A Lasting Engagement: A Consumer Products Professional Works to Create the Ultimate Brand Experience for Buyers
Hutson, Brittany, Black Enterprise
Your division's net revenues decreased by 1% in 2008 and by 8% in 2009. With increasing food prices and the public more willing to purchase store-brand beverages, how do you keep consumers engaged?
Some deep loyalties have set in across some of the major brands, like Pepsi, that we don't take for granted. In order to deepen our engagement as brand marketers with consumers, it's no longer about communicating a consistent message or promoting a symbolic image--it's really about adding value to people's lives by looking at what they value in a brand and what they want to accomplish in their lives. For example, we launched a program called the Pepsi Refresh project, in which consumers pitch an idea about how they would like to have a positive impact on the world. Ideas have ranged from addressing diabetes to increasing literacy in at-risk communities. We've invested $20 million to fund the project. We also launched Dewmocracy, under our Mountain Dew brand, where we collaborate with passionate consumers to create the next Mountain Dew product. Not only do they choose the color, flavor, and name [of the product], but they actually select an ad agency to promote it.
How does your team brainstorm new techniques to engage consumers?
The traditional approach is to have a research team develop insights, and then a brand manager craft an idea around the brand, and then a creative agency comes in to present ideas--but I think that model is becoming obsolete. The best approach, which I've seen at PepsiCo, is to have a multidisciplinary team--people from insights (which leads consumer research efforts and provides insight into consumer behavior), strategy, branding, sales, and creative--that operates throughout the entire process. …