General Mills' Marketing Director: Virtual Working Has Promoted Collaboration + Innovation

21 May, 2021

Mark Brown, Marketing Director of General Mills, the large US based food company, has seen real benefits from virtual working stemming from 'boundary-less collaboration'

Mark Brown is the Marketing Director for Northern Europe at General Mills, where he oversees the marketing activation of 15 brands. A “food guy through and through,” he’s built his marketing career in the food industry, with a passion that runs in the family.

Throughout his career, Mark confesses that he’s always had a passion for delivering great work, in the hope of being remembered for something he has designed, whether it’s a campaign or brilliant packaging. However, as he’s progressed to more senior roles, he’s been interested in creating an environment for others to do great work in, too.

“Encourage a culture of risk-taking within your team” is one of Mark’s marketing tips for managers, giving the team the support to try new things and make mistakes. This is how innovation can really grow and how the team will be encouraged to spend their time in the best possible way.

Spending time effectively and in pursuit of your passion is what brings us to Mark’s Shiny New Object: boundary-less collaboration. Thanks to the measures put in place for businesses to continue their work during lockdowns across the world, Mark believes we’ve now uncovered two massive benefits for virtual working. Firstly, more people can collaborate on the work they might not have previously had access to for logistical or seniority reasons. Secondly, businesses can become more agile as they collaborate with workers around the world who can pick up briefs in different time zones. Work is now moving around the clock.

What does this do for marketing and office life? On the one hand, Mark thinks we will inevitably swing back to some parts of office life, as humans thrive in face-to-face settings. However: “We’ve now seen the benefits of virtual working.” Time can be spent better than commuting to the office for meetings, when you can do them remotely, for example.

What won’t change is the fact that great work quality continues to be important and that the passion for your work needs to come through in your interactions with clients and customers. Through boundary-less collaboration, however, we will be able to bring in more minds in the ideation process and spend most of our work time on the things that truly drive value and that we’re passionate about.

To find out more about Mark’s favourite marketing books, his advice to new starters in marketing and his experience of boundary-less collaboration during the pandemic, listen to the podcast here.

Tom Ollerton is the Founder of Automated Creative.

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