Campbell heats up its digital efforts

Campbell Soup Co.’s first director of digital and social media, Adam Kmiec, is stirring up organizational change and putting Campbell on a “digitally fit” fast track.

Within Kmiec’s first four months Campbell has taken on new global strategies, visions, operating methods, philosophies, and has brought on seven new hires, including a new head of mobile and emerging media who has yet to be revealed. “I don’t think any person or any company can possibly keep up at the pace of digital,” Kmiec says. “You’ll never be ahead of the curve, but I do think you can match the tempo of the marketplace.”

Kmiec’s strategy emphasizes investing in people rather than just increasing the spend on marketing, and prescribes structural commonality and training as part of Campbell’s new digitally fit regimen. He identified establishing one digital process, philosophy, language, and metric system as his first-year “power of one” objectives.

“It’s not about spending more; it’s about spending the right way,” says Kmiec, who served as Walgreen’s director of social media before working at Campbell. “If you think about some of the things that trip you up from moving quickly, it’s not having a lot of those foundational elements in place.”

In terms of staff training, Kmiec says the company intends to focus on churning out on-demand content and custom experiences. It also provides hands-on training to employees interested in learning from its approach to digital marketing. The company has mirrored Apple’s Geniuses with Campbell’s own Digital Fitness Specialists to help employees build personal digital fitness plans.

Kmiec cites leadership commitment as essential to the company’s digital recipe. But also says that the ability to move with the speed of data is one of its most critical ingredients. He says that his “speed wins” philosophy gives companies an advantage when working with partners. “When you can be involved at the pace of digital, partners want you to be involved in their early beta,” he says. “They want to give you exclusivity in specific areas.”

Although Kmiec’s position is new, the Campbell Soup Co. has been feeding families for approximately 143 years. And, he says, Campbell’s approach is to marry contemporary with historical, referring to Campbell’s recent replication of Andy Warhol’s soup cans, adding that the company’s longevity categorizes the company as a “recognizable, iconic brand.”

“I don’t think we want to be a beloved brand…. You think about it in the terms of history – 50 years ago,” Kmiec says. “I want to be a loved brand; love is in the moment.”

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