#PortadaLat Speaker-PepsiCo’s Ricardo Arias-Nath: “I Constantly See Proofs that a Good Narrative Can Make a Pale Story Colorful.”
Pepsico's Latin America Beverages Chief Marketing Officer Ricardo Arias Nath is going to be one of the highlights at our ninth annual PortadaLat conference next month in Miami. In his keynote speech on June 8, Arias Nath will speak about "How Innovation shapes PepsiCo's Latin American marketing strategy." We interviewed Arias Nath who answered several questions about PepsiCo's approach to Latin American marketing.
Portada: What are your main challenges when marketing PepsiCo beverages products in this current disruptive world?
Ricardo Arias-Nath Chief Marketing Officer, PepsiCo Latin America Beverages: "Every company has its own set of marketing challenges; I would say that for us at PepsiCo there are three: The first challenge is to continuously evolve our product portfolio to meet consumer choices. More than ever, people are demanding a wide variety of beverages to meet their nutrition, hydration and enjoyment needs throughout the day, and a ‘one size fits all’ model simply doesn't work any longer. For PepsiCo this means making our portfolio more nutritious, our food system more sustainable and our communities more prosperous. It’s how we’ll pave the way for PepsiCo’s future growth and help others thrive. In Latin America, we are intensifying efforts in categories like Sports Nutrition (Gatorade), Hydration (water), local energy sources (Starbucks coffee), and natural ingredients through juices (Naked, Kero Coco, etc.) to meet this challenge.
The second challenge that we are facing is on content development and distribution. The shift in media consumption is occurring at an even a higher rate than the shift in product proliferation. Thus we have moved from a monolithic marketing strategy that focused on one brand, one content piece, and one channel, to a targeted marketing strategy that focuses on multiple brands, each brand with multiple content pieces for different channels in order to reach our consumers with the right product at the right moment and through the right channel.
And last, but not least, evolving the marketing organization, talent and processes to align to these consumers’ seismic shifts is a challenge on its own. Marketers must become more strategic and “right brain - left brain” balanced. Our function by nature has to constantly listen, learn and adapt. As we transform our portfolio we also need the rest of the organization to be in sync with these changes."
There are no outdated stories, only bad storytellers.
Portada: You recently wrote an article on Linked In Pulse. One of the key lessons you talk about is that "there are no outdated stories, only bad storytellers." Can you explain how you provide this principle to PepsiCo’s content marketing efforts?
R.Arias-Nath, CMO, PepsiCo Latin America Beverages: "It is all in the storytelling, I constantly see proofs that a good narrative can make even a pale story colorful, it’s all about the telling. And that absolutely applies to brands, at PepsiCo we have centennial brands like Pepsi, half a century brands like Gatorade, and very new brands such as Naked juice. All of them remain very current. Let me exemplify using Gatorade, our sports fueling brand. Gatorade continues to be the trendiest and most relevant brand in the sports nutrition category. The brand connects with sports practitioners through the right sports and the right athletes and throughout time, we have evolved brand communications and experiential programs to current trends.
Our focus on soccer is a great example. We complement highly engaging stories backed by strong brand ambassadors with formative competitive experiences for teens in a highly relevant way. We are currently in the middle of a global initiative that was born in Latin America call Gatorade 5vs5 experience. Through this experience, Gatorade invites young soccer players to compete locally for the opportunity to represent their country in Cardiff at the 5vs5 Finals, through our partnership with the UEFA Champions League.The 5vs5 campaign doesn’t tell a story, it invites consumers to build the stories together with Gatorade, with relevant content and real life stories in a digital environment. This year we are adding another component to our experiential storytelling, but you will have to follow Gatorade to the finals to find out more."
What is your view about how you want to evolve the Pepsi brand in Latin America?
R.Arias-Nath, CMO, PepsiCo Latin America Beverages: "Pepsi is our most iconic brand, and we are very proud of Pepsi’s progress in Latin America. The brand has been present in the region for over 100 years. Throughout this time, the brand has evolved with consumers, capturing the excitement of now, being the choice of the new generations and always front and center in pop culture. Pepsi is a challenger brand in a very competitive environment, and we continue to gain market share across key countries. Pepsi is and will continue to be a timeless brand; it is part of its DNA."
What are the key features a marketer targeting Latin American consumers needs to have?
R.Arias-Nath, CMO, PepsiCo Latin America Beverages: "Every region and every market are different, so I think that the most important feature of a marketer is to utterly understand the market and consumers. You have to understand the culture, motivations, lifestyles, needs, etc.
A very important lesson for us in Latin America is that every country is an individual entity; from the large countries like Brazil and Mexico to small countries and islands in the Caribbean, every one of them has its own peculiarities. Thus, although we establish clear global brand guidelines, we provide local markets the sufficient room for adaptations to reflect local needs.
In addition, market structures in Latin America are very different from country to country and vastly different from those in the United States (US) or Europe. The major distribution means in our region is the traditional channel, specifically corner stores, and this channel is generally not very well organized. So developing it is key for our business to be successful.
Finally, someone from the US or Europe will be surprised to learn about the media mix in Latin America, it is a very complex equation. Digital channels have been growing rapidly in the region; however, in some markets, we still have radio as the main channel. So this takes me back to my first point, the key is to know the market cold.
Someone from the U.S. or Europe will be surprised to learn about the media mix in Latin America, it is a very complex equation.
Portada: How is PepsiCo's Marketing/Advertising operation organized in Latin America?
R.Arias-Nath, CMO, PepsiCo Latin America Beverages:
"Over the past 3 years, we have shifted to a new operating model that is helping us streamline innovation and communications. We have grouped our organization in three large categories, Beverages, Snacks and Nutrition with further sub-category breakdowns. These categories are responsible for developing brand innovation, communication and in-market execution across the entire PepsiCo portfolio, with straight line reporting from each local market all the way to global. In the case of beverages, we work very closely with our bottling partners.
In addition to category leads, we have established a strong Consumer Strategy & Insights function as well as a Marketing Services organization, both that provide services across the entire enterprise.
There are great advantages to this model; one of the most important in my opinion is fast information flow and best practices sharing. As a global company we have the advantage of having amazing talent around the world. Through our matrix model, we can easily understand what is working in similar markets around the world, and we have access to great insights and content that applies to our markets."
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