A friend and fellow General Mills alum recently commented on an Ad Age article titled “How General Mills Is Creating a Content Factory” featuring General Mill’s CMO, Mark Addicks, who gave the keynote speech at the recent Ad Age Digital Conference focusing on the importance of content creation. While I agree with my friend’s assessment that Mark is a brilliant marketer, as are most of the folks at General Mills, I am not quite sure I agree that content creation is a particularly new idea.

When I was at General Mills in the late 1990s, we celebrated Betty Crocker’s 75th birthday with various promotions and the unveiling of a new portrait. For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Betty was“born” in 1921 to offer personal answers to consumers’ questions about baking. In 1924 she introduced the country’s first radio cooking show, called “The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air.” In 1950 she introduced her big red cookbook, officially named the “Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook,” which can still be found in most kitchens. I know I have one I use regularly. In the more recent past, she not surprisingly launched her own website, www.BettyCrocker.com.


While Betty’s look has changed over the years and the channels she uses to deliver her recipes, advice and friendly support have changed, one important thing has not changed. At the core of nearly 100 years of success is Betty’s unwavering commitment to providing her consumers with the content they need and want. I think focusing first on what the consumer wants is a recipe for success we all – even Betty’s good friend the Pillsbury Doughboy – can learn from.


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