Every so often, a company aggressively looks outside its traditional business development processes to either catch up or get ahead in mobile market innovation.
A few years back, PepsiCo created a program called the PepsiCo 10, a process that encouraged employees to look outward seeking ideas being driven by promising startups. The entrepreneurs could submit an online application in one of four categories: mobile marketing, place-based and retail experiential marketing, social media or digital video and gaming. All the proposals were evaluated based on how they could impact brands.
In the PepsiCo program, the startups had to be in technology less than two years, have raised up to $2 million or have revenue of $250,000. The company started with 500 applicants, ultimately narrowed to 20 -- all of whom presented to brand managers at PepsiCo. The 10 were selected and then paired with PepsiCo brands to launch pilot projects. Of the 10 selected, five focused on using mobile.
Another such program is well underway, this time at snack food giant Mondelez. In this program, which kicked off in October, the focus is on mobile from the outset.
“The Mondelez program is much more focused than the PepsiCo 10 challenge that preceded it and includes refinements based on past learnings,” says Bonin Bough, vice president of Global Media and Consumer Engagement at Mondelez International. “This is all mobile.”
In his previous position as director of digital and social media at PepsiCo, Bough spearheaded the PepsiCo 10. The Mondelez team last week selected the nine companies to work with. They are:
Of the nine companies, five are from California, and one each from New York, Boston, Denver and Cincinnati. The benefit for each of them is they now get to work alongside Mondelez brands including Oreo, Trident, Sour Patch Kids, Halls and Stride.
PepsiCo and Mondelez are not alone in creating external competitions. Ford held a contest in San Francisco last year with about 100 teams working over a 24-hour-period to conceive realistic apps for cars.
No one yet knows the long-term results of such competitions, but all seem to be looking for new answers. “At the end of the day, it’s not about a successful pilot, it’s not about a new venture,” says Bough. “It's about transforming the culture.”
In many cases, that is just what some companies need.