General Mills named Coca-Cola veteran Ivan Pollard its new chief marketing officer this week, highlighting the company’s efforts to improve its digital sophistication.

General Mills lowered its sales outlook for 2017 in February, citing a “widening gap” between the company’s promotional activities and those of its peers, specifically in the yogurt and soup categories. Its soup brand Progresso earns a rank of Challenged in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food, and fellow Challenged brand Green Giant and Feeble brand Totino’s also contribute to pull the enterprise rank down to Average.

Enterprise score

In contrast, Coca-Cola’s namesake brand earns a rank of Genius in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beverages, and the Coca-Cola enterprise as a whole excels at maintaining digital presences
 for brands across its large portfolio. Only three of Coca-Cola’s 19 brands rank at the bottom of L2’s Index, while four of Pepsi’s 11 brands classify as digitally Feeble. Coca-Cola has also found ways to make content more consistent and efficient, such as by creating a group of marketers, creatives and strategists tasked with streamlining all of its brands’ digital initiatives.

At General Mills, Pollard will need to balance traditional approaches with the need for sophisticated digital marketing – and to understand that the two areas are increasingly linked.

“It’s that mixed reality that’s coming that I think is really important, everything from the Wheaties box all the way through to the website,” Pollard told Ad Age.

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