Digital boosts PepsiCo

01 February 2012

NEW YORK: PepsiCo, the food and beverage giant, is successfully utilising digital media to drive the sales of rapidly-growing brands like Brisk, Diet Mountain Dew and Starbucks ready-to-drink coffee.

The firm announced that these three brands have recently achieved $1bn in sales per year, taking its total number of assets providing at least this amount in annual revenues to 22 overall.

Bonin Bough, PepsiCo's global head of digital, told Forbes that leveraging new media had been vital to this process. "These brands flexed their 'digital muscles' and incorporated digital into every aspect of their business," he said.

Mountain Dew's "Dewmocracy" asking consumers to vote on a new flavour extension, and the equivalent FanDewMonium for the diet version, have worked alongside the branded DewLabs online community to engage shoppers on the web.

Elsewhere, Brisk was the first brand to partner with Instagram, the photo-sharing platform, as well as allying with Tongal, the collaborative film-making site, and Stickybits, the barcode scanning app.

Starbucks and Pepsi have also used their mutual and combined expertise to promote products like bottled Frappuccinos and Doubleshot espresso drinks across a range of similar channels.

"The battle to win the hearts and minds of consumers has never been more intense," Bough said. "Because of how deeply social and digital media have permeated consumer culture, brands are putting more and more of their energy into digital, aiming to take their brands to the next level."

He pointed to Procter & Gamble's stated aim of transferring its focus to new media and General Electric's use of open innovation and investment in emerging technology as further examples of this.

"For companies like P&G, GE and PepsiCo, who employ hundreds of thousands of people, finding that niche to drive consumer engagement will be the answer," he said.

More broadly, Bough cited research by the Jim Stengel Company, the consultancy, and Millward Brown, the insights provider, showing that brands able to connect with shoppers in a meaningful fashion tend to build long term sustainable growth.

Bough said: "Using technology as a vehicle to not only communicate with our consumers, but become directly tethered to their everyday lives in ways that make them smarter, stronger, healthier and more informed citizens is paramount to PepsiCo."

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff