Hear Our Mars Story, in Florida

When people think of Mars, most often they think of chocolate — and we do make some of the best-loved chocolate in the world! But we’re much more.

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.

Brian Flanagan is the regional talent director for Mars Inc. in North America and a member of its global talent team. He joined Mars from Johnson & Johnson, where he was the director of HR Planning & Capabilities and the director/talent management for the DePuy Medical Devices franchise before that. He is Canadian and came to the U.S. with Novartis AG where he held the position of executive director of global staffing for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. Prior to this role at Novartis, he held leadership positions in talent management and organizational development for Novartis’ North American and Canadian businesses.

Prior to Novartis, he worked for the Toronto University Health Network, as Director of Organization and Employee Development. He also has significant human resources generalist experience, working in the telecommunications and oil industries in Canada. Brian has a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University in Montreal and Master of Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto. He lives in New Jersey with his partner and their two golden retrievers.


1 Comment on “Hear Our Mars Story, in Florida

  1. Brian,

    Sounds like a snoozer of a presentation. The Mars family is more reclusive then DB Cooper and Howard Hughes, and the brand is old and boring.

    My time will be better spent at the pool in Miami drinking Heinekens (now there’s a brand).


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