With a glass and a half full of pride, Cadbury is looking to raise its game

 
Marc Sidwell
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COUNTDOWN TO THE LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES

233 DAYS TO GO

One of the nation’s favourite brands has new owners but it is still the official treat provider for 2012

Q. What was your brand’s primary reason for being involved with the Games?

A. I was brought in after the decision had been taken, but the original rationale as I understand was driven by a desire from Todd Stitzer, then Cadbury’s chief executive, who saw that Cadbury was a first-class fast-moving consumer goods company in some markets but wouldn’t be seen as such in all. So in order for Cadbury to be seen as a first-class player in all markets it needed to be seen doing the things that a first-class company like Coca-Cola does. So it was a statement about where the business was going, its intent and how it felt about itself.

Of course, part of the way through my involvement, Kraft came and bought the Cadbury business, so Kraft had the opportunity to take a look and decide what it wanted to do with it. Kraft was never going to embrace it for the same reasons, given its global stature, but the great news is Kraft has really actively embraced it and put a lot of energy behind it. When Kraft could see how we’d set it up, while the original goal might not have applied, they saw the opportunity to drive a business forward with greater pace was something that no business could be mad enough to turn down.

Q. How have you structured your business to maximise Olympic opportunities?

A. The Olympic Games has a magical quality – a transformational power. That’s the genius in it that sets it apart from any other sponsorship and it’s that transformational power that is useful to everybody, but in different ways. For Adidas you can do a fairly straightforward calculation about how many pieces of clothing you’re going to sell versus the costs. For us, this was only ever going to be about long-term benefit. Cadbury is one of the most loved brands in Great Britain. It’s got about 98 per cent household penetration, so it’s not about increasing brand recognition. For us it’s about using it as a catalyst to take the business even faster to the next level of development.

We chose five areas of focus: consumer, customer, colleagues, community and presence. Within each of those areas we did some visioning about what we wanted to be true on 4 January 2013. We then looked at where we were and built a plan to bridge between the two. And the beautiful thing when you do something like that is you’ve captured people’s emotions. They’ve lived it already. It’s the business equivalent of a sportsman visualising crossing the finish line. Once you’ve felt that emotion it’s a powerful way to drive yourself forward with less fear.

Q. how are you engaging with communities as part of your olympic involvement?

A. Both Cadbury and Kraft have very rich heritages in community involvement, and both are quite low-profile. One of the amazing things about the Olympics is that people keep asking you, what are you doing with your community programmes so the lovely thing is you don’t have to boast but you get to tell people. Our community programme now is pretty much all targeted at harder-to-reach communities around the country. 80 per cent of all of the community events that we run are in the top 25 per cent most disadvantaged communities in Great Britain. We’re using the power of the Olympics to bring people – communities – together.

Q. Cadbury has a novel title for an olympic supplier. what is the story behind that?

A. One thing that was really important to us was to have something that reflected the nature of the brand. Chocolate’s very emotional, people have a relationship with it. So rather than “confectionery supplier”, we’re the official treat provider to the Games. It’s a first for the IOC to grant anything other than a functional description. An awful lot of people have expressed their desire to have theirs changed. I’m sure that will change the Olympic landscape. People want their Games association to be much more than “I’m helping to pay for this thing”.

Q. how are you using your olympic involvement internally to engage with colleagues?

A. This has always been about engagement for us. But with the arrival of Kraft, if you’re bringing two big organisations together, using the power of something as magical as the Olympics to engage your colleagues and keep them excited about what the company can bring to them over and above their pay and conditions is wonderful

Of our 7,000 colleagues in Great Britain, 1,300 are taking part in our Be a Hero volunteer programme. We’ve had all sorts of things: an evening with Rebecca Adlington, try-out sessions with paralympians, mascots in the foyer – it’s a tremendously potent thing..

Norman Brodie, is Cadbury 2012’s general manager

For us, this was only ever going to be about the long-term benefits.