It began with Frank Mars and his wife, Ethel. Together they started making candy in their kitchen in Tacoma, Washington, in 1911. Little did they know that a century later, Mars Inc., the company they formed, would be a global giant in chocolate, pet care, food, drinks, gum, confections, and health sciences, producing some of the world’s favorite brands, including M&M’S®, Snickers®, Milky Way®, Orbit®, Skittles®, Uncle Ben’s, and Pedigree®. We own the world’s largest privately-owned veterinary practice. We’ve got more than 65,000 associates, and a reach that extends across five continents into 180 countries.
We’re extremely proud that even after 100 years of global success and hundreds of household names created, we’re still a private, family-owned business. And that’s a deliberate choice. Because by not having external shareholders to satisfy, and taking our own profits and investing them back into the business, we get to have a long-term view on investment.
So being successful, and yes, profitable, to us is not about paying out dividends. It’s about maintaining our freedom to do what’s right, on our own terms. This independence means our associates can work with far fewer restrictions, and at the same time carry more responsibility. They’re free to take educated risks, defy convention and, most important of all, act quickly and decisively.
It’s quite a success story, and one that became the foundation of our employer brand campaign that best be summed up this way: Storytelling.
In Florida, in September, I’m going to take you on this journey through the rich history of Mars; the principle-based approach to business; the portfolio of iconic brands; and the employer branding campaign that quickly led to international recognition.
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The storytelling campaign launched with Mars’ re-branding of its food businesses to take on the Mars name. We set out to build a more visible corporate brand, as the Mars name was not associated with its brands and had little recognition as an employer.
I’ll tell you about the challenges due to the diversity of our businesses and the strong consumer brands. I’ll describe the deep reflection that went on about the principles and the culture that are the “Essence of Mars.” And I’ll tell you about the compelling “One Mars” storytelling campaign — and the results.
See you in Florida.