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Creating Transformational Change: A Panel With PepsiCo and Clorox

In this session, we are joined by Clorox and PepsiCo to discuss how the role of a researcher is to create transformational change


During this session at The Quirk’s Virtual Global Event quantilope’s Head of Client Development, Katelyn Ferrara, was joined by Casey Berns, Associate Director, Shopper Insights at The Clorox Company and Acky Dinnepati, Director of Global Insights at PepsiCo to discuss how they’re leveraging technology to redefine the role that insights managers play within their organizations to focus on the creative, not the repetitive side of research, and to use more advanced methods without breaking the bank.


Changing Research Priorities:

During the past year, demands for insights and the speed at which they are delivered have increased tremendously. Many organizations like PepsiCo and Clorox have shifted their research priorities as they pivoted to become more nimble and efficient.


Casey pointed out the two things that him and the Clorox team have garnered a heavy focus on:


  1. Clearly defining business objectives and the outcomes they want to influence both internally and externally.
  2. Getting creative with their research approaches, as the traditional way of doing survey work or looking at panel data alone isn’t sufficient anymore.


Understanding the consumer and bringing the consumer to the forefront of business decisions is one of the key opportunities insights professionals have in really driving impact across the business. In order to do so, like Clorox, The PepsiCo team, looked to leverage different technologies and more advanced research methods to aid in an increased demand for real-time insights. Acky from PepsiCo remarked on the role quantilope has played in this:


“Working with the quantilope team especially has been a huge help in terms of getting a lot of early reads and quick responses from consumers, which I think is super pivotal in how we think about different [shifts we’re] making in the business.” - Acky Dinnepati, PepsiCo


The Evolving Researcher Role:

A couple of years ago the CEO of PepsiCo implemented a set of behaviors, with “being consumer-centric” as the number one. This became a catalyst for the elevated importance of consumer-centricity across the entire organization, which was increased even further with the uncertainties presented this past year. 


Both PepsiCo and Clorox agree that researchers now have to juggle the various directions that they are pulled into due to the greater demand for these consumer insights. Insights leaders are using agile technology, like quantilope, in their research practices more than ever before to keep up with the fast-paced changes in shopper behavior. 


The Effects of Technology: 

Technology has allowed insights leaders like Casey and Acky to change the way they conduct consumer research within their teams, as features like speed have an increasingly high value. Technology has also allowed them to bring a more sophisticated approach to research challenges by allowing them to run more advanced studies like Conjoints and TURFs. Casey from Clorox remarked that it has given them a much stronger leg to stand on both internally and externally:


“If I go to the business unit and say, hey, I need a five dollar price point on this and we have to tier it... it’s going to be a hard sell internally. But, if I go to [a business unit] with a conjoint that’s very clearly defining what’s the most important to direct the purchase for this brand with price playing a role and the methodology to help tell that story - I’ll have a much better chance of getting [a strategy] activated.” -  Casey Berns, Clorox



The Future of the Insights Function:

As there is a greater opportunity through technology to add timely and relevant feedback, there is the question of where the insights function might shift to in driving business value and transformational change for an organization.


Both PepsiCo and Clorox agree that insights are going to continue to evolve and further fuel business decisions. As organizations drive towards creating consumer-centricity the insights function will become indispensable across all departments within the business. These teams feel that business will grow, and better decisions and investments will be made if insights are used to be more proactive instead of reactive. 


Advice for Other Researchers:

Both PepsiCo and Clorox emphasize the importance of clearly defining your research objectives as well as the inner-workings of your organization. Casey from Clorox also advised that researchers should not be afraid to get their hands dirty,


“If you would have told me two years ago that I would be actually fielding, launching, and doing my own TURF and Conjoint analyses I would’ve said you were absolutely insane. But now I’m doing them, I’m comfortable with them, and I’m seeing the impact of that sophisticated methodology that I can bring into my world in the shopper space” - Casey Berns, Clorox



In Summary:

Insights leaders are moving from the passenger’s seat (buying and handing over insights) to the driver’s seat (generating and interpreting insights on their own, faster than ever before) and in many ways technology is helping them get there. As a result, insights managers are experiencing more influence and impact on the direction of their company and are solving more unique, more challenging business questions.


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