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Observe consumer behaviour and transactions wherever possible and act on the feedback
How do you keep customers engaged and invested in your brand?
Such a great question. As you know, CPGs are new to the DTC game. And I mean that in a broader sense than eComm, in a direct to consumer engagement sense. We have historically built and sustained brands in a rather ‘one-way’ manner. We, of course, do a lot of consumer insights research and try and listen to the consumer, but still in a very ‘episodic’ relationship. It wasn’t until recently, with the rise of digitalization, social media and eComm, that we were able to establish a true dialogue, one where we immediately get feedback and input from consumers.
Social media is crucial here. I recently learned from John Ridgway, our brilliant eComm Marketing Director, that historically, retention had been widely understood as ‘opting in’ an email program, something still very passive (e.g. we push messages to you). Social is a key component of building engagement via a two-way dialogue. PepsiCo has been somewhat of a pioneer in this space; a great example was Doritos Crash the Super Bowl, a campaign started in 2006 in which fans submitted commercials to be shown at the Super Bowl – it ran strong for around 10 years with huge success amongst consumers.
This dialogue has a few fundamentals: first and foremost, tangible value. Product quality – no brand can sustain its value without top quality – and physical attributes, in our industry’s case, stuff like a variety of flavours, textures, calories, pack sizes, formats, etc. Second: is intangible value, which I split in 2 sub-branches: essential and aspirational. Essential values are integrity, sustainability, transparency, the kind of ‘must have’ values of any good corporate citizen. The aspirational branch is where the dialogue becomes ever more important. It is what ‘old school’ branding framed as ‘what the brand wants to be known for’; however, in this day and age, it is less about ‘my brand’ and (way) more about what my brand means to you, personally!
Hence we must value every touchpoint in the relationship with each and every consumer. When we map this out, there are countless ways to actively engage rather than passively push out messages. We traditionally think of TV as the 30 sec spot people watch. Now with streaming and mobile, it could easily lead to other engagements with the brand, giving us the opportunity to know our consumer better. So we can create value to consumer with things like entertainment, connectivity, content that links to personal passions, and so on.
Here is where the dialogue becomes really interesting, especially when you look to a house of brands like PepsiCo, where each conversation will have a different flavour – pun intended 😊
How could your customer journey become more customer-centric and data-driven remote customer meeting point?
I believe in today’s world, where consumers are connected 24/7 on their respective devices and social medias of choice, there is no escaping from personalizing the dialogue I just mentioned. It must become a 1 to 1 conversation, where every interaction can lead to another engagement and where consumers feel they are not only heard but also getting some value from the conversation. This will only be possible if you have the consumer’s trust to share info with you, so you can process it in a smart way and give it back to him in a valuable form (ranging basically from content to discount and a million nuances in between).
This is obviously easier said than done as it requires a full organization’s commitment in changing the mindset, breaking traditional silos and investing in the necessary tech stack to support it – many times, technology can become a barrier.
If you succeed in establishing such a trusted dialogue, supported by the right data & tech, it really doesn’t matter where the consumer is, physically speaking, and with the advent of Quick Comm and ever faster fulfilment alternatives, the mobile phone becomes an ‘always on’ consumer meeting point.
What are the best ways to collect customer feedback to improve overall satisfaction?
I am a huge fan of observed behaviour! Observing consumer behaviour and transactions wherever possible (e.g. transparently allowed by the consumer and cleared by regulation) can be incredibly insightful.
Additionally, granted we develop a good, trusting relationship with consumers, if we provide them an opportunity to respond in a simple manner (e.g. don’t try to get all answers at once), they will (we can learn a lot by reading Amazon reviews).
Finally, we must act on the feedback! Consumers are delighted when they feel heard. Even small but meaningful gestures can make consumers more loyal to the brand. Imagine a case where you delivered an eComm order late. We know the consumer had a subpar experience. By proactively reaching out to make the situation better (e.g. a gift or discount, etc.), suddenly the negative experience can become a good one and still build loyalty.
Celso Borges Shimabukuro is a VP eCommerce & Digital Transformation at PepsiCo. He is an experienced business leader with three diverse yet complementing chapters on his background: entrepreneur, consultant and executive. As an entrepreneur he has launched and managed several start-ups in eCommerce, Telecom and Retail; as a Strategy consultant at Accenture he led projects on go to market strategy, M&A, corporate governance and growth strategy for multiple clients in diverse industries (FMCG, retail, technology, education); as an executive he has led Strategy at Samsung, Analytics and Revenue Management at J&J and currently leads eCommerce for PepsiCo Europe.