Kate Brady, of PepsiCo, on building strong connections with consumers via next gen innovations

I caught up with Kate Brady, PepsiCo’s Global Head of Next Gen DTC Connections & Innovation, to discuss what Pepsi is doing in terms of using next gen technologies and data to strengthen relationships with consumers and grow consumer LTV.

I wanted to learn about what Kate’s new role entails and how she sees the challenges of marketing in today’s fragmented, multi-screen digital marketing environment. “My specific remit is driving connections and innovations,” explains Kate. “So we are looking to grow consumer lifetime value by identifying, developing, and scaling new solutions that will enhance and enable two-way conversations, or connections, across all of our consumer touchpoints, and that’s what we’re really trying to do: stop being as much of a broadcast medium and really building relationships with our consumers.”

Kate was recently on a panel at Advertising Week entitled “Go Big With GenZ and TV Streaming and I wanted to query her about the panel’s content and summarize what people should take away from it. “I would say the” Cliffs’ Notes or TLDR version of the panel was all about understanding converged TV strategy for media and measurement and creative and how that’s evolving, especially against the GenZ audiences. And from PepsiCo’s perspective, we strive to be consumer-centric and lead with a consumer-first approach. And the media landscape is more fragmented than ever and people of varied levels of engagement and experiences with these channels based on their journey. And to enable that we’ve been extremely focused on building out our own data and leveraging that data to power optimal performance that can drive more personalized experiences, and it can also tie back to another massive priority of ours, which is driving creative excellence.”
Regarding GenZ, Kate and I agree that it’s incorrect to say that that generation has no appetite for, or interest in advertising. “I don’t know many, if any GenZs that don’t have their phone in their hand while they’re watching. So the fact that they can have this engagement on multiple devices while they’re watching their bigger screen, it makes it more difficult to break through, but it often opens up a lot more opportunity, and we know it’s not impossible to break through.”

Kate and I discuss how marketers can take advantage of audience segmentation features provided by CTV and how they might go about achieving personalization at scale. We also talk about some recent breakthroughs that have her excited, particularly with regard to dynamic product placement. “I’ve been allowed to explore a lot of new territories, and a few things I’ve loved that we’ve seen work have been things like video product placement, and, even more enhanced in that space, doing it dynamically. So the idea that you and I could be watching the same piece of content, and we can incorporate different products based on that, whether it’s a physical product, or a video placement, or a static billboard, we now can dynamically serve different people different brand inclusions based on their preference. So maybe we’re both watching Modern Family, and I see a bag of Salt & Vinegar Lays on the counter of the scene, because whoever is targeting me knows that’s my favorite product. But you might see a bottle of Pure Leaf Iced Tea on your counter in the scene, because we know that’s what’s going to best resonate with you. Again, it’s that personalized message in a dynamic fashion that’s leveraging the data signals that we have. And we can do that now, which is really awesome, and sometimes a bit creepy to think about, but I think it’s really cool at the same time to think about how we don’t have to plan eighteen months in advance to deliver product in there that’s fully baked into a scene… I love the fact that we can make those changes on the fly, we can leverage the data signals that we have to be most proscriptive and most personal.”

Our conversation turned to how marketers can digitally activate consumers, how consumer behavior has changed with respect to how brands should behave towards them, how PepsiCo’s new CDP will accelerate its cross-channel efforts, and what Kate sees ahead on the adtech innovation front for 2023 and beyond.