Nestle getting more social in Silicon Valley
by Keith Nunes
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VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Nestle has opened an office in Silicon Valley to enable to company to be closer to digital product developments that may allow the company to better connect with consumers through digital technology and social media. The company said the aim of its Silicon Valley effort is to enhance existing partnerships with the world's largest technology companies while looking for pioneers among the thousands of small technology startups that Nestle may work with.
“The pace of innovation taking place in Silicon Valley is really impressive,” said Patrice Bula, head of marketing at Nestle. “Organizations there are shaping the future of consumer communication. We have an enormous amount of nutrition knowledge and expertise within our company. We are determined to leverage this through digital technology and on-line content, in meaningful and engaging ways for our consumers.”
Nestle said it already has partnerships with Google and Facebook, and is in the process of working with Twitter. It also has created digital acceleration teams at its headquarters in Vevey and in various markets worldwide, including China, India and Italy to help develop its relationships with consumers on-line.
Digital projects currently under way by Nestle include a labeling initiative that allows consumers with smartphones to scan a Nestle product label and learn about its nutritional profile as well as environmental and social impacts. This past September, the company also entered into a marketing effort with Google, which named its Android mobile operating system Android KitKat after Nestle candy bar.
In a blog post published Nov. 6, Mr. Bula further explained why Nestle is making this foray into digital and social media.
“You may wonder why we care about this,” he wrote. “After all, we’re the world’s biggest food and beverage company, not a technology business. Well, for a start, food generates an enormous amount of on-line conversation.
“You just have to look at the explosion of food blogs and healthy eating web sites, the thousands of recipes shared on-line every day, the millions of people searching for nutrition advice, or the person on the table opposite uploading photos of their meal to Instagram next time you go out for dinner.
“People, wherever they are in the world, are highly motivated to discuss and share thoughts about the importance of what they eat. We aim to be part of this conversation.”