Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Not your ordinary corn flake brand: How does this company ensure its entire business flourishes and thrives? [Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy]

March 15, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

Are you familiar with Return Driven Strategy (RDS)? 

As someone who’s been in the business and consulting industry for over 3 decades now, I personally like this framework because it has proven helpful to me as a leader. 

Created by Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo, the RDS framework consists of 11 tenets and 3 foundations. When taken into the context of your own brand, these principles will enable you to ethically create and maximize wealth and value for your firm. 

Today, we’ll focus on the importance of ethics in a particular brand’s growth and success over the years. 

Keep reading to know what company we’re referring to and understand the significant role of ethics in this brand’s entire processes and operations. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy 


Frosted Flakes. 

Corn Flakes. 


Did you know these snacks and convenience food are manufactured and marketed under one company? 

We’re not talking about Nestlé, P&G, or Mondelēz. We’re talking about… 


Kellogg’s is a multinational food company headquartered in Michigan, USA. It produces cereals and other convenience food such as crackers and toaster pastries. 

The brand’s mission statement? 

“Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive.” 

Kellogg’s in the Lens of Return Driven Strategy’s Tenet One 

In 2020, Kellogg’s was named one of data company Ethisphere’s “World’s Most Ethical Companies.” The corn flake brand has been part of the list every year since 2007. 

Ethisphere’s ranking was based on an assessment process that includes over 200 questions on: 

  • Culture
  • Environmental and social practices
  • Ethics and compliance activities
  • Governance
  • Diversity
  • Initiatives to support a strong value chain

… and more. 

The assessment process serves as an operating framework to codify the leading practices of various companies across industries and around the world. 

According to Kellogg’s Chairman and CEO Steve Cahillane, the company’s Global Code of Ethics and K Values plays a huge role in its ethical business practices throughout the years. 

Similar to Johnson & Johnson’s Credo, Kellogg’s Code of Ethics guides executives, managers, and employees in knowing where they stand and how they should do business globally. 

Here’s what Cahillane said about Kellogg’s inclusion in Ethisphere’s ranking: 

“A reputation is a very fragile thing―that’s something our founder recognized more than 100 years ago. Consumers invite us into their lives every day and make our foods part of their daily meals and special occasions. We earn their trust one bite at a time. We’re honored that Ethisphere has again recognized our company’s legacy of integrity and doing what’s right. We’re committed to maintaining a values-based, ethical performance culture and we continuously review our Code of Ethics to ensure it reflects the world we live in.” 

Let’s take a closer look at the company’s K Values and Code of Ethics… 

The K Values―integrity, accountability, passion, humility, simplicity, and a focus on success―serve as Kellogg’s foundation. They guide how employees and staff work with business partners and with each other. 

These values also enable Kellogg’s to create a vibrant, ethical performance culture. They demonstrate the brand’s unwavering commitment to doing business legally, ethically, and responsibly. 

Meanwhile, the Code of Ethics serves as a tool for achieving employees’ individual and collective success, and maintaining the company’s sustainable business success and strong reputation. 

The Code contains information and resources that are readable, easy to use, and relevant to staff’s day-to-day jobs. Everyone at Kellogg’s must know the Code and apply it in their work. 

How does the company uphold its Code of Ethics? 

By seeking guidance and speaking out

For Kellogg’s, it’s always important to maintain a culture where ideas and concerns are encouraged, acknowledged, and considered. This gives workers the ability to be at their best, build trust, and demonstrate ethical performance AT ALL TIMES. 

Here’s what Kellogg’s tells its people about seeking guidance and speaking out to uphold the Code of Ethics: 

Seeking Guidance 

Employees should always feel free to approach their manager whenever they have questions or concerns. They may also consult with the departments that provide oversight for the policy or law in question, such as: 

  • The Human Resources Department
  • The Legal and Compliance Department
  • The Office of Ethics and Compliance

The Office of Ethics and Compliance provides guidance on how to apply the Code of Ethics to Kellogg’s business activities, conducts compliance training, and receives reports of all actual or suspected violations of the Code. 

The company makes sure people who work in these departments have strong ethical characters so they can uphold and perform their tasks and responsibilities well. 

Speaking Out 

Kellogg’s empowers its people to act, express their concerns, and call the ethics line if they think or feel that something is wrong. 

Should an employee feel concerned about a potential violation of the Code of Ethics, he or she is required to notify at least one of the following: 

  • The manager (provided the manager is not involved in the possible violation)
  • The Human Resources Department
  • The Legal and Compliance Department
  • Internal Audit
  • The Office of Ethics and Compliance

Kellogg’s encourages its employees to say something immediately if they see or suspect an unethical act within the company. 


It’s because the brand believes that the longer people wait to address a concern, the worse it may become. So, it’s always best practice to raise a concern as early as possible. 


In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that to ethically create and maximize wealth, a firm must first define “wealth” and “ethics.” 

According to them, wealth is best achieved when companies stay within the ethical parameters of the communities where they operate. 

Failure to operate ethically risks everything the leadership and management teams hope to achieve. A mountain of financial evidence shows that gross unethical conduct does not bear a justifying reward. 

In the case of Kellogg’s, making sure its personnel are familiar with the Code of Ethics is top priority. 

This does not only make the brand a part of the World’s Most Ethical Companies but also helps the entire team make a positive change by seeking opportunities to grow personally and professionally. 

We hope you received a lot of great insights from Kellogg’s ethical business practices! 

By applying Return Driven Strategy’s Tenet One in the context of your own brand, you’ll also build a work culture where everyone―business constituents and the company as a whole―can thrive and serve consumers well. 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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