Brad Hiranaga

Brad Hiranaga, Chief Brand Officer at General Mills, led a CMO Club Virtual Roundtable focused on how marketing executives can set the tone for growth within their organizations. Hiranaga explains specific steps for evolving the growth mindset from a mere math exercise to being embedded in the company culture.

You have to have one foot rooted in what’s happening today, and the other foot planted firmly in what is going to happen in the future. I think being able to bridge those two places is what is really magical about this job.

Building your growth “flywheel”

Hiranaga shares five components of his growth flywheel and how CMOs and marketing leaders can lead growth and create momentum within their own organizations.

Define the Problem

  • Identify the problem you’re trying to solve for your customer.
  • Solving problems is where growth needs to be rooted, then the organization can push forward on that solution together.
  • Be obsessed with solving that problem.

Consistently Reinforce the Goal Across Functions

  • Lead with selflessness to create connections across departments and functions, and teach others how the growth goals create long-term success.
  • Approach the goal holistically across the organization. Know that functions are always changing, and who to partner with internally to drive growth.
  • Hold people accountable when you have meetings and check-ins, and help them feel responsibility for advancing goals.

Embrace Post-Pandemic Realities

  • Recognize the new requirements for agility and working dynamically within our current virtual realities.
  • Embrace new customer behaviors – many won’t go back to the way they shopped before.

Think like a Technologist

  • A lot of growth is being unlocked by technology.
  • With technology, if it isn’t solving a problem, it quickly becomes obsolete – bring this type of mindset into how you think about your solutions.

Own the Growth Whitespace

  • Many companies don’t have chief strategy or chief growth officers – there’s an opportunity for marketing to play that role.
  • The marketing team has a breadth of knowledge and insights about consumers – it’s important to bring that to the rest of the organization to fuel decision-making.

If I can get our marketing to be less about messaging, and more of a service to people, that is a huge step forward.

CMO Club members can watch the full Virtual Roundtable here.