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Walmart enters strategic relationship with global ad and PR agency Publicis Groupe

BY Michael Johnsen

PARIS – Publicis Groupe, a global leader in marketing and business transformation services, and Wal-Mart Stores, announced Tuesday the launch of a new strategic relationship that will give Walmart unfettered access to all of Publicis Groupe`s agencies and resources.

"Our ambition globally is to make every day easier for busy families, and having best-in-class marketing is critical to achieving that goal," stated Doug McMillon, president and CEO Walmart Stores. "This relationship with Publicis Groupe will help us think and act differently, which will ultimately enable us to serve our customers even better."

"This relationship is the direct result of Publicis' new approach, `the Power of One,` which is designed to deliver end-to end solutions for our clients," Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. "Walmart is already implementing innovative approaches to reach its customers.  Our goal is to leverage all of Publicis' assets – not just the resources of one agency – to help them in these efforts."

The relationship, which is not exclusive, went into effect on July 1 and initially applies to Walmart`s US advertising and in-store creative for which Publicis Groupe will function as the primary Agency of Record. The relationship will be led by Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Communications.

The new entity will focus on how Publicis Groupe and Walmart will partner on advertising and marketing efforts as the companies together navigate the future of retail.

Walmart will also have access to resources outside of marketing, including capabilities to support corporate reputation and technology that builds relationships with customers.

 

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Roundy’s CEO to retire after almost 50 years in the grocery business

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI – Kroger on Tuesday announced the retirement of Roundy's CEO Bob Mariano, effective Sept. 1, after which he will serve as strategic adviser to Kroger and Roundy's for two years.

Operations will continue to run as they are, Kroger reported. Don Rosanova, president of Mariano's, and Michael Marx, president of Roundy's Supermarkets Wisconsin, will continue to serve in their current roles leading the two supermarket divisions.

"Bob has been a tremendous leader for Roundy's and the entire supermarket industry," stated Rodney  McMullen, Kroger chairman and CEO. "The centerpiece of his career, of course, is the Mariano's chain of stores in his hometown of Chicago," he said. "We see a bright future ahead for our Pick 'N Save and Metro Market stores in Wisconsin and for Mariano's stores in Chicago. And we look forward to our continued partnership with Bob as a strategic consultant and advisor. The entire Kroger and Roundy's family extends our best wishes to Bob and his family in retirement."

Mariano, 66, began his career in the grocery industry in 1967, when he worked as a part-time deli clerk at Dominick's supermarket in Chicago. He served in various roles of increasing responsibility, including SVP, before being named president and CEO of Dominick's in 1995. He led the company through an initial public offering in 1996 before the company was purchased by Safeway in 1998. Mariano took on leadership of Roundy's Supermarkets in 2002.

Roundy's opened the first store under the Mariano's banner in 2010 in Arlington Heights, a suburb of Chicago. Today there are 34 Mariano's store locations throughout the Chicago area.
 

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Skyers invites suppliers to help co-create Wakefern’s ‘store of the community’ model at June Elevation Forum meeting

BY DSN STAFF

Photo at bottom right: Elevation Forum founder Dan Mack with Wakefern VP health and beauty care Chris Skyers and category managers Anthony DiTaranto, Amanda Hoffman, Neetu Aneja and Nick Lenker.

 

NEWARK, N.J. — The American consumer has an extreme case of Attention Deficit Disorder. And though it may be largely self-inflicted, it nonetheless makes the job of breaking through exponentially more difficult for retailers and brand marketers.

“People spend 46.9% of their waking hours distracted,” said Elevation Forum founder, strategist and coach Dan Mack, firing the opening salvo last month at the most recent meeting of Mack’s Elevation Forum, which assembles leading sales and marketing executives from a number of fast-growing health and beauty companies in the CPG industry, to examine emerging trends and challenges, and explore new opportunities for growth in the market. “Ninety-one percent of adults have their mobile phone within arm’s reach every hour of every day. We are literally training ourselves to be distracted and losing the ability to remain present. And it costs us.” 

Headlining the June 8 event was Wakefern VP of health and beauty care Chris Skyers and four members of his team — category managers Amanda Hoffman, Anthony DiTaranto, Nick Lenker and Neetu Aneja — who talked about why their company is distinct, how it has become an “innovation incubator” for the industry, and why it’s becoming more important for retailers and manufacturers to partner and co-create innovation on behalf of the consumer.

“We are a purpose-first organization, that’s why we are special,” Skyers explained. “How can we inspire you and your team? The best partnerships are ones where companies each have their own purpose and initiatives. The fun is aligning our purpose with theirs [and creating] a solution for the customer. How can you help us optimize our purpose driven Store of the Community model?”

According to Skyers, the future of beauty in the supermarket channel lies in “refined assortments based on consumers in community. Every neighborhood deserves a custom assortment. It is important that you share your brand story in such a way that we can effectively bring it to our store owners,” he said.

Forum members followed Skyers’ remarks with an in-depth discussion on the critical importance of co-creation in the innovation process. Citing data from Bellomy Research, Mack noted, “70% of consumers want involvement in designing the products they buy. And 86% of consumers expect brands to be engaged with customers,” he said.

Co-creation is no longer a choice, Mack argued, calling it standard operating procedure for the very best organizations are partnering to drive radical innovation. But it requires an ongoing relationship and consistent communication between companies and customers of their brands. It also means remaining present in the broader innovation process. 

“How well do you carve out time to co-create with your top customers?” Mack asked. Companies that excel at co-creation tend to involve the customer very early in the process, enjoy the transparent sharing of ideas, offer uncommon insights, emphasize mutual learnings and make sure that they have the right people in the room during important meetings. Effective co-creation encourages deeper relationships, creativity, and forges larger relationships, Mack said.

“You should use co-creation to gain market and customer insights versus involving customers in concrete product development,” he explained, referring to research from BI Norwegian Business School. “The value of customer co-creation is that it deepens relationships and takes advantage of all the knowledge in the room. It is an art form and is a best practice.”

The next Elevation Forum will be held in September, in Bentonville, AR. Walmart VP of OTC marketing Annie Walker will be the featured speaker and the theme for September event will be “Leading in a 24/7 World.” For more information, visit http://mackelevationforum.com/.

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