Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
At the last ANA Masters of Marketing conference, Joan Chow made a simple statement when outlining ConAgra’s Child Hunger Ends Here program, part of the food giant’s 20 year commitment to fighting child hunger. She said, “Marketing internally is as important as marketing to consumers.”
Perhaps those new to marketing would disagree; however, Joan Chow is a seasoned veteran with a diverse marketing background who understands the sophistication of today’s age of social responsibility. A company’s purpose and its brand messages succeed when they are aligned internally and externally.
In her short talk, she emphasized how it is no longer enough to just provide superior products. Today, a responsible company must pursue sustainable business practices and make critical commitments as a leading corporate citizen. Often, this dedication is core to inspiring employees and strengthening ties with many constituents.
She explained: “More than 1 in 5 children in the United States don't know where their next meal is coming from. And nearly 17 million children in the US are food insecure, meaning they don't know how long the food they have will last-- or whether they'll have money to buy more.”
The Child Hunger Ends Here program encouraged caring people from across the country to enter codes from their favorite ConAgra brands. For every code entered, ConAgra Foods donated the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. ConAgra Foods donated the monetary equivalent of 3,099,541 meals as part of the 2013 Child Hunger Ends Here campaign, which included online, school and retailer programs. Codes were visible on packages of 19 different participating ConAgra brands.
Joan Chow joined ConAgra Foods as executive vice president and chief marketing officer in 2007 and leads the global marketing team, including integrated marketing planning, advertising, social media, shopper/customer marketing, consumer insights and multicultural marketing. Her goals are to build stronger advertising creative, effective media plans, sustainable customer linkage and a strong return on marketing objectives. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company has a diverse portfolio of brands—ranging from Bertoli and Chef Boyardee to Hebrew National and Gulden’s to Hunt’s to LaChoy and P.F. Chang’s to Rosarita to Swiss Miss to Healthy Choice to PAM to Egg Beaters.
She began her career at Johnson & Johnson, working as Product Director on baby brands. After developing strong brand management skills, she transitioned to marketing research and served as a Vice President at Chicago-based Information Resources, Inc. (IRI). Her next role shifted her focus to retail as SVP-CMO of Sears (then Sears Roebuck & Co.). This diversity of roles proved to be great preparation for her extraordinary success at ConAgra.