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Top 4 Tips for FMCG Brand Manager on How to Introduce Innovations and Move Up the Corporate Career Ladder


Or how to organize the work of local offices in an FMCG company using Open Source CMS

Since I have been working quite closely with FMCG brand managers on numerous collaborative projects for a long time, I've noticed a lot of opportunities to strengthen the company's business by making drastic changes.

It primarily refers to fostering the spirit of innovation in the FMCG industry. As a rule, corporations with dozens of local offices tend to implement innovations and changes very slowly.

This is an article about how an FMCG brand manager can effectively organize the work of dozens of local offices and introduce innovations. And as a result, move up the corporate career ladder.

If a brand manager is a genuine innovation advocate, they can:

  1. Achieve personal growth by broadening and deepening expertise, increasing the level of digital literacy, improving development skills.
  2. Make themselves more valuable for senior management and achieve career advancement.

The article is focused on delineating my perspective on the subject with an Open Source CMS since I am an expert in this field. Of course, for a broader and more complete overview of the issue, I strongly recommend you to study the suggestions of a larger pool of experienced experts.

Tip 1: Avoid tight centralization when working with local FMCG websites

Indeed, strict control over the local offices' websites results in slow changes and a lack of flexibility. It means that long-awaited innovations will never be implemented.

Just think how many needs local departments have: they have to create content in their native language, comply with national legal regulations for website running, meet their customer needs that may differ from yours, etc.

Try to find a sweet spot in local website management.

Based on long-term monitoring, I can conclude that Open Source CMS has become a real sweet spot for many FMCG companies. It is a common core for managing dozens of local websites simultaneously. Its key advantage is the possibility of each website to work independently despite the common core.

Though the corporate headquarters take ownership and full control of Open Source CMS, local managers can customize with regional contractors.

And this is where the innovation phase begins. As a matter of fact, the FMCG company starts a journey to safe innovations, when local managers are free to make decisions that are in the best interests of the local office and are not obliged to coordinate all their actions.

By refusing tight centralization, you will receive:

  1. Rapid hypothesis testing.
  2. Deep customization to satisfy the local representatives' requests.
  3. Speeding up the functionality delivery from the head office to local ones (in our projects, we speeded it up to 3 times).

Tip 2: Boost the digital engagement of local FMCG marketers

Take it or leave it, but the spirit of innovation is created when local FMCG marketers start administering websites and controlling the functionality delivery on their own. Besides, it becomes much easier to be an effective FMCG brand manager if to share responsibility for the website development and delivery of quality service with local representatives.

Local administrators will be able to create the tools they need to increase productivity and become highly efficient. Certainly, they will not be able to integrate a new CRM, but they will be quite capable of building a new landing page, launching podcasts, posting a video or webinar, and so on.

Discovering the wide possibilities of Open Source CMS, many of my clients have found out that it gives local managers plenty of opportunities for administrating, training, and integrating.

Thus, it increases both the general and personal digital expertise of each employee.

With the involvement of local administrators, you will provide:

  1. Business users with the ability to work with websites.
  2. An enabling environment for innovation.
  3. Deepening the digital expertise of every employee engaged in the process.

Tip 3: Reduce the FMCG company's costs of innovation

Besides thinking bigger innovation requires huge budgets. But you can cut innovation costs without compromising quality or changing your workflow.

Here are some examples of how you can profitably cut your budget using Open Source CMS.

Example 1. 

Imagine you need to integrate the fast moving consumer goods company's websites with a new ERP system. When using Open Source CMS, you don't need to integrate each website separately, but just the core. Then all websites are automatically integrated with the given ERP system.

The cost of integration is over $2,000. In case you manage 20 websites, you will pay $40,000 in total. Using Open Source CMS, you can save $38,000 just on one integration (as a rule, FMCG companies save much larger).

Example 2.

One of the departments of your local representative office (for instance, Marketing, HR, Sales, or PR) needs to deploy a new landing page for a PR campaign. Using the Open Source CMS templates, the work can be done just in a few clicks: even an employee without tech skills can create a “frame” of the landing page and fill it with proper content.

We measured that the process of creating a landing page is 10 times faster, i.e. the development of 10 landing pages on Open Source CMS took as much time and money as the only one landing page ordered in the agency.

Results of Open Source CMS implementation:

  1. Substantial innovation cost savings (in the case of integrations up to dozens of times).
  2. Development of 10 times more functionality for the same time and money.

Tip 4: Turn Open Source CMS into your own corporate product

By developing a common Open Source CMS for all local websites, FMCG brand managers get a perfect tool for activating the dealers' work, while the consumer goods company obtains its own corporate product.

It will contribute to:

  1. Removal of any restrictions on functionality that might be in the case of using licensed software. It will be you who decide on a set of functionality, not the software owner.
  2. Flexible amortization of software and the ability to add Open Source CMS to the fast moving consumer goods company's intangible assets.


For me, the project was a success if a brand manager with whom I worked, went up for promotion. It means that they did a tremendous job: despite zillions of pitfalls, they could arrange the management of dozens of local websites and began to implement cool innovations that actually improved the FMCG company.

It is much more complicated than it might seem from the outside. Without exaggeration, it is a great achievement.

If you have any questions or would like to add something, please let me know by writing a comment. I would be delighted to receive any feedback.