While cans of Campbell’s Soup may not look much different today from when you or I grew up, don’t be fooled. Executives at the storied food brand are spending lots of time nowadays figuring out how to navigate a fast-changing market increasingly disrupted by e-commerce, IoT and other digital technologies.
So at last month’s Smart Kitchen Summit, we decided to ask Campbell’s Matt Pritchard about the company’s digital transformation. As Campbell’s VP of Digital Marketing, Pritchard is one of the executives responsible for charting the course of the company as it prepares for the future.
One thing the soup company exec made clear is that need for Campbell’s to stay close to the consumer no matter what the technology.
“What we got to figure out is how we deepen our consumer connection and how do we become more meaningful in their life.”
That connection, according to Pritchard comes across the entire meal journey, whether that’s during planning, shopping or making meals.
“Where we got to focus on is what is the desired consumer journey, where they are trying to get to, and how do we create integrated experiences to play after that.”
Some of the ways in which Campbell’s touches the consumer through digital are expected, such as recipe apps. But some ideas suggested by Pritchard hint at some interesting potential directions for the brand and CPG products more broadly.
“Some could be a communication challenge where we make clear we are in recipe collection apps. But it could quite easily be in the center store where we’ve got those rows and rows of cans of soup, how can we create an experience with augmented reality that brings the nutrition panel to life.”
We’ve seen a variety of retailers embrace augmented reality as of late as the technology matures, interest from the brands themselves could extend the reach of the technology from store shelves into the home and around the cooking experience.
And it’s in the kitchen where Campbell’s sees much of their future technology evolution.
“Being in the heart of the connected kitchen is the purpose of today and one of those things we need to figure out,” said Pritchard.
What would that look like? One possible way is through smarter inventory management and replenishment.
“A consumer goes home, put some of our products in the pantry, then they use those products,” said Pritchard. “We’ve got to figure out how do we know they used those products so we can help with a replenishment scenario. So, I’m looking at things like sensor companies because they can figure out when a product has been in a fridge or a pantry.”
So while the soup may stay the same, the company behind the red and white cans is busy figuring out how to stay connected with consumers as the food journey becomes increasingly digital.
You can watch the entire interview with Matt Pritchard below: