The Speed of Culture Podcast: Redefining Consumer Engagement and Brand-Building

Todd Kaplan, chief marketing officer of Pepsi at PepsiCo, on how context matters now more than ever

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Todd Kaplan, chief marketing officer of Pepsi at PepsiCo, joins Suzy Founder and CEO Matt Britton on the latest episode of The Speed of Culture podcast in collaboration with Adweek. Together, they discuss the growth of AI and Web3, the evolution of content creation and how context matters now more than ever.

Todd became an assistant marketing manager at PepsiCo in 2006 and has since moved up in the company. Thanks to his disruptive approach to revitalizing the brand, Todd was named one of Business Insider’s Top 25 Most Innovative CMOs in the World. 

Since 2018, Todd has propelled Pepsi back into the cultural conversation by rejuvenating the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show platform with historic performances from Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, Dr. Dre, Eminem and others, as well as introducing groundbreaking new products such as Nitro Pepsi.

Key Takeaways:

  • 04:56 – 07:17—The Rise of Digital Marketing – When Todd began his career in marketing, TV commercials and nationwide campaigns were the primary focus. However, as time passed, the marketing landscape evolved, placing more emphasis on digital channels for consumer interaction, engagement and brand development.
  • 07:17 – 09:43—Consumer-Centric Content Marketing – In the world of content, you have to start with the consumer’s needs and work your way backward. Pepsi focuses on understanding the consumer in all their campaigns, including TV shows, full-length documentaries and reality shows. However, as the consumers’ needs change quickly, Todd believes brands should develop a relevant message that will encourage the consumer to come to them.
  • 15:54 – 17:10—The Macroeconomic Context – Businesses should always consider the macroeconomic environment as a variable that impacts every industry. In the past, brands could reach most people through TV, radio or an ad on a billboard. Today, context is critically important for every message, especially when trying to reach people through their phones.
  • 17:19 – 19:21 – The Moment of Choice—In terms of retail media, Pepsi focuses on leveraging the “moment of choice,” the critical moment when a consumer is in the store and decides which product to purchase. The ultimate goal is to entice the consumer into the store and have the right marketing tactics to secure the sale. This includes having the perfect point-of-sale display, pricing and promotional offers to attract the consumer’s attention and encourage them to make a purchase.