December 31, 2007

More on Collaboration... this one helping a computer giant on product development

I couldn't end the year without commenting on yet another great initiative on collaboration: Dell's IdeaStorm. A fantastic online platform that allows users to share ideas and collaborate and ultimately tell Dell® what new products or services they would like to see developed. Launched 10 months ago, more than 8,000 ideas have been submitted.

When is Zagat™ coming to São Paulo?

When my wife and I lived in New York, it was a ritual to check out Zagat™ before going out to a restaurant. Zagat™ is a wonderful example of how the power of collective wisdom is better than any individual critic, since the restaurant reviews are based on the opinions of thousands of people like you and I that submit their personal experiences. After, a year living in São Paulo, a true gourmet paradise, I see a huge opportunity for a guide like Zagat™. The 'paulistas' are very proud on how cosmopolitan the restaurant scene is here from the most-authentic churrascarias to die-for sushi bars to the local botecos (Brazilian-type bars for draft beer and 'caipirinhas'). Leveraging on this insight, local beer brand Bohemia® does a a great job promoting an annual competition for people to vote for their favorite 'botecos' e terms of food and service. People here love to talk about and recommend a new hot spot or a hole-in-a-wall with the best 'pão de queijo', which makes me believe the guide would certainly have a following.

December 28, 2007

Practical Observation..... and a Website That Brings It Alive

A few months back, on this blog, we mentioned the cool site as a great example of the power of collaboration. I was positively surprised to see that the site has an entirely new design and there are many more postings from people all over the world contributing to ideas on how to improve the design and functionality of everyday products. Every once in a while, we all get frustrated with poor product design. Well, here's your chance to contribute with your innovation ideas. Coincidentally, I started reading this fantastic book called 'The Ten Faces of Innovation' by IDEO's Tom Kelly and one of the things he talks about, in the beginning of the book, is how business people should develop the discipline of looking at things with a fresh eye focusing on what works and what doesn't. He calls it practical observation and goes on to explain how good observations can lead to innovative solutions. These observations may seem simple in retrospect but they are in fact the result of intellectual curiosity at its best and the continuous exercise of seeing what others may take for granted. RedesignMe is a great place to see the fruits of practical observation.

I promise to cover more on the book in the following days, meanwhile, check out RedesignMe. I'm sure you'll be tempted to suggest some ideas to solve poor design that you find in your personal observations....

December 25, 2007

Why Don't Destinations Position Themselves More Like Consumer Brands Do?

This weekend I saw an ad promoting the city of Orlando in a travel magazine in which the campaign theme was "Orlando. Built for Families. Made for Memories." It caught my attention because that's exactly how I feel about Orlando. A positioning that made an emotional connection. I immediately thought that destinations don't do enough to position themselves more like consumer brands do. In the same magazine, there was an ad from the Louisiana Department of Tourism with the theme "Come Fall in Love with Louisiana All Over Again." After what happened to New Orleans, the campaign seems absolutely perfect. I was also positively surprised to see that the classic 'I♥NY' campaign first launched in 1977 has made a comeback and its the campaign theme for The State of New York Tourism Bureau.

My immediate reaction was to google (don't you just love the verb...) some of Brazil's top destinations like Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçú, the Amazon Forest or Pantanal. All great world-class destinations, but not surprisingly, not all are doing a good job positioning themselves to connect with the hearts and minds of the global traveller. On the other hand, a good example is Bahia ( with their new campaign 'Terra da Felicidade/Land of Happiness'. The website is easy in terms of navigation with useful travel information.

The Brazilian Government has a good website but it seems to be targeting only local tourists since it was in Portuguese and when I clicked on other languages, nothing happened. I found an English version that is definitely not as interesting as the first site.

December 23, 2007

More on Experiential Marketing... with a Touch of Provence

I was thinking about a memorable Christmas gift idea for someone special who has helped our Family this year in our relocation back to Brazil. My wife, who is always well-informed about what's cool, suggested a day spa gift certificate from L'Occitane®. Coincidently, this week I had read an interesting interview in Gazeta Mercantil with Silvia Gambin, L'Occitane's General Manager in Brazil. The article explains how the French cosmetic giant has just developed a suncreen line called 'Sol do Brasil' using ingredients from Brazil's rich biodiversity, ingredients like 'buriti', cupuaçu' and Brazil nut. According to the article, this new line of products is scheduled to be launched in January in 87 countries and is the first time that L'Occitane® uses typically Brazilian ingredients.

As a true believer in the power of experiential marketing, I enjoyed the in-store experience of choosing the day spa options in a beautifully-printed menu. The gift certificate was wonderfully wrapped and the service was courteous, friendly and down-to-earth... different than the sometimes intimidating feeling you get in these types of stores.

As much as I love the aura, positioning and sustainability model behind Natura® (Brazil's direct sales beauty and wellness giant) there's something unique about a great store environment and the possibility for a customer to live the essence of the brand in a more holistic way like in a spa experience. Now, I'm hoping that someday I'll get a L'Occitane® day spa gift certificate myself to confirm the positive experience I had today.

December 19, 2007

Heading Towards a Model of Collaborative Innovation

Knowing how much I like the idea of a model of collaborative innovation, a friend sent me an article from 'The McKinsey Quartlerly' entitled Innovative Management: A Conversation with Gary Hamel and Lowell Bryan' written by Joanna Barsh. There was one particular sentence from Gary Hamel that pretty well summarizes the beginning of a new era in the innovation process where consumers will have a more active role:

"The combination of technology and talent is a powerful catalyst for value creation, but to take advantage of the Web's capacity to help us aggregate and amplify human potential in new ways, we must first of all abandon some of our traditional management beliefs - the notion, for example, that strategy should be set at the top."

I believe we're heading towards a model of collaborative innovation, the question is how are we, as marketers, going to take full advantage of this new era?

December 16, 2007

Understanding How Barriers Can Become Opportunities For Innovation

One of the most significant learnings I've had in the innovation process is the importance of identifying barriers of consumption.

Why are certain people not interested in a given category or brand?
What are the barriers that lead them to become non-consumers?
How can we convert those insights in a product concept or service that can expand the business footprint to bring in these non-consumers?

This past Friday, during a business lunch we were discussing how marketers are obsessed with learning everything about their consumer base but don't use the same discipline to learn from non-consumers. To state my point I went on to talk about a personal experience I had last year at an Apple Store in Connecticut. My wife wanted to buy a MacBook
®. Once in the store the salesperson noticed that, while my wife was excited, I seemed resistant. When the salesperson asked me what bothered me I said that I felt discouraged to buy a Mac because I had many personal files in my old PC. The simple thought of converting everything to a new computer seemed like a terrible hassle, especially with an operating system I wasn't familiar with. Understanding the barrier, he told me to go home and bring my PC and that the store would convert all my old files to the Mac. I could pick up my fully-loaded Mac the following day. That's exactly what I did and our Family is extremely happy with our MacBook®.

It seems simple, but why don't other computer stores do the same? Apple not only makes great products but they're willing to go the extra mile to remove barriers from consumers who spent years in the PC comfort zone, like myself.

The lesson here can apply to any business. How can we remove the barriers that some people have in relation to our products or services and use those insights in our innovation process?

December 15, 2007

Creative Sampling Idea

Our agency AlmapBBDO came up with a creative way for us to sample Sensações® chips in the streets of São Paulo. Teaming up with the newspapers Metro and Destak - free daily publications that are handed out to people on their way to work - the ad placed on the cover of the paper invites readers to help us promote the brand. When the paper is folded it looks like people are actually holding a bag of chips. Beyond the joke, a real bag of chips was handed out with each newspaper.

December 12, 2007

A Simple Idea on Customization

Customization has always been around but the trend has taken a whole new dimension with the Internet. So far, there are many examples of customization for services and high-ticket items, from laptops to refigerators to automobiles (BMW's Mini Cooper® is a great example). It's harder to find examples of companies that offer consumers the opportunity to customize everyday consumer products. I found an interesting case from Germany. A company called® is... well, doing just that... allowing consumers to mix up to 75 different ingredients to make their very own muesli. Mix, order and get your custom-made muesli box at home. A very simple idea that only makes me believe that there's a lot of potential for innovative concepts around customization.

December 6, 2007

A Lesson in Experiential Marketing

Just got back from an ideation session that our company held in Miami Beach. Part of our exercise was to walk on Lincoln Road to identify consumer trends that could potentially influence our innovation agenda. It was a great opportunity to visit a new Starbucks® concept that I had read about that had opened last year on Lincoln Road called Hear Music™ - a very innovative coffeehouse that also provides customers with a fun, self-service way to discover and customize music on CDs. There are different music stations divided by genres (rock, latin, hip-hop...). The look and feel of the place is amazing. I find it fascinating how Starbucks® is continuously finding new ways to enhance the customer experience. A true lesson in experiential marketing.

November 29, 2007

One More Step in our Portfolio Transformation: Sensações® Ao Forno

Here at PepsiCo do Brasil Snacks we started off 2007 with a plan to execute a major portfolio transformation. From creating healthier snacking options, adding more Brazilian food values, expanding our demographic footprint... and hopefully break some packaging rules along the way.

This week we're adding another chapter to our journey with the launch of Brazil's first baked potato chip: Sensações® Ao Forno. This launch, which will be test-marketed in Rio, meets a growing consumer trend. Brazilian adults are looking for convenient ways to help them improve their eating habits through healhtier more natural products, as well as, reducing consumption of sugar, sodium and fried. However, consumers are becoming more demanding... they want healthier options but are not willing to sacrifice on value, convenience and great taste. In the world of snacks, baked has a higher perception but so far options in the market have not delivered great taste. Until now. After over a year of hard work, our R&D Team, led by Ramiro Cordova in Mexico City and Sergio Julio in São Paulo, did an amazing job developing a potato chip that delivers high consumer scores on taste, crunchiness, texture, color and overall product experience. Seems simple, but believe me, for those who manage a product innovation process know that it's not always an easy task.

Sensações® Ao Forno comes in two great flavors: cheese & herbs and roast beef. The product also comes in a stand-up pouch versus the pillow bag found in traditional salty snacks.

Booz Allen Hamilton's "Web 2.0 – The Consumer In Control"

A few days ago I read a very interesting report on a recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton on the impact of Web 2.0 initiatives on the world of business. The study, called “Web 2.0 – The Consumer In Control” was the result of interviews with 4,600 consumers in the U.S., Germany, UK, Middle East and Brazil. The results confirm that consumers are relying more than ever on online communities and blogs to gather product information, make recommendations, compare prices, complain about service... information that is impacting purchasing behavior. As I’ve posted before, this is a subject that I’m very passionate about since I believe consumer collaboration is becoming a powerful new marketing approach that will transform the way we manage brands and businesses.

November 23, 2007

Time® Magazine - Best Inventions of the Year

Take a look at this year's Time® Magazine's special eidition 'Best Inventions of the year'... full of cool inspirational product concepts.

November 20, 2007

Innovating on the Ruffles® Brand

For the past 30 years Ruffles® in Brazil stood for 'a batata da onda' (the ridged potato chip). In time for the summer season, we're shaking things up on the snack brand Brazilian teens love. Two cool product innovations will be hitting the shelves this week. The first, is called Ruffles® Palito - a french-fries-style snack that brings the fast-food experience in a convenient format.
The second, is called Ruffles® Toast - the market's first potato & wheat-based cracker with the famous ridges so dear to the brand. Extending a brand into a new category is not easy. However, he feel confident we have a right to succeed. First, consumer studies show that Ruffles® is a brand with a good emotional connection with local teens. Teen consumers told us they would like to experience their brand in other ways. In fact, this particular concept had the highest scores in terms of overall liking and purchase intention. Beacause the Ruffles® brand is so intrinsically associated to potato chips, we knew we needed to differentiate the product from traditional potato chips. We also want Ruffles® Toast to be dispalyed in the cracker aisle so it's being offered in a carton box instead of a pillow bag. We were also careful to develop flavor profiles with a teen angle: cheese and 'pão-na-chapa' (a Brazilian classic... bread-on-the-grill a common morning choice consumed in bakeries).

Both innovations were led by Carla Araujo, our Marketing Mgr. Teen Snacking, Alexandre Chiavegatti and Victoria Gabrielli... three young marketing talents we'll be hearing more about in the future.

Send an e-mail with your thoughts after you try it. Would love to hear your comments.

November 8, 2007

IBM Breakfast with Nicholas Donofrio

I was invited to a breakfast last week by IBM Brazil with guest speaker Nicholas Donofrio - IBM's EVP Innovation & Technology. I had already been to the IBM Forum Brazil a few months ago and it's fascinating to see how Big Blue is positioning themselves so well as an innovation partner. Mr. Donofrio is a gifted speaker with thought-provoking ideas and examples on how IBM has helped companies look for disruptive innovation as a way to transform business and accelerate growth. Another Cool Collaboration Tool

Another great collaboration idea: I'm fascinated by the potential of collective thinking and the power it can have on the way companies operate in the future. Our insights manager, Fabio Paiva, told me about this very cool site called that intends to "...improve the products around us by collectively rethinking bad products into better products and good ideas into great ideas". It's still in beta testing but you can already see some interesting redesign suggestions. I hope the idea blossoms.

October 27, 2007

A Seagull in Scotland Helps Prove the Power of Viral

For those who haven't seen it on YouTube or received it virally... a seagull in Scotland has developed the habit of stealing a bag a chips from a neighborhood convenience store. The seagull waits until the shopkeeper isn't looking, and then walks into the store and grabs a bag of Doritos® - Nacho Cheese. Once outside, the bag gets ripped open and shared by other birds. My team at PepsiCo Brazil immediately saw an opportunity to use this fun incident for a viral campaign and commissioned Edelman to spread the word. I was thrilled to see how much buzz it generated on blogs and websites throughout the country.

October 23, 2007

Innocentive® - First Open Innovation Marketplace

One of the most exciting online business ideas out there today is called Innocentive®... the World's first open innovation marketplace. A wonderful website that connects companies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations, all seeking breakthrough innovation. Every company has a list of research and development challenges that they are struggling to resolve and somewhere in the world there might be a creative mind that has a solution. What a fantastic concept!

October 19, 2007

Sabores da Terra®... Finally a Snack with the Authentic Taste of Brazilian Roots

One of the innovations that we're launching this year that I'm most proud of is Elma Chips Sabores da Terra® . For those who haven't seen it in the market yet, Sabores da Terra® is a line of snacks made from natural authentic Brazilian roots: mandioca (yucca) and inhame (taro). These roots are an integral part of Brazilian food culture. People around the country serve yucca and taro as an appetizer or as a side dish. The problem is that preparation is very time consuming. For the first time ever, Brazilian consumers can experience these popular roots in a convenient snack format.

We consider Sabores da Terra® to be a Blue Ocean-type innovation. For over thirty years we have been selling potato chips (an American classic) and for the past 12 years corn tortillas (a Tex-Mex classic) and we simply overlooked typically Brazilian roots as a way to increase the emotional connection to the Brazilian snacker. The macrosnack market in this country is overcrowded with extruded snacks, peanuts, popcorn, crackers, potato chips and tortillas. There was a clear untapped opportunity to bring some Brazilian DNA to the snacking experience. Adding to that, our research was showing that, more than ever, consumers value convenient foods and snacks with natural properties: unadulterated flavors, irregular formats, imperfections and low processing... that's what Sabores da Terra® delivers... the authentic taste of Brazilian roots. We were careful to label the packaging considering Brazil's regional differences. 'Mandioca' is the most common word in Portuguese for yucca, but we also used the word 'aipim' (used in Rio) and 'macaxeira' (the term used in the Northeast).

This innovation was led by an amazing professional, our Marketing Mgr. Adults Snacking Renata Figueiredo, a talent with a tremendous amount of passion and commitment, and her team Carol Oliveira, Carol Gormezano and Tiago Alencar.

AlmapBBDO did a wonderful job in creating a 30" TV campaign that captures the 'gostinho do campo' (the feeling you get when you're in the countryside). Film produced by Zeppelin Filmes.

Eating The Big Fish (by Adam Morgan)

Last summer I had the opportunity of listening to Adam Morgan speak about his concepts of challenger brands and lighthouse identity. He is an amazing thought-provoking presenter and his book "Eating The Big Fish - How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders" is a wonderful read, especially for those who manage businesses in hyper-competitive environments. I ended up buying additional copies to members of our marketing team. Highly recommended.

October 17, 2007

ANUGA 2007

I just got back from ANUGA 2007 - the world's largest food & beverage trade show which is held in Cologne, Germany every two years. I was blown away by the sheer size of the event (11 pavillions, more than 6600 exhibitors from 95 countries) and by the amazing amount of innovations that were showcased in categories ranging from bakery, frozen foods, meat, organic to beverages. For those who love innovation... Anuga is a must-see.

October 10, 2007

New TV Campaign for Sensações®

This week we're airing our the new campaign for Elma Chips Sensações® - a gourmet-style potato chip. Earlier this year, Sensações® was relaunched with new flavors and an entirely new packaging look created by Narita Deisgn Studio. This is one more effort we're taking to develop the snacking category expanding it to reach a broader demographic since salty snack consumption is heavily skewed towards kids and teens. Sales results and past 4-week consumption among adults have been extremely encouraging.

The campaign was created by AlmapBBDO and uses the insight that men do not always pay full attention to their wives, especially when they are engaged in something they crave for... in this case the great taste of Sensações®.

The H2OH! Case Study at the HSM Global Strategy & Marketing Forum - São Paulo

Last August, I was invited to speak at the HSM Global Marketing & Strategy Forum in São Paulo. The theme was H2OH!® by 7UP - "Putting the OH! Into The Boring World of Water" - a case study that I led while working on the PepsiCo International Marketing Team in Purchase, NY. The presentation shows how, through insights and disruptive strategic thinking, it was possible to develop an innovative product concept in the hyper-competitive world of beverages. H2OH!® is being marketed in several International markets like Malaysia, Vietnam, Portugal, Ireland, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and it has become a marketing phenomenon in Brazil.

I had the privilege of speaking right after marketing guru W. Chan Kim co-author (with Renee Maugborgne) of best-seller The Blue Ocean Strategy. Meeting Prof. Kim after the event was a very special moment for me since H2Oh!
® is an innovation that was inspired by Blue Ocean thinking.

Click here for coverage of the event.

It's interesting to see how people have become fascinated by the H2OH!® story. The case study and the presentation generated a lot of buzz within the business community. There were many follow-up invitations to retell the case at a number of different events. I was surprised to see an interest not only from consumer marketing companies but also from tech companies. I also had the opportunity to present the case at the IBM Forum Brasil.

Exame Magazine - Brazil's premier business publication - published a two-page article following the HSM Forum. Click here to read the article.  Now that I'm working on the snacks/food side of the business, it's great to see the wonderful work on H2OH!
® that the PepsiCo Brazil Beverage team is carrying out under the leadership of Gustavo Siemsen, Nora Mirazon and Ana Krainer.