Women’s Social Media Success Stories – Kraft Foods and Irene Rosenfeld

Social Media SuccessBackground & Apologies

Cataloging the Social Media successes attributable to women is a daunting task.  Not because of limited numbers, but instead because there are so many worthy of praise.

Some are much-heralded leaders in Corporate America, but others appear in unprecedented numbers behind the scenes, as key executives in Social Media functions, and importantly, as active Social Media consultants and bloggers who have accepted the task of supporting women in business generally.

Because I do not wish to insult any of the myriad women who deserve accolades, this will not be a single series of articles, but rather a continuous dialog on the Jericho Technology website.  Watch for it in the months ahead, and please leave your thoughts and comments to help me give credit where credit is due.


Because this task is so immense, it cries out for structure.  So for purposes of these initial articles I have adopted the following winnowing process, admittedly flawed, incomplete and somewhat arbitrary:

The Process:

  1. Researched various lists of prominent women, among them:
  2. Removed all those women who were defined as celebrities or socio-political figures, leaving a smaller group who were identified mainly as businesswomen.
  3. Compared this list against the 100 largest companies in America, as ranked by assets.
  4. Researched the Twitter status of these companies, removing those without a formidable Twitter presence.
  5. Finally, identified women on this filtered list whose companies have made publicly noted contributions to the growth and understanding of Social Media.


Not included in this list are:

  • Those companies who follow a Social Media strategy not including Twitter.
  • Those Women Entrepreneurs in smaller companies — who will be recognized in Part 2 — who own smaller businesses but who have contributed enormously not only to their own success, but to the growing dominance of businesswomen everywhere.
  • The many praise-worthy Social Media consultants and bloggers whose contributions have been immensely valuable.  A few from this group will be highlighted in Part 3.

Companies Chosen

Finally, for purposes of the next three daily articles, I am arbitrarily limiting my thoughts to three companies whose stories I find most interesting and worthy of note.

The companies are:

  1. Kraft
  2. PepsiCo, and
  3. Disney

Irene Rosenfeld

Kraft Foods – Ms. Irene Rosenfeld


By The Numbers









Ms. Irene Rosenfeld has been Chairman of Kraft Foods Inc. since March 30, 2007 and has been its Chief Executive Officer since June 26, 2006.  She is a 29-year veteran of the food and beverage industry.  She began her career at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency, working in consumer research.  Among her many accomplishments at Kraft Foods, she led the restructuring and turnaround of key businesses in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  Forbes has named Ms. Rosenfeld one of the world’s “100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune ranks her No. 2 on its “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list.

Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference

Kicking off Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference in Las Vegas, Ms. Rosenfeld addressed the ways reaching consumers have changed significantly over the last twenty years and how the Internet and social media are increasingly important components of overall marketing strategies.

Quoting Nielsen, “Previously, brands acted as teachers, according to Rosenfeld. Marketing was designed to build an image around a brand with the expectation that consumers would be attracted to it; they would aspire to the brand. Today, that ‘paradigm is upside down,’ as brands want to learn from consumers and find ways to connect with them.

Nielsen continued:

“One way to do that is to find shared values. Kraft’s Hockeyville campaign in Canada builds on a national passion by reaching consumers across the country and engaging them with the Kraft brand in a new way. Co-sponsored by the NHL and NHL Players’ Association, Hockeyville enables towns and cities to compete for the chance to host a pre-season NHL game in their community, as well as win $100,000 to upgrade local sporting facilities. The campaign crosses all of the major media – print, TV and the Internet – and enables consumers to create their own stories. Unlike traditional marketing efforts, Kraft is not the main event: consumers are the focus and the brand is simply a facilitator. “It’s amazing seeing people waving boxes of mac and cheese at a sporting event, but it warms my heart,” said Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld also discussed how in the past, marketers would debate whether a campaign should be emotional or functional. Today, that debate doesn’t occur: campaigns serve both purposes, with culture added to the mix. Using the resurgence of Miracle Whip to highlight this trend, Rosenfeld outlined how market research – particularly Internet mining – enable the company’s marketers to find a core group of young, passionate and loyal fans for the sandwich spread: males, age 18-34. Using this information, Kraft marketers sought to make Miracle Whip part of contemporary culture with quirky, fun TV commercials which led to the campaign’s mention by Stephen Colbert. A mock “Sandwich Spread Smackdown” ensued, and Kraft strategically bought all of the advertising around one the show’s episodes. Further updating the brand was placement within Lady Gaga’s hit video “Telephone” — a video that was viewed more than 38 million times on YouTube, and the once-staid brand is adding market share in North America.

Another way marketing has changed is that in the 1980s and 90s, brands sought to reach consumers by appealing to individuality. Today, brands seek to build relationships with people, appealing to “us” as opposed to “me.”

Five Key Takeaways:

  1. Yesterday – Brands were teachers: Brands had a one directional lesson to teach consumers.
    Today – Brands are students: We need to sit back listen and learn; ask consumers to help create the stories.
  2. Yesterday – Take it or leave it: A mentality of brand superiority ruled
    Today – Shared values matter more than selling proposition: Successful campaigns speak directly to consumer’s sentiment.
  3. Yesterday – Brands were either functional or emotional. Brands were either one or the other – not both.
    Today – Brands are functional, emotional + cultural: We no longer need to choose. Digital means you connect all three levels.
  4. Yesterday – It’s all about me: Brands were marketed toward individuality.
    Today – It’s all about us: It isn’t about “I”; it’s about “we.” Successful brand’s help build relationships with friends and families.
  5. Yesterday – They need us: Brands told consumers why they needed the brand.
    Today – We need them: Brands need consumers more than consumers need brands.

Speaking to the importance of mining insights and using research, Rosenfeld outlined the missing tools in the brand toolbox.

  1. Need deeper consumer understanding: Know your consumers like your family
  2. Need new measurement tools:  Understand which tactics work, which don’t and why in real time.
  3. Need to tap into social and cultural values: Discover what is going on in consumer’s minds and find real ways to make consumer’s lives richer and more meaningful.

In closing, Rosenfeld noted that people are consuming 350% more data than thirty years ago, reading 100,000 more words a day outside of work and that 24 hours of video is loaded every minute on YouTube to demonstrate how things are changing faster than ever before. Brands have to adapt to this environment if they want to continue to be successful. ‘Let’s get going,’ concluded Rosenfeld.”

Interview with Steve Forbes

In a Forbes interview conducted late last year, Steve Forbes asked her:

“Everyone now says Facebook, Twitter.  How do you see that affecting your brands, your products?

She responded, “… as we look forward, the opportunity to establish stronger connections between our brands and our consumer is going to be the essence of our success.”

She cited an example that is telling.  She said, “… take a brand like Philadelphia Cream Cheese.We have an affiliation with one of the celebrities from The Food Network, Paula Deen.  The segment is called Real Women of Philadelphia.  And she’s been able to engage 300,000 users of Philadelphia Cream Cheese to get them to talk to her about their recipe thoughts and how they feel about the brand.

Whereas before, we would have in the course of a year put out maybe 100 recipes in our one-way communication to the consumers. In the course of eight weeks, we actually got back 5,000 recipes from our consumers in the course of our Real Women of Philadelphia dialogue.  So I am delighted by the capability that digital media and the ability to interact more frequently and in more of a two-way dialogue with our consumer provides us.”

As a followup, Forbes asked, “What have you done internally and with the agencies you use to really push that forward?”

She responded revealingly, “… we’re demanding that we think about what we call 360 marketing from all of our agencies, which means we want to make sure that we are addressing all the potential touch points for each of our brands as we market them.

And increasingly, we’re finding some of our agencies are not as able to make that leap as others. I think we started when we began though there was a sense that we wanted to try to find one-stop shopping and I think increasingly, we’re discovering that there are different places that have different skill sets and we are well served to be able to capitalize on the strengths of each of them.”


Irene Rosenfeld is a stellar example of the modern CEO.  Accomplished at the multiple skills necessary for unqualified success in the Global Economy, but humble enough to realize that skill sets must adapt in the Social Media world, she sets a shining example for businesswomen everywhere.

Getting in touch with me is very easy

If you are a Woman Entrepreneur wishing to harness the power of Social Media, or you know someone who is, I am very easy to get in touch with and I am eager to help.   Simply call the number below.  During normal business hours, (8 AM – 5 PM Scottsdale, Arizona time), it is my direct line.  Otherwise, just leave a message. If you would prefer to exchange email I would love to here from you. Just email michaelstewart@jerichotechnology.com or click the email badge below. I promise I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Michael R.H. Stewart, President, Jericho Technology, Inc.

Email and Phone

About Michael R.H. Stewart
"Give me faith, freedom, resources, and a little time ... and I will make things happen that matter." Michael R.H. Stewart is a respected Internet executive with broad experience in all aspects of online business, with an emphasis given to social networking development, and company management. He has over 131,000 engaged Twitter followers. He enjoys 22 years of direct experience with corporate, entrepreneurial, governmental and non-profit clients, having advised them on all aspects of their online initiatives. Prior to his Internet career, he served as a Senior Vice President of AIG Marketing, doing business in 135 foreign countries as well as the United States. Stewart is an experienced public speaker and communicator, with worldwide experience; an expert on corporate branding; an accomplished writer, a creative thinker and problem solver.


4 Responses to “Women’s Social Media Success Stories – Kraft Foods and Irene Rosenfeld”
  1. Gail Browne-McDonald says:

    Interesting article. Caught your tweet and was expecting something much more superficial, something perhaps focused on how women had made it in a man’s world – I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong. Appreciate how you structured it and the depth of thought that went into making it meaningful.

  2. Gail, Thank you for noticing the seriousness of this article. Ms. Rosenfeld is so much more than a successful woman in a man’s world. She is the consummate executive, with a very distinguished career, and I was proud to give her a little more much-deserved recognition.

  3. Kathy Potter says:

    It would be nice to see Kraft Foods with No GMO products.


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