A Story Told Through the General Mills Website Redesign

A food company with a broad portfolio of international brands realizes they have left their own corporate story untold. They turn to to Olive & Company to help share their rich history and growing future.

What began as Gold Medal Flour nearly 150 years ago has grown into an expansive portfolio of brands that nourish consumers on six continents. U.S.-based General Mills boasts $19 billion in global annual sales generated from such household names as Yoplait, Cheerios, Green Giant, Pillsbury, and Häagan-Dazs. In addition to their consumer brands, the company’s commitment to innovation as well as environmental and social responsibility has paved the way for organizations like the General Mills Foundation and the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.

Challenge: Sharing a Century of Untold Stories

Despite a storied history, unfolding over more than a century, General Mills’ brand narrative remained ostensibly untold. They had excelled when it came to sharing the stories behind their more than 100 individual brands. The Pillsbury Doughboy and Green Giant had become arguably as recognizable as Mickey Mouse, but households still knew very little about the brand behind the brands.

General Mills needed to engage their audience in the larger brand story. They quickly realized a website redesign that would serve as a platform to share this story was exactly what they needed. They turned to Olive & Company to help them bring a modern look and feel to a site that would resonate with their vast audience.

General Mills turned to Olive & Company to help them bring a modern look and feel to a site that would resonate with their vast audience.

The project brought with it a number of challenges. We would need to stay within the boundaries of the current General Mills brand while coordinating with their development team to ensure all code adhered to their internal standards.

Beyond the technical hurdles, the site would need to reach a spectrum of audiences that included consumers, influencers, media, investors, and potential employees. Moreover, General Mills needed to be able to reach these audiences on a variety of devices throughout the world.

Solution: A Platform to Share

The entire team at Olive & Company worked closely with the General Mills group to create a content plan, site architecture, and wireframes that maintained a simplified approach to navigation and layout, but still allowed the site to present the brand’s abounding corporate story in a meaningful way.

With a little collaboration from the General Mills brand team, we ensured the site design remained within the boundaries of the corporate brand while engaging users with colorful photography, a modern layout, interactive elements, and a content hierarchy that took users through a captivating, interwoven narrative. Throughout each stage of the project, we prioritized responsive design planning to ensure the final product translated to mobile devices.

Result: A Place to Discover a Brand

Upon completion of the project, we delivered final site code that met General Mills’ internal standards and expectations, ensuring a smooth transition to the company’s internal development team. Soon after the code was delivered and the General Mills development team integrated our templates into their SiteCore platform, the company launched an engaging site, featuring a magazine-style homepage that gave them the opportunity to highlight their greater brand story. Through our responsive design efforts, we were able to bring this elevated brand experience across all platforms from desktop to mobile.

Topics that augmented this story and impacted the entire organization were also given room in the spotlight. Corporate responsibility, sustainability, and hunger and nutrition all reflected elements of the General Mills brand to build a sweeping account of their storied past, current focus, and future outlook.

The new design lets us tell stories that give people insight to our company on topics such as health, innovation, global responsibility, company financials, and, of course, our brand. It also presents stories from sources outside the company, so visitors can read what others are saying about us.

-Jim Thielman, global communications web manager at General Mills