CG Leaders Discuss Insights, Innovation and Action for Growth
The 2015 Consumer Goods Business Technology Leadership Conference (CGBTLC) on October 19-22, reunited a community that has been actively engaged for the past 17 years. Attendees gathered at the Grand Floridian in Orlando, Fla., to have their thinking challenged on important topics, like supply chain integration, trade promotion management, big data and analytics, collaboration, innovation and more. These topics were presented in a leader-to-leader format, centered on the cross-functional theme of “The Levers of Growth: Insight, Innovation, Action.” Check out #CGBTLC on Twitter to view takeaways from conference attendees. Here are some more of the highlights from the event:
- The consumer goods (CG) industry is going through a period of transformative change. Demographic shifts resulting from the aging of the Baby Boomer cohort and the rise of the Millennial cohort are having a profound impact on consumer preferences. As a result, many iconic brands are losing relevance and experiencing declining sales while new upstarts are experiencing periods of explosive growth. In the event’s opening keynote session, Dave Ciesinski, the Former EVP & president of Kraft Meal Solutions shared his perspective on these demographic changes. For example, “Millennials are now the largest percent of home and car buyers. Their definition of ‘healthy’ is VERY different than past generations and they will drive 75 percent of growth in food spending between 2014 and 2015,” he warns. Ciesinski revealed how brands, equipped with the right consumer insights, teamwork, courage, and perseverance, can win in this new environment.
- With the theme of insights, innovation and action, CGT presented its first-ever Super Session — drilling down into the key elements of success. In the first segment (insights) Asif Khan, founder & president, Location Based Marketing Association, showcased real-world case studies and new technologies that expand the horizons of geo-location marketing. Khan revealed that “85 percent of all data has a location element included, and it is the only piece of data that allows us to track people across devices and media types.” In the second segment (innovation), from the fragrance industry, Randy Donaldson, former VP, engineering with Elizabeth Arden and Cosmetic Essence examined the impact of innovations – some that find fast-moving success, and others that don’t. “Sometimes innovation is resurrecting the past, with a twist,” Donaldson asserted. To close out the Super Session (action), Dipu Mukherjee from PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay Division showcased the progression from insights and innovation to strategic business actions. Mukherjee confirmed, you have to, “Unlock actions to moneti$e outcomes.”
- Some companies are on a mission to change lives. They have a laser-focused purpose and their own financial growth is almost an afterthought. This session set up afternoon activity focused on RetailROI, by showcasing another organization “making a difference.” American Standard, LIXIL Water Technology, through its business model, its use of insights, product innovation and action is changing lives in Sub-Saharan Africa with the introduction of an innovative toilet product that meets local customs for intuitive adoption by the end user, while reducing the transmission of disease so prevalent in that region from open latrines. American Standard Vice President of Ceramics Technology Jim McHale explained how the company has used its industry leadership, along with solid consumer marketing expertise and engineering know-how to make this happen.
- The results of the revamped 2015 Tech Trends Study revealed the latest data on technology spending, adoption and trends in the consumer goods industry. The result: Companies are building the foundation for the future where the Internet of Things will keep consumers and businesses perpetually connected, through current investments in social, mobile, analytics, and cloud technologies. Moderated by Gartner, Inc.’s Managing Vice President Stephen Smith, an esteemed panel joined the stage to offer real-world case studies on some of the topics covered in the study. Panelists included: Tony Bender, CIO & Vice President, Global Business Services, Edgewell Personal Care; Jon Harding, CIO, Conair Corporation; Sid Mathur, Sr. Vice President, Strategic Development and M&A, Mattel; and Douglas Rammel, Vice President, Corporate Development, BAI Suavecito.
- The event's second keynote speaker, Kirsten Curtis, Managing Director, The Food Fund, discussed how revolutionary new technology is enabling the food industry to grow in innovative ways. Curtis urged companies to "develop a food science strategy." Curtis addressed how retailers and manufacturers can work together more collaboratively to achieve ground-breaking growth.
- Many industry leaders today align their professional work and personal values in a way that enriches both. Joe Skorupa, Editorial Director, RIS News, moderated a panel of leading executives in the consumer goods and retail industries who have found a way to responsibly blend their professional lives and inspire their companies with the spirit of charitable giving to vulnerable children in the United States and around the world. The panel consisted of Greg Buzek, President, IHL Consulting & Donor Trustee of Retail Orphan Initiative; Vicki Cantrell, Sr. Vice President, Communities, National Retail Federation; and Glenn Schultz, IT Director, Jockey International. After the lively discussion attendees of the event dived up into teams to play SURVEY SAYS, based on the famous gameshow, all while benefiting the Retail Orphan Initiative (www.retailroi.org) in their mission to raise awareness and provide real help to the more than 400 million vulnerable children worldwide. The activity raised $12,000 for the RetailROI charitable organization.
- In the event's day three keynote, Grocery Manufacturers Association executives Jim Flannery and Karin Moore came together to provide an overview of new laws and regulations that are impacting the CPG industry. In "Using Innovation and Action to Overcome Regulatory Hurdles" they talked about ways that industry partners can take action together (legally) to craft innovative solutions to the challenges the new regulations have created.
- For the first time, the 2015 CGT Business & Technology Leadership award winners sat down in a panel to share insights into their successes. CGT Editor Alarice Rajagopal presented the awards before Group Publisher Albert Guffanti hosted a roundtable including: Mark Dajani, Sr. Vice President, CIO & Process Officer, Mondelez International; Amy Mayo, Service Manager, Modelez International; and Boyd Smythe, Sr. Director, Analytics, Frito-Lay N.A. Click here for the full list of the 2015 Business & Technology Award winners and finalists. Click here to read about Mondelez International’s Mark Dajani Winning the 2015 CIO of the Year award.