PepsiCo Explores Social

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Bonin Bough
Bonin Bough

Q: With Pepsi Refresh, the brand made a refreshing choice to forgo Super Bowl TV advertising for the first time in 23 years and instead embrace social media. Can you give us an update on the campaign?

A: We just announced the relaunch for next year, as well as international expansion of the program. We are blown away by the feedback we've gotten. That includes everything from people stopping us at events and telling us personal stories to all the conversations occurring online about the brand and the project.

Q: Pepsi spends more than $1 million per month on the Refresh campaign. What is your advice to marketers with smaller budgets who would like to incorporate social media marketing?

A: I think it starts off with understanding there are consumers talking about your brand. You don't want to ignore them.

Ours is a great model of a large-scale program that uses social media as an activation point. We want to participate in the communities where our customers are having conversations. We want to acknowledge them and reward them. You can layer campaigns on top of that, but you have to start with that conversational, relationship-building component.

There's a lot of block and tackle stuff that can be done, and marketers of any size need to dedicate resources to it. It's not “set it and forget it.”

The potential insights that come from social media are significant. It is the first time in history we've had measurable word of mouth.

Q: How are you measuring engagement with the campaign? What else do you measure?

A: We measure volume of conversation and we measure attribute association. We know the attributes across the brand. When we look at the conversations, we look at both the quantity and quality and how closely they're aligned with our brand health metrics.

For example, Gatorade is a science-based sports drink. That's the attribute. If you associate Gatorade with science and performance, it drives the health of the brand. A lot of marketers want to look outside for new sources of metrics rather than look inside and see what metrics exist within the business.

The other thing is, “Where does social fall in the direct marketing space? How does the social CRM world operate? What will that look like?” When you look at an aggregate batch of e-mail addresses and do reverse-lookups and do social graphs, you might take the top 10% of your purchasers. You see aggregated conversational trends in social. It's an exciting area, to connect the data we have in social with CRM data and then driving that through direct campaigns. I think that is the next big space.

Q: The technology landscape is constantly evolving. What should we do to prepare for the future of social direct marketing?

A: I don't have a crystal ball. But organizations need to start preparing for the onslaught of emerging technologies. Consider that 98% of apps are downloaded and used once. There will be waves of technologies. It's no longer about betting who'll win at the end of the day; it's about who's on the rise now who connects to your consumer. Organizations that treat digital the way they treat R&D are going to have real opportunity moving forward.

Q: Pepsi launched PepsiCo10 with Highland Capital and Mashable. It's a competition for technology, media and communications startups to submit ideas. What's the thinking?

A: We tried to create a program that not only gave us early looks into emerging technologies and new thinking, but also helps foster our own talent and gives technology companies access to our scale and development capabilities.

Q: You've just expanded Refresh beyond North America. Can you talk about why, where you are taking it and what we can expect?

A: The reason it has been expanded is simply because of its North American success. We're taking it to Europe, Latin America and Asia.

It will be tailored to each region. We've got a ton of “learnings” across the organization. We've set out to create a movement, not a moment.

You'll see the program evolve. As we re-launch it here and expand abroad, we invited people in the North American program to join us in a conversation. We launched a platform [last month] for people to provide their comments, as we re-launch the program, regarding how we adjust it going forward. There have been responses from consumers who have suggestions to participants who are part of the thousand campaigning for project, and comments from marketing experts in the nonprofit space.

Catch Bonin Bough at DMA2010 on Sunday, October 10, at 11:45 am when Carol Krol moderates the keynote on social media with the Pepsi marketer

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