How PepsiCo meets the needs of today's consumer

As trends, purchasing behaviors, and interactions with brands evolve, companies must constantly adapt. In this Q&A, Becky Frankiewicz, SVP/GM global Costco, PepsiCo, shares insights into how PepsiCo has turned to innovation, insights, and marketing to successfully evolve in this environment.

Q: What are some innovative ways PepsiCo is planning to market to new consumers in 2014?

A: It starts with having great new products. This is an area in which PepsiCo has excelled. Seven PepsiCo products that launched in 2013 (four in beverages, three in food) are on pace to achieve $100 million each in annual retail sales in the U.S. And we are very excited about our innovation pipeline moving forward.

A big reason why we've had such successful innovation is the quality of our consumer insights. Because we have a diverse portfolio of complementary food and beverage brands, we're able to gain unique insights into consumer trends and behaviors. We have analyzed the drivers of literally millions of consumption occasions and used this data to better understand how consumers make decisions about what to buy. This allows us to be highly focused in all of our innovation so that we invest against the biggest opportunities. It also allows us to deliver unique insights to our retail customers, which we're able to jointly leverage to develop customized solutions that drive sales.

We pull it all together with great marketing and consumer engagement programs. The Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" program is a great example. Now in its eighth year, it has been one of the most successful examples of a brand empowering consumers to create great new advertising executed digitally. We've also turned to crowdsourcing for new product development, first with a groundbreaking program for Mountain Dew several years ago that asked consumers to create the next Dew flavor, which is an idea that we quickly "lifted and shifted" to our snacks portfolio with the launch of our "Do Us a Flavor" program that has now run in almost 20 markets globally.

Q: What latest trends in social commerce and shopper marketing is PepsiCo involved in?

A: There's no doubt that consumers are spending more of their lives online, which makes digital a more important part of the marketing mix than ever before. It's important to find innovative ways to connect with consumers as they research and make decisions about products (what we call the pre-shop). It's equally important to find innovative ways to sustain that engagement through to the point of purchase and consumption. This trend is only going to intensify, making it imperative for consumer goods companies and agencies to be able to meet consumers where they are versus where they used to be.

Q: What types of "new consumer" is PepsiCo looking for?

A: The beauty of the PepsiCo portfolio is that we truly do offer something for everybody. We compete in three growing global categories: snacks, beverages, and nutrition. These categories are highly complementary to one another, and we're extremely well-positioned with iconic brands in each.

One of the reasons I'm proud to work at PepsiCo is that we've been able to perform while we transform. As we've continued to drive great innovation and marketing campaigns behind our largest trademarks like Pepsi, Tropicana, Lay's, Quaker, and Gatorade, we've also migrated our portfolio towards attractive, high-growth spaces such as dairy, hummus, and baked grains. Brands like Sabra, Stacy's, and Muller Quaker yogurt are all delivering great new products that further strengthen our position in these growing categories. PepsiCo has a beautifully architected portfolio of food and beverage brands that's on trend and offers the range of options our consumers and customers are looking for.

Franchesca Nguyen is communication coordinator at iMedia.

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