Mr. Michael King
Principles of Management
December 2, 2010
Case Application: Mixing It Up
In July of 2000, General Mills acquired Pillsbury from London based Diageo for $10.5 billion in stock and assumed debt. (All Business, A D&B Company) After the merger, managers from General Mills were now faced with integrating the two Minnesota based companies. A special concern that had been brought up was marketing issues. With such household names such as Pillsbury, Betty Croker, Green Giant, Wheaties, and Cheerios, the managers at General Mills had a large task at hand on how to continue to market the many brands under their umbrella. As said by Kevin Wilde, the company’s chief learning officer, they had wanted to “get the best out of both of our marketing organizations”. The problem wasn’t just how to identify, share, and integrate the best practices from both companies, according to Wilde, but how to "move our expertise ahead" by searching out great brand-building ideas from other companies as well (Gordon).
This is the goal that lead to the four and a half day training program called “Brand Champions”. This intensive training program, launched in 2003, not only involves marketing specialists, but also employees from other departments including human resources, research and development, and even outside advertising agencies involved with certain projects. The Brand Champions program has become so successful that employees in General Mills’ production plants have asked for a miniature version of the program. Ami Anderson, manager of marketing development and direct overseer of the Brand Champions program, says of these workers, "They want to understand the language marketers speak and why things are done as they are." (Gordon)
The cross-functional team system that General Mills is using has brought many benefits to their company. Bringing together employees from different departments does several things. When you take...