NEW DELHI: Direct consumer engagement works better than advertising, which should be limited to conveying a "brand philosophy", according to a top PepsiCo India executive.

"Today, it's all about experience," Vipul Prakash, VP/Beverages at PepsiCo India, told Mint. "While traditional advertising is needed for brand building, what makes more sense is to engage directly with real consumers on ground – start with the consumers, start from the shelves."

To that end, PepsiCo intends to make greater use of product packaging over the next few years – the most recent example being a campaign for Mountain Dew.

The launch of a new variant – Mountain Dew Game Fuel – has centred on a nine-week long gaming championship, with the winners having their pictures printed on bottles.

"Advertising and other marketing campaigns are more for master brands to convey the brand philosophy," Prakash said.

The shift in emphasis, which can be seen across many brands and categories, is in part a response to the rise of digital marketing.

Prashant Peres, Director/Chocolates at Mondelez India, observed at the recent IAMAI Marketing Conclave that "consumer engagement, which was an add-on a few years ago, has become the centre of marketing today".

Much of this activity has focused on the use of data to increase opportunities for personalisation and an Econsultancy event in Mumbai highlighted three best practices in this regard: segmentation using demographic data, segmentation using behavioural data and segmentation based on customer values.

The last of these has the potential to be the most effective although it is also the most difficult to design, requiring the use of multiple data sources and the identification of certain customer types around which marketing can subsequently be designed.

Data sourced from Mint; additional content by Warc staff