I'm happy to introduce a new Snack Chat series called Frito-Lay Snack Masters, in which we profile the accomplishments and careers of our fabulous employees. Today, we debut the series featuring an interview with Christina Menendez, senior director of marketing for Frito-Lay (pictured below, attending the Fiesta Bowl festivities). Every few weeks, we'll highlight another employee and the incredible work they're doing as a true master of their craft. So, check back again soon! - Kristin
- What attributes of the Marketing profession inspired you to pursue a career in it?
Pursuing a Marketing career provided me with a unique opportunity to tap into my creative side and my love for numbers. I also found Marketing satisfied my curiosity regarding human behavior -- what people say and do are not always the same, and I find it fascinating. Each day at the office is fresh and interesting.
- In your role at Frito-Lay, you’re leading the Tostitos brand team in a very exciting and innovative time. Tell us about the brand’s new positioning, the recent line extension and the exciting work around Fiesta Bowl this year.
To support the re-launch of Tostitos, we introduced new, vibrant and festive packaging to help us stand out in the chip aisle, and more importantly, to signal party. Our new campaign is centered on a simple truth brought to life in our tagline… “Where there’s Tostitos, there’s a party.”
We also just introduced a new line of Tostitos chips and salsas called Tostitos Cantina, and it’s Frito-Lay’s largest, most exciting product introduction for 2013. Consumers were looking for chips and dips similar to what they enjoy at their favorite Mexican restaurant. Tostitos Cantina chips and salsas bring that experience into the comfort of home and are delicious.
Our recent work around the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was absolutely amazing and very gratifying. Over the years we’ve honored many people, including our troops and veterans, and, along with the Fiesta Bowl Committee, have brought people together to make the bowl game America’s biggest party. This year, we partnered with the Pat Tillman Foundation and Got Your 6 to host a “Surprise Homecoming Party Bowl,” complete with football legends and celebrity guests. Check out more details about the surprise event here, and watch a video recap of it on the Tostitos Facebook page.
- Do you have any advice for someone who is considering
a career in Marketing?
- Look at every assignment as an opportunity to learn something new. Every business has something you can fix or improve.
- Never take “no” for an answer the first time you hear it. To be a successful marketer you must have personal passion, tenacity and resilience.
- Take your time to learn the right fundamentals early in your career. A Marketing career is like a marathon, not a sprint.
- What is the single best lesson you’ve learned during your career?
It is critical to build strong relationships and friendships with your agency partners. If you have mutual respect and an open dialogue, your partners will move mountains to bring your brand’s vision to life.
- How has social media reshaped Marketing practices?
Social media has made Marketers much more thoughtful about their messaging. Marketers have to deliver on the authentic personality of the brand, know their audiences and engage with compelling conversations. If you don’t, your fans will let you know instantly and you risk doing more harm than good.
- How do you approach brand innovation? Are there key activities or must-haves that help set up a project for success?
Frito-Lay innovation teams always view the consumer as central to any new product or flavor under development. We consistently invest to better understand our fans’ snacking behaviors and the drivers behind those behaviors. By truly understanding their needs, we are able to create unbelievable product experiences.
To successfully deliver innovation within Frito-Lay, you must have strong, collaborative relationships with all your cross-functional partners who play a role in bringing the innovation to market. The saying “it takes a village” also applies to the development and commercialization of a new product innovation.