Indra Nooyi inducts PepsiCo’s very first design chief in order to facilitate core brand growth
“Market growth alone doesn't give you enough tailwinds. You have to create your own. The way to do that is by designing products for consumers that wow them. Not just the way they look, but that every aspect of what they buy delights them.” – Indra Nooyi, during a media interview. Indra Nooyi is known, not only for being the second most powerful woman in business as per Fortune magazine, but also for her forward thinking approach towards her company’s growth. From venturing into the health food market to building manufacturing plants in Myanmar, Nooyi’s philosophy for growth involves constant innovation, fresh marketing strategies, developing an understanding of consumers and their expectations, and above all, ensuring that PepsiCo becomes a trustworthy, appealing brand with high credibility. Her latest endeavor involves hiring Mauro Porcini, who is now the company’s first CDO or Chief Design Officer, with whom she hopes to “shake things up”, or, develop core brands. What is refreshing about Nooyi’s approach to design and how it affects customers, is her evident dislike for undermining consumer intelligence. She has been quoted as saying, “every time we talked about products for women, people would just put it in a pink bag or put on a pink label, that says a lot about women’s intelligence”. Her approach, in collaboration with Porcini, involves re-designing the company’s DNA with marketers and designers working side by side; the objective is to use design-led innovation with the overall objective of making the company’s core products more appealing to the customer, not just through attractive packaging, but through the value of the product itself. Adding value to the product, and not just the packaging therefore, is Nooyi’s new game plan. The use of marketing research in order to “generate insights” rather than to validate them, is one of many new approaches which will determine areas within the company and its arsenal of products, which need a rethink or re-haul. Understanding the strengths and areas requiring improvement is integral to product development, and Nooyi’s acceptance of this, indicates that she is willing to embrace change wherever needed. Through the induction of Porcini into the design and innovation department, Nooyi has proved once again, that she has her sights set on a complete image makeover for PepsiCo and its core products, and will replace ineffective strategies with fresh perspectives courtesy Porcini, who, with her full support, has been leading numerous design-led innovation talks with top members of the company. Her willingness to place trust on her Chief Design Officer, and obvious respect for the intelligence and expectations of her company’s consumer base, are all hallmarks of an intelligent strategist who perceives design as more than just pretty packaging. For Nooyi, the decision to hire a CDO is an intelligent one, and consumers can expect bigger, brighter, and perhaps even more ergonomically designed products which keep in mind their needs and expectations. Under Nooyi’s guidance, and Porcini’s keen eye, PepsiCo is looking at a future filled with progress, innovation, and profit.