Post by Tom Kirkham, International Account Director, Kite Hill PR
New York is unseasonably hot this week (the perfect time for a Pepsi!) so the conversation between PR Week’s Frank Washkuch and Angela Tucciarone, senior manager at PepsiCo Brand Communications, was perhaps more of a pool-side chat than a fireside exchange.
Since joining PepsiCo in 2010, Tucciarone - who manages PR for the Pepsi brand as well as its growing range of craft soda brands - has had her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in communications, tech and social media.
She explained that she’s adopted an increasingly hybrid role over the past few years. “I do think traditional PR is still the bread and butter of everything. For example, when I talk to my parents, they remember New York Times articles. But now, when I talk to my cousin in college, they’re more likely to recall what they’ve seen on Snapchat.”
She added: “The media category has grown - it’s gone from traditional journalists to online, bloggers, and now influencers. We work with influencers every day, across sports, music and pop culture. People are learning about Pepsi through these influencers.”
Tucciarone outlined the success Pepsi achieved with its emoji campaign over the summer, noting how the influencer-centric approach, “Allowed us to get the message out in a way a traditional press release may not have done.”
She highlighted the challenge brands face in trying to back the winning horse when it comes to emerging technologies. “Any time you work with something that’s trending - e.g. Pokemon Go - there’s always the question of where it will go next and whether it will last. But in the case of emojis, even my parents reading the NYT are now using emojis in their texts.”
When asked by Washkuch about measuring this non-traditional activity, Tucciarone put forward a really interesting perspective, explaining that, “The world of PR measurement has changed. The way we interact with media is not only stories and headlines - we’re watching our media open our product on Snapchat, YouTubing their first sip. It’s a lot more than just headlines, but sentiment and overall time spent with our product.”
Finally, Tucciarone was asked the unavoidable question about marketing to millennials - one of the most frequently debated issues in the industry today. Her answer summed up why PepsiCo is doing so well tapping into the millennial marketplace: “Events as marketing is a big thing for us. Millennials like to be the first to experience things and to share those experiences with their friends. It’s great to talk about the product, but if you can give them an event and immerse them in the product, you can create mega-fans and achieve something far greater.”