May 17, 2011 • By

Meet Mark Addicks

Mark Addicks, General Mills’ chief marketing officer, knows the powerful role marketing can play in doing good for communities and the importance of asking a simple question – “Why now?” – when shaping product marketing strategies.

Since joining General Mills in 1988, Mark has worked on many of our most recognizable brands, including Yoplait and Cheerios, where he led the launch of blockbuster new products, such as Frosted Cheerios.

Today Mark is responsible for the company’s global brand-building strategy, including its advertising, promotions, public relations, design, packaging, online, licensing and multicultural initiatives. He also oversees some of our industry’s most recognized equity platforms, including Box Tops for Education and the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.

Mark appeared on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Bright Ideas” program to discuss marketing trends and lessons he’s learned during his career.

In the interview with host Jeremy Hobson, Mark talked about the importance of connecting a brand to consumers.

“Fundamentally, a brand is for somebody, and you’ve got to keep that in mind as you’re sculpting the brand, and continue to steward the brand.”

Addicks said product marketing works best when brands think of their “brand champions” among consumers.

“We have a fundamental concept. It was built of what we saw worked in General Mills, but also worked for large and small brands that were really successful throughout the world,” he said. “The idea is a brand champion… There needs to be somebody that you know intimately in your mind, and they will be viral for the brand.”

You can watch the entire interview with Mark on the “Bright Ideas” website or read the transcript.

Editor’s note: Photo above by by Elliot deBruyn, Minnesota Public Radio News. Mark Addicks blogs at and you also can follow him on Twitter.