January 2011 Archives
This interview with me was originally published on Forbes.com in their Brand Innovator Spotlight series.
Brandon Gutman: You formerly headed up Publicis Groupe-owned Vivaki's social media practice, as well as served as Razorfish's VP and global social media lead. So, the industry was impressed when PepsiCo hired you. What changes have you made thus far?
Shiv Singh: I've been focusing on a few key areas over the last six months, namely:
*Developing a new digital media planning and buying process tied to new evaluation criteria. This criteria gives more attention to digital media partners that put as much attention on digital engagement as they do on selling us impressions. We've put in place a digital scorecard system for all the brands and we're transforming our huge customer relationship management program. Key to this is figuring out how CRM and social media should work together.
*Setting up the right internal and external team. This includes prototyping a new agency roster model that gives the best agencies more opportunities to partner with us. This model gives every agency the opportunity to bring ideas and recommendations to the table that are platform agnostic. Internally, we've restructured my team and are partnering with agencies in a way that creates more win-win scenarios.
*Pushing a digital innovation agenda led by unique tests with FourSquare, Facebook and some publishers on the iPad platform. The FourSquare test was a first of its kind loyalty program with Vons Grocery Co. and I'm proud of the work that the team did on it.
*Scaling up our social media efforts and integrating celebrity talent into what we do across digital in more organic, scalable ways. A good example is how in barely five months we've launched Pepsi Max on Facebook and overtaken its competitor in "Like" counts.
What are your plans for 2011?
First is to create digital campaigns that meet each brand's unique objectives. At the end of the day we are in this business to sell products, build brand health and foster long-term brand equity. My team works in partnership with our brand teams to plan through the lens of whom the brands are and what they're trying to accomplish from a business perspective.
Second, my goal is to further push a digital innovation agenda through greater linkages between owned, paid and social media, while also scaling up our mobile marketing efforts. In this world, social media is at the heart of everything that we do digitally. We have conducted some fascinating tests and will be doing much more on scale in 2011.
Third is to create more systems and processes to allow us to go to market more quickly and in a more responsive, culturally relevant and results-oriented manner, leveraging key moments in time. This means improving digital scorecards, hiring more people, measuring results more effectively and reorienting the organization more around building deep engagement with consumers versus just impressions.
And finally, I believe transforming the beverage organization through education is extremely important. In November we ran a Mobile Summit where we invited Dennis Crowley of FourSquare and other thought leaders to come and speak to us. We'll have more internal summits like this so that not just the digital team but many more people in the organization are at the forefront of everything digital.
What is your digital process? How are you breeding it within such a large organization?
We have three digital processes and not just one. What drives the three is really the time to market. To make the process work effectively requires over-communication, proving the value in the process, being nimble to changes and having a distinct point of view rooted in deep digital know-how. The best way to get team members to buy into the process is to showcase how it helps their brands achieve their business objectives more effectively and efficiently.
You came from VivaKi and previously Razorfish. What are the advantages for a brand when hiring from an agency?
The biggest advantage is that the brand gets somebody who's deeply connected to the industry, has a diverse perspective from having worked across industries and with companies of all shapes and sizes, as well as an individual who is comfortable rolling up his/her sleeves every step of the way. I'm used to being extremely close to the industry, as well as to consumers, and I bring that mindset to PepsiCo. The other benefit in hiring from the agency is that you get someone who knows how to push agencies to bring their best to the table. My team works with twelve different agencies at once and knowing their businesses helps me push them to be better partners and deliver their best work.
Some brands are still just getting into digital. What is your advice on doing this responsibly and sustainably?
The most important advice I have would be to scale up your digital team. We're in a world that's increasingly gone digital and the sooner you have the talent, the right team structure and the vision, the better off you will be. Secondly, it is important to always remember that digital is unique in that it is a two-way medium. Don't try to slot it into the world of TV, print or radio. Treat it is as the unique beast that it is and think in terms of developing strong, global campaigns that are digital at their core. Thirdly, I'd say that you shouldn't oversell digital. It is certainly the flavor of the month but that doesn't mean it is the answer for every single marketing program. You'll lose credibility if you ram it down people's throat and it doesn't give you the results it should.
For brands that are heavily active in digital, how do you that recommend they scale their activities?
I know this sounds boring but most important is to put in place the right team, the right processes and the right measurement frameworks to manage success. Other than that, I'd say bring the three facets of digital--paid, owned and social--under one roof. That's extremely important. I'm lucky in that PepsiCo recognized the importance of having all facets of digital in one place and created the role in which they hired me into. I believe the only way to drive maximum value is to look at digital holistically.