our team of 2000 marketers, who we call “The Collective”, we brought our senior marketing leaders together last year in one place to kick off this journey. The first marketing conference ever at Danone, declaring marketing as we do it is over.  Our role, as the central marketing team, is not just to shake the boats and challenge the traditional practices, but really unleash talent by encouraging them to reclaim their entrepreneurship and provide the support they need to succeed.  It requires a lot of ambition and excitement to reimagine marketing, but in the end, a lot of humility.
  • Have a Societal Impact. The power of brands to impact society and to address human aspirations is tremendous. It's just a question of imagination and shaking the traditional practices of marketing. It's very demanding because you are dealing with impact in society so you cannot play with that. You will have to be sure you are legitimate to act upon this topic and that you will do it consistently over time. It's not one shot, it cannot be one shot. It's a long and difficult journey to become a manifesto brand and to make a real impact.