When Marketing Becomes “Humaning”

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Mondelez feeds the world’s hunger for human connection

There’s a new verb in the marketing lexicon: Humaning.

The term has been coined by Mondelez International, Inc., the global food-and-beverage conglomerate, and defined as an approach to marketing “that creates real, human connections with purpose…uncovering what unites us all.” Rather than marketing to consumers, the company says, humaning creates connections with humans: “Humaning happens when storytelling becomes story-doing.” Among the iconic names in the Mondelēz brand portfolio are Oreo, Cadbury, Ritz and Jell-O.

Mondelēz’s humaning strategy was announced in connection with the release of the company’s 2020 State of Snacking report, which found that 52% of surveyed consumers characterized snacking as a “lifeline” during the pandemic. “Comfort is the #1 driver of snacking this year,” the report notes, “as more than half have been buying nostalgic snack brands…that bring back good memories.”

While Carpenter Group observes that “humaning” as a verb is unique to Mondelez, the strategy reflects a groundswell of support among major global brands for initiatives in such areas as sustainability, diversity, social justice and the COVID-19 crisis.