PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand chief executive Robbert Rietbroek tells M&M Global about the firm’s ‘decisive’ move into the digital space, and the shift from TV ‘share of voice’ to consumer ‘share of mind’.
MMG: How are you finding your new role as CEO of PepsiCo Australia & New Zealand?
Rietbroek: “I feel privileged to lead the fantastic team at PepsiCo Australia & New Zealand. It’s exciting to be part of PepsiCo, one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies. At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our goal is to deliver top-tier financial performance while creating sustainable growth and shareholder value.
PepsiCo is a large company in this part of the world and we have a very successful operation in both Australia and New Zealand with a strong portfolio of brands across both snacks and beverages. The team is highly capable, with a diverse pool of global talent amongst the 1,800 employees in Australia and New Zealand. It is fully integrated business that leverages the best of what PepsiCo has to offer globally, combined with local on the ground expertise.
“This includes an incredible mix of consumers much loved global and local snack and beverage brands, highly developed agricultural and R&D expertise, ‘customer centric’ sales and marketing capability and a local manufacturing and distribution system that spans the length and breadth of this huge continent.”
What are the opportunities for PepsiCo’s brands in the region?
“The Australian and New Zealand market continues to be a great market for our categories. We are well positioned within this market with a great portfolio of brands and an accelerating pace of innovation.
“Smith’s, is an Australian favourite and the leading potato chip brand. Smith’s, ‘the original and the best’ potato chip, has been on the market for 85 years. Red Rock Deli is Australia’s leading hard bite potato chip. The brand was conceived, created and developed in Australia and has continued to drive market growth in the premium segment.
“On beverages, we have a great foundation for growth. In Australia, Pepsi Max has delivered maximum cola taste with no sugar and has been instrumental in establishing sugar free cola consumption. It is the largest brand in our Australian portfolio. In 2009, Pepsi Max became PepsiCo’s 19th billion dollar global mega brand.
“Gatorade is the global leader in sports nutrition. Gatorade regularly consults with authoritative sources, actively supports research into hydration and diet and participates in programme that encourage sports development and activity through involvement with the Australian Institute of Sport, The Sports Dieticians Association of Australia, and the Victorian Institute of Sport.
“There are lot of other opportunities to grow our overall beverage portfolio, which in addition to Pepsi Max and Gatorade includes Pepsi, Mountain Dew and 7 Up and drive into new channels and other white spaces. We recently announced, for example a strategic partnership with Australia’s largest ski resort Perisher Resort, who will now serve the portfolio of our PepsiCo brands along with brands from our franchise bottling partner.”
How are you using brand partnerships, for example with the AFL and All Blacks, to gain a competitive advantage?
“In Australia, as is the case globally, Gatorade has a long association with sport including involvement with cricket, soccer and rugby league. In recent years we have also established partnerships with the Australian Football League and in 2016 Gatorade became the official hydration partner of the legendary New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team.
“Bluebird, New Zealand’s favourite chip brand and no sugar Pepsi Max, have also got behind the New Zealand’s All Blacks. Like the All Blacks, Bluebird is a Kiwi favourite and there’s nothing more fitting than cheering on the All Blacks with friends and family, whilst enjoying a bowl of Bluebird chips and a can of Pepsi Max.
“The fact that they choose to partner with our brands is a strong indication of the great credentials and growth potential that our brands offer in this market.”
What about digital innovation? As an FMCG brand-owner, how are you looking to use digital media?
“We are decisively moving our brands and brand investments into the digital space and we have recently appointed a number of digital and social agencies in Australia to help us accelerate this move.
“We are keen to drive our brands harder and bring to life our associations with the AFL, All Blacks, and Australian Cricket through the creation of highly engaging consumer content. Our brands will need to practice continuous storytelling, leveraging brand strengths, trending topics and cultural triggers to create content calendars around topics and insights relevant to consumers.
“Client and agencies will become more integrated, connecting people in consumer affairs, corporate communications and brand builders, on both client and agency side”
“We will plan for the predictable, develop creative templates, identify moments where these can be used, and also leverage the unpredictable, moving the brand into the real time spotlight. PepsiCo ANZ will continue to ‘own’ the brand promise and brief, but our agencies will be required to develop more content than ever, and be involved in the daily reality of building brands.
“Client and agencies will become more integrated, connecting people in consumer affairs, corporate communications and brand builders, on both client and agency side. Our brands will have to be ‘always on’, 24/7, 365 days a year.”
How important are relationships with retail partners? Do they still matter as much when brands can have direct communications and commerce relationships with consumers?
“Incredibly important. Our retail partners are our number one priority every day, as we drive to a customer centric culture throughout PepsiCo ANZ. Our role in the value chain is simple: deliver the strongest brands and products, develop superior innovation, and provide exceptional customer service. When our customers do well, generally we do well.
“The opposite is also true. So we are committed to help our retail partners grow their categories sustainably and profitably and help them shape the future of the business. We connect shopper and consumer insights with commercial strategy, and partner with our customers to bring our exciting innovation to life, to help grow their top and bottom line.”
What do you expect to be the biggest changes to PepsiCo ANZ’s marketing and media approach over the coming year or two?
“The big change is absolutely the shift from TV ‘share of voice’ to consumer ‘share of mind’, moving away from the long lead time TV centric model of the past, to an idea centric model, with integrated execution, shorter lead times, and lower cost.
“We will aggregate and localise branded content that is available globally. Social media is the ‘great equaliser’ – now more than ever the quality of an idea is critical. In all of this, increased agility, our company purpose and brand values, product quality, authenticity, sourcing providence and sustainability track record will become even more critical.
“We will shift back investment into content creation and the cost of content distribution will decrease”
“The ways we consume content will dictate the rules. Broadband and mobile on demand have reshaped how we consume content, allowing us to target with higher accuracy and ROI. We will develop dynamic digital content, for traditional and social media, broadband and mobile. We will shift back investment into content creation and the cost of content distribution will decrease as our brands earn consumers’ willingness to share our brand content.
“We will ensure our marketing investments are effective, efficient, and sufficient to drive engagement, trial, and brand equity with a strong focus on consumers ‘share of mind’ and real-time ROI measurement. Throughout this process, one thing will remain: strong consumer insights will continue to lead to the biggest ideas.”