Zena Arnold came to Kimberly-Clark Corp. as chief digital and marketing officer last year with an unusual background as a former packaged goods executive (Procter & Gamble Co. and Kellogg Co.) who’d gone to Google for more than six years, then came back to CPG.
Perhaps naturally, her remit at Kimberly-Clark, marketer of Huggies, Kleenex and Cottonelle, involves digital transformation, a subject she’ll be talking about at the Ad Age Next: CMO conference on Dec. 2 alongside Oliver Joyce, global chief transformation officer of her media agency, Mindshare Worldwide. Arnold is well suited for the role given that her last stop at Google was as global head of growth for the Chrome operating system, whose impending end of support for third-party cookies has led to so much industry concern.
In this interview with Ad Age, Arnold discusses where K-C is on digital transformation, how the company's move of North American marketers from Neenah, Wisconsin, to Chicago is going, what she learned at Google that she’s applying—and what it’s like to have a song written about you. "Zena with a Z!” on Spotify is one of several ballads about chief marketing officers the audio media platform featured in a recent playlist.
First, that song. What’s it like to have a song written about you on Spotify?
I'm a huge fan of ‘80s synth-pop. When they reached out, I said it sounds fun. Let's do it. Really, really cool and I can't say I've quite had anything like that.
What made you decide to leave Google to return to CPG?
I have a history and background in CPG. That's kind of where I grew up, so I spent formative years of my career at P&G and then a few years at Kellogg before moving to Google. I absolutely loved my time at Google. It was a fantastic company, and I learned so much had so many amazing opportunities. But I kind of missed in my heart being at a place where marketing is really critical to driving the business, and in CPG it absolutely is. So when this opportunity came along, I thought this is a really good way of bringing some of the things I've learned in the tech world to a CPG company and helping kind of evolve it.