Q&A: Bonin Bough, head of social media, PepsiCo

We talk to PepsiCo's digital and social media director about the company's initiative to champion innovation and how to stay one step ahead of competitors using technology.

Bonin Bough

Companies have been told [they're shortlisted]. Then they get partnered with brand and start defining what the pilots are going to look like. Then there's a rigorous structure around measurement, roll out, briefing and so on.

For this to be super successful we have to create the best experience for the start-ups. The start-ups have to get a ton of value.

These are the people that are writing the future. We want to inspire them. We're also very inspired too.

We assign mentors inside the company to work with the companies that are separate from the people running the pilots. We're a big organisation and sometimes things get pushed back. As a startup you're super anxious to get this thing out of the door. Sometimes you require another person to say "don't worry it's going to be bigger this way."

The company gets a huge case study, they get a ton of mentorship and they also get access not just to us but the others too We tried to create a vast array of value for them.

Do you think it's important for companies like PepsiCo to be championing and supporting emerging technologies?

I think it's a huge competitive advantage for us to have a platform that allows us to see, to test it in small situations, to learn from the entrepreneurs.

These are the people that are writing the future. We want to inspire them. We're also very inspired too.

Facebook was a small thing at one time. Imagine if we had been there early? Imagine if we had forged a relationship with them to understand how to reign on that platform before anyone else had a chance?

We're going for 100 per cent success. If we're 10 per cent successful [among all the pilots], that's one of these technologies becoming a huge technology that changes consumer engagement. And we can say we were there from the beginning.

What's great is we don't have to worry about scale of platform as were a scaled platform. With nine billion products sold a month, we have the ability to take a small start up and put them on every single can of Pepsi or pack of Walkers and make it a big platform in a short amount of time. That's where we're bringing our business competitive advantage to the table to create new and engaging digital platforms.

How are you using such digital platforms at present to interact with consumers?

We employ emerging techs from PepsiCo 10 in some cases. Things like Tongle are used to send out a brief to the community about what we want to do and then they come back with 140 characters about how they would respond to that.

Think about it as a high quality production at lower costs. It feels like middle area between TV and video. Then you have mission control and the work we do on X Factor.

But what we're seeing now are new generation opportunities. Things like Shahmoon, outdoor digital signage. What's great about this is it's super local and connected so we can change it on the fly. It also has a camera.

[Using this tech], I'm able to create signs I can interact with using gestures. At the same time, I can get real metrics how many people looked at the sign, how many people engaged with it and how many people did that turn into a purchase?

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