In this edition of Marketer of the Week, Ignite Visibility spotlights Brad Hiranaga, Chief Brand Officer, North America at General Mills.
Ignite Visibility applauds Hiranaga and the General Mills team for the recent launch of “Sesame Street” cereal.
General Mills says that the cereal will be available in January with two flavors: cinnamon and berry.
True to the theme of Sesame Street, the cereals aim to give kids a little bit of an education. The cinnamon-flavored cereal includes letter-shaped pieces while the berry-flavored cereal includes number-shaped pieces.
Also, kids will find a book on the back of each cereal box. The book will tell a short story with Elmo as the main character.
Additionally, the General Mills stock made a strong comeback since the market crash during the earlier part of this year, rising to about $120 today from a low of $86.29 in March.
And analysts expect the company to beat earnings when it releases quarterly earnings later this week.
Those kinds of results are possible with people like Brad Hiranaga managing the marketing organization for the company’s $10 billion North America segment.
Brad Hiranaga’s Long History
These days, you see a lot of “job hoppers.” But Hiranaga definitely doesn’t fit into that category.
He’s been with General Mills for more than 16 years.
Hiranaga started off as an Associate Brand Manager back in 2004. He held that position for about four years.
Then, he got promoted to Senior Marketing Manager. He served in that role for five years.
Afterwards, he moved up to Director of Marketing for the Totino’s brand.
You might have enjoyed Totino’s yourself if you were a college student at any time within the past couple of decades. They’re pizza products that make great late-night snacks.
But it wasn’t college students that Hiranaga targeted when he promoted the brand. It was teens and moms.
And he succeeded. Hiranaga grew the $650 million brand “through engaging and entertaining brand building, break-through innovation and undeniable value.”
But his career with General Mills didn’t stop with pizza. He added tacos to the mix as well.
In 2014, Brad Hiranaga landed the position of Business Unit & Marketing Director: Pizza & Tacos.
Apparently, that’s a thing at General Mills.
In that role, he continued to manage marketing for Totino’s but also added the Old El Paso brand to his responsibilities.
Yes, those are the taco kits you often see in the ethnic section of your local grocery store.
According to Hiranaga, he drove top- and bottom-line growth for both brands.
How did he do it? “Through purpose-led brand building, remarkable product innovation and continuous marketing experimentation.”
That brings us to his role today, a position he’s held since January 2017.
Now, Brad practices what he calls “positive agitation” to build brands. I think that’s his way of saying he’s a polite disruptor.
With the work that he does now, Hiranaga promotes several household-name brands including Nature Valley, Cheerios, Wheaties, and Yoplait.
Additionally, he manages “Brand Strategy, Comms Orchestration, Creative, Content, Design, Production, Media, MarCom, Social, Experiential, Partnerships, Promotions, Events, Licensing, Marketing Excellence, Shopper Marketing and eCommerce for all GMI brands.”
That probably keeps him busy.
Wrapping It Up
There’s no doubt that General Mills is a fixture in the history of American enterprise. Virtually everybody in this country has enjoyed the company’s products on multiple occasions.
And yet, like all companies, it needs to keep promoting its products or they’ll end up on the wrong end of the marketing cycle.
That’s why it’s a good thing that Brad Hiranaga, Chief Brand Officer at General Mills is managing that effort in North America. I look forward to seeing where he leads the company in the future.
And who knows? With his track record, Hiranaga might end up as CEO one day.