Diana Marszalek 07 Oct 2020 // 12:20AM GMT
MINNEAPOLIS — Food giant General Mills has named Golin as its new PR agency of record following a competitive review that also brings in brand development firm Select Design to handle internal communications.
Golin has been hired to support General Mills’ portfolio of more than 100 consumer brands including Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The agency will also lead corporate reputation efforts for the General Mills brand, Golin said in a statement.
Golin's primary focus with be North America although General Mills will tap the firm's global capabilities as needed. Sources involved in the pitch earlier told PRovoke Media that the company is aiming to tell a more cohesive story of its purpose efforts, which is highlighted by such initiatives as Feeding America.
“Golin will be a terrific partner to General Mills,” said chief communications officer Jano Cabrera. “They have what it takes to infuse our brands into culture. We’re excited to bring them on as our external agency of record.”
Spokesman Rob Litt said Vermont firm Select Design will focus on engaging employees. "We see value in having a thought partner to break through the clutter to connect with employees, especially as many are working remote during the Covid-era."
Ketchum was the incumbent agency, although General Mills — with so many brands — has long worked with a roster of PR firms including Golin as well as smaller creative shops, like Minneapolis’ Fast Horse.
"Ketchum has been a great partner for General Mills and they are wrapping up existing work with us," added Litt.
Cabrera, who oversaw the pitch, has a history of working with Golin, having joined General Mills last year from longtime Golin client McDonald’s. He replaced Mary Lynn Carver, who stepped down from the role after four years and currently runs her own consultancy.
The move also comes amid a broader rethink of the company’s marketing strategy. In discussing fiscal 2021 first quarter earnings (during which net sales rose 9% to $4.4 billion), CEO Jeff Harmening said General Mills is in the process of increasing its marketing spend, particularly around its big brands and business-driving initiatives, Strategy reported. Changes will also include a greater emphasis on digital marketing and e-commerce.
“We couldn’t be more excited about our new partnership with General Mills,” said Golin vice chair Ellen Ryan Mardiks. “They’ll get our best insights and boldest ideas as they build relevance for their brilliant brand portfolio—including the iconic General Mills brand itself. We are ready to do great things together.”