The Secret To The Success Of Frito-Lay

By Kristi Eckert | 2 hours ago


Subsequent to the onset of the pandemic businesses and brands seemed to either suffer or thrive. Now that the world is slowly emerging from the years-long pandemic-laden malaise, the thriving businesses and brands are distinguishing themselves as malleable, reliable, and steadfast. Pepsi Co-owned Frito-Lay is one such brand. The company is currently basking in the intoxicating rays of success, and the snack giant’s top marketing executive revealed exactly what it took to make it happen. 

Frito-Lay SVP and CMO Rachel Ferdinando disclosed that the reasons why the brand has been able to attain and retail such consistent success during a period of economic contention came down to two basic principles – listening and communicating. In 2020, Frito-Lay did a really smart thing. They made the majority of their marketing tools in-house. This means that instead of having to rely on a third party to get customer data they could access it immediately at any time. This allowed marketing to work directly alongside Frito-Lay’s in-house ad agency. It also opened up a direct line of communication to those with the power to make all the final decisions – upper management. Simplifying those lines of communication allowed decisions to be made quicker and allowed for more uniformity when teams collaborated. This made all of the teams’ collective marketing and advertising efforts more cohesive and effective. 

Second, by developing all of its market tools for in-house use, Frito-Lay was able to better listen to its customers. These proprietary tools allowed the company to garner unique insights. They then used those insights to develop rhetorical strategies intended to appeal to customer desires. For instance, Ferdinando detailed that at the start of the pandemic people were looking to trusted brands for some sort of security at a time when everything seemed so uncertain. Frito-Lay realized that really quickly and capitalized on it with its marketing immediately. Ferdinando highlighted that they were able to recognize and tap into that customer sentiment so expeditiously because they had all the tools they needed at their fingertips. 

Additionally, the in-house marketing tools and direct line of communication with upper management allowed Frito-Lay to pivot their strategies on a dime when they needed to in order to maintain the level of success that they had garnered. Fernando offered the example of how the customers’ need for security transitioned to creativity. Frito-Lay recognized this right away and as a result released new flavors like tzatziki and Thai basil chili. 

Looking ahead, Ferdinando asserted that she has the utmost confidence in Frito-Lay and its ability to be continually successful. She put particular emphasis on the importance of capitalizing on the most prominent aspects of culture and seeing the ways in which Frito-Lay’s products can be integrated into that. “It really comes down to, when we have a big cultural moment, how do we make it more immersive,” iterated Ferdinando. She also teased that with the 2022 World Cup fast approaching customers should keep their eyes peeled to see just what Frito-Lay has up its sleeve next.