Beyond Facebook and Twitter: PepsiCo understands on- and off-line social networking

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PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi delivered the keynote at BlogHer 2011, a women's blogger conference, on August 6 in San Diego. I briefly spoke with Jamie Stein, director of digital initiatives for PepsiCo, about why the food and beverage company is making its third appearance at the annual event and why Pepsi is committed to digital, female-driven brand initiatives.

PepsiCo launched the following activations at BlogHer: Indra's Call to Action, which asks women to share stories of inspiration for the chance to become a correspondent for PepsiCo; PepsiCo WIN (Women's Inspiration Network), the pilot of an online portal for women; The PepsiCo Promenade, an on-site display of raw materials that PepsiCo uses in their products; and PepsiCo Place, a hub for bloggers to share hand-written messages via Post-it notes with conference companions.

For the past couple of years, PepsiCo has seemingly paved the way for social marketers, particularly with the immensely successful ongoing “Pepsi Refresh” campaign. The company invests $1 million per month in the campaign, which elicited tens of millions of votes several months after launch.

Although the company has also launched several questionable initiatives, it will be remembered for projects like “Refresh” and the BlogHer activations not only because of its social expertise but also because of its ability to identify and tap into passionate, engaged segments.

Here's what Stein had to say about PepsiCo's interest in BlogHer.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): Why is it important for PepsiCo to be at BlogHer?
Jamie Stein (PepsiCo):
Women make up the majority of household purchasers but it's also very important in terms of how they're transforming purchase and lifestyle choices. We are at BlogHer because we understand their influence and power on social media, what they're talking about, and what they want.

DMN: Is there a difference in how PepsiCo connects with women digitally, compared with more traditional channels?
We're all about marketing with women instead of to them. This is an important nuance that we've been doing for quite some time now. Marketing is not about a one-size-fits-all approach, it's about a dialogue with women. At PepsiCo we're not all about campaigns and going big and then going dark for awhile. It's about engaging women in a more ongoing way. It has to be a mix, a combination of offline and online. We still have an offline approach, but you also want to mix in what's happening on blogs and the conversations going on there. It's not about one or the other. You need a complete integration. That's why the BlogHer conference is so important. Nothing takes the place of offline engagement.

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