The Gatehouse Blog

From cacophony to symphony: harmonising internal communications in Latin America at Mondelez International

Lisa Gibbons, Senior Director of Corporate and Government A airs for Latin America at Mondelez International, created a pan-regional communication platform to bring country communications in line and tune out the excess noise.

Home to family favourites worldwide, Mondelez International is a multinational player in the global confectionery, food and beverage markets. Headquartered in Deerfield, IL, Mondelez International employs over 80,000 people across the globe.

With over 15,000 employees in Latin America alone, one of the primary internal communication challenges for the region is the delivery of resonant and aligned messages to staff pan-regionally.

Out of tune

Thorough scrutiny of our communication channels identified a very fragmented internal communication framework across the region – with nearly 20 different visual interpretations of the brand in varied HTML emails and e-newsletters, inconsistent publishing schedules throughout the country teams and varying messages. To put it musically, we had a rumba, salsa and merengue all playing through the same speaker!

The amount of information disseminated was excessive and overwhelmed our employees instead of engaging them as intended. A recurring theme from our regional employee survey was to “keep things simple” – one of our core company values! So we decided to explore how to simplify our internal communication landscape in Latin America.

Striking a chord

Mondelez’s global strategy was comprised of three core pillars: growing our People, Business and Impact. To support the strategy, the global team decided to roll out Newsroom, a global communications hub designed to curate local content that’s globally relevant. Governance around content development and alignment with internal communications around the anchors then gave us the opportunity to create a unified voice in Latin America.

Newsroom sets out a clear editorial calendar that regional and local teams need to follow by feeding in compelling internal stories that drive our reputation internally and externally. This was a huge catalyst for us to come together, develop greater collaboration and better understand what local news would resonate globally. It also ensured our messaging was in unison and reminded our people of the breadth of the wider business and not just on what was immediately in front of them.

“Thorough scrutiny of our communication channels identified a very fragmented internal communication framework across the region.”

A symphony…

In parallel, we set out to create a region-wide communication platform that would unify and streamline branding, frequency and content and offer country teams a clear framework within which to operate.

Our solution was the first pan-regional digital platform to create one communication symphony across the region. Named #Connect, it is accessible to employees across the region and available in the region’s three vernacular languages; English, Spanish and Portuguese.

In line with #Connect, we launched our #StayConnected newsletters which use a common branding and a consistent colour scheme. The regional version is sent to everyone across the region on Wednesday, and then followed by the local version the next day. Thanks to the branding, there is a clear distinction between what’s regional and what is local, but both are homogenous in terms of look and feel, tone and content. The regional version shares the key messages at region level using our three strategies: Grow our People, Grow our Business, Grow our Impact. This is then localised by the country teams the next day in their own version. It has become a consistent and reliable cadence in terms of how we engage our employees.

Whilst predominantly online digital platform, #Connect also has an offline presence with #GetConnected, the face-to-face element of the platform. We have set a clear frequency for town halls or virtual gatherings to ensure that they are happening consistently and strategically, as opposed to leaving it to the whim of local leaders.

“we set out to create a region-wide communication platform that would unify and streamline branding, frequency and content and offer country teams a clear framework within which to operate.”

Hitting the high notes

Once the foundations of the platform were in place, we decided to take this a step further and look at the style of our communications. Contemporary audiences are alienated by large amounts of text, and our employees are no different. We looked at the outside world, including social media and digital, and tried to bring external trends inside and stepped up our storytelling techniques.

We set out guidelines designed to reduce the number of written stories in favour of more visual formats such as infographics or videos. A key performance indicator was to reduce written content by 25%, which we delivered. We have also increased the readability of our stories, which we measure using the Flesch-Kincaid score. Additionally, the Latin America region had the highest employee engagement scores in the company with a six-percentage point increase in the overall engagement index (89%) and a three-percentage point increase in “keeping it simple”. While we cannot take exclusive credit for these increases, we are proud to have contributed to a more engaged organisation and a simplified communication landscape for our colleagues.

Obviously, we know that we will need to continue to evolve our communications. But the launch of the #Connect platform has been such a tremendous success that it has since been rolled out globally across all regions – something that my team and I are immensely proud of.


Biography: Lisa Gibbons

Music lover, Lisa Gibbons, currently serves as Senior Director, Corporate and Government Affairs in the Latin America region for Mondelez International. Throughout her two-decade-long career, Lisa has both promoted and protected consumer and corporate brands for prominent multinational companies as well as non-pro t organisations both at home and abroad.