Lahore School of Economics

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Marketing Matters

Mr. Omar Malik, General Manager Snacks, PepsiCo delivered a session to the MBA students of the Lahore School of Economics on Thursday, March 3, 2016. He focused on snacks, rather than on beverages, but highlighted important areas of marketing.

At the outset, he said he was proud of PepsiCo because his company did things “the right way”. As an example, he cited the case of a company official who had warned the company that they should be paying more custom duty on some item – the company had been paying less due to an inadvertent error which had not been corrected by the government. The company agreed to pay more duty and even awarded a pride of performance prize to the employee.

In addition to the above, the company emphasized diversity at all its levels and encouraged the employees to assume the role of leader, again at all levels.

The company was always on the look-out for more flavors but, he warned, one should not assume the company just threw in flavors – a lot of testing was done before new product introduction. It had taken two years of hard work to introduce dahi baray. The company had introduced locally relevant flavors (chaat street) but these flavors were continually withdrawn and then introduced again to keep them fresh.

Sometimes one had to change the recipe or mix of ingredients based on research. Also there was a snacking culture in India which was very different. Sometimes ads were made which were premature, hosting a lady of the house before even properly establishing the brand.

Research was also done on finding “demand spaces” or the “moment”. People were asked why and when they ate some product. Some would say they snacked during school break, some would say when with family, some would eat while relaxing and so on. So if they mentioned “social” the company could fill that space with a big bag.

At a technical level, he informed the MBA participants that brand health could be determined by measuring say awareness, trial, usage in the past four weeks, usage in the past seven days and most often usage. To measure brand liking and loyalty consumers could be asked “it tastes better than others” or “it is a brand setting trends” or “it is a brand I love”.

His tips to students were: Know your customer, make sure there was local relevance, products should be aspirational but affordable, and one had to be patient for results.

The session was very well received and students asked a large number of questions which Omer answered with customary patience and his extensive knowledge.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 3/21/2016 02:20:00 PM,

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