A friend of mine still loves to tell the story of a college roommate who organized his massive CD collection by the artist’s name. She didn’t hear Sympathy for the Devil for a whole semester - until she discovered he filed Beggars Banquet under Stones, Rolling.

The fastidious filer’s quirkiness illustrates an admittedly obvious reality: people organize and search for things differently.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are collecting more data and creating more content than ever before. Those volumes will continue to increase, especially as the sector’s biggest players scramble to beat or acquire smaller brands.

With 70% of growth in CPG brands now coming from small and medium size companies, the need to respond to changing consumer preferences and leverage rapidly evolving digital growth models is quickly becoming a survival strategy.

Another friend, a senior exec at a global CPG megabrand with annual revenues approaching $70b, recently made the heart-stopping leap into the captain’s chair of an emerging small company with a competitive brand and revenues of less than one-third of a percent than his former employer. His prime mover? The ability to move faster in the marketplace.

The loss of sweeping resources only a big time player could provide was offset by the chance to carry his years of institutional knowledge into an exciting new realm where broken marketing models had been replaced by native D-2-C approaches, and where dense hierarchical structures, hard to cross silos of information, and antiquated processes didn’t narrow paths to innovation.

CPG companies need to stop the brain drain — keeping seasoned vets instead of seeing them jump ship to smaller firms where their expertise and knowledge can make a direct, dramatic impact on the birth and growth of new products, market segments, and revenue streams.

Adapt… or Suffer the Consequences

It’s also a clue to where large CPG companies should and must go to move out of survival mode and into new, sustainable phases of growth. New and emerging technologies can help large CPG firms reap big benefits from the vast repositories of data and institutional knowledge they hold, helping them build back formidable competitive advantages over against small upstart rivals.

By learning from smaller brands with streamlined management structures and direct, dynamic connections to consumers, and by coupling those efforts with modern automation, big players in the space can respond to new microtrends with the speed and flexibility the digital age demands.

A new generation of software tools can help large companies leverage the time and talent of their creative teams, whose ability to deliver the right content at the right time is a make-or-break proposition in every branding effort.

For creative teams, searching is the key to reaching the resources they need to refresh, enhance, and retarget brand images. Across large organizations, the search process for the right content or business object often reaches across teams, divisions, continents, time zones, permission levels, and hierarchical structures.

When creative teams hit roadblocks, they hit them hard. Searches take precious time; keyword options are too narrow; multiple versions of content and rigid classifications can cause chaos; downloads can be sluggish; uploads may or may not work across the miles; making sure approvals and clearances are up to the minute can be tedious and frustrating.

Creative Teams Chaos

Going Rogue

It’s no wonder creatives go rogue, creating ad hoc processes to skip routines that add layers of difficulty to already challenging tasks. Creatives who dive off the beaten path do so out of desperation: they need systems that let them find, use, and produce content easily, but that’s not what they have. Rogue tools and processes let them organize content in the way, time, and place that works best for them, and there are no gatekeepers to slow the pace.

Bypassing approved systems will create nightmares that no department head ever wants to have, like usage rights debacles and other legal woes, and the budget unfriendly cost of rework.

Giving teams the tools to access resources easily and quickly across brands gives CPG companies an advantage that small brands don’t have. Modern software tools are changing the game for the world’s biggest brands, and Nuxeo is driving that change. To learn more, go to nuxeo.com/rethinkingCPG.