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Jamaica 2019 | MANUFACTURING | INTERVIEW

Having an ear to the grindstone helps businesses innovate in more ways than one.

Daniel Caron
BIOGRAPHY
Daniel Caron started his Nestlé career in Canada in 1995. After several moves across Canada managing several businesses and divisions, he embarked on his international career. He has also held the position of Business Leader in Central America for the out-of-home business. He was previously Country Manager for Nestlé Honduras and currently leads Nestlé Jamaica Ltd. and the northern Caribbean islands.

How has Nestlé developed its main brands in Jamaica?

Nestlé continues to be agile with trends in the fast moving consumer goods market, having evolved from a small milk company over 78 years ago to an expansive portfolio including infant nutrition, culinary products, confectionery, and coffee, to name a few. Milk is no longer the company's core and represents less than 5% of the business. Our brands demonstrate our understanding of the local marketplace; we listen to the feedback from our customers and consumers and respond with products that meet and often exceed their needs. Additionally, we have been proactive in introducing products that are relevant to the market.

How was 2018 for the company?

2018 met our expectations at every level of the business, and we are in line to deliver double-digit growth for the third year in a row as we continue to evolve, enter new channels, and expand our portfolio. We are challenging ourselves to innovate and remain relevant in this dynamic market. Today, our dominant millennial population has altered the way we reach our targets. Coupled with the reality of a digital landscape, we have had to change the way we market, as social media is more relevant than it was a few years back. How we communicate and connect is important now because our client base has varied habits. As a result, we hinge our growth strategy on innovation and renovation while remaining agile to the changing needs of our customers and consumers.

What is your strategy to ensure you increase your market share?

Market share is how we measure our success. We market to ensure that the consumer will purchase our product, and if they purchase our product, we gain market share. In fact, we use market share as a key indicator of the health of our business and how well we connect and stay relevant. Innovation and upgrading have been two of the key components while adapting to trends, lifestyles, ever-changing consumers, and taste profiles.

Which channels do you use to reach more people on social media?

Social media helps us stay connected to consumers and customers and creates new relationships and leads. It is a way of making one's brand known. In terms of social media for Nestlé, it helps us to remain firm in our purpose, values, and the difference we want to make in society. As a global company, we are on all platforms, including LinkedIn, though on a local level we are more focused on meeting mass consumers on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These social media sites are forms of 'real-time' communication where we get to interact with thousands of people on a daily basis. Twitter and Facebook have redefined the communication landscape, especially for businesses such as Nestlé. What drives us is being a health and wellness company, so we put our resources and focus into activities that demonstrate that commitment. One of our main focuses is our nutrition, health, and wellness program in public schools. As trends emerge and governments focus on fighting obesity and other non-communicable diseases, we react through educational messages on our platforms. One has to connect with consumers early on to change and drive behaviours and choices, and this is something we try to do on a daily basis via our respective platforms.

What is your main strategy to achieving your targets?

Nestlé's growth strategy hinges on a get-it-done culture. The drivers are embodied in Vision 100, which is our mission for our local and northern Caribbean operations. Nestlé articulates a plan and engages and aligns its approach to achieve this objective. Our product innovations go along with a company-wide understanding that every team member is either directly engaged in sales or actively supporting sales, which forces us to be at the leading edge of the industry.