LS International speaks with Patricia Corsi to find out more about her experience in delivering results and leading successful business transformation in Latin America and Europe. Her fluency in 3 languages, combined with a strong sense of curiosity allows her to be closer to consumer and customer and to use this connectivity to better drive product mixes and use experiences that serve unmet consumer needs.
During the podcast, we speak with Patricia on the following:
- Career and Leadership
- The biggest challenges FMCG companies are facing
- How technology is playing a key role in shopping and how technology will affect the way FMCG organizations work with retailers
Lauren: Hi I’m Lauren Stiebing and welcome to this episode of the career success podcast. Today, we’re joined by Patricia Corsi the CMO of Heineken Mexico. Patricia has 23 years of experiences in marketing within local, regional and global roles.
In addition to marketing, she also has customer development experience across different geographies and categories from food to HPC, which allows her to have a perspective on issues and opportunities and use those experiences to move the business forward and upward.
Patricia has a strong and solid track record of delivering results and leading successful business transformation in Latin America and Europe. Her fluency in three languages combined with a strong sense of curiosity allows her to be closer to the consumer and customer, and use this connectivity to better drive product mixes and use experiences that serve unmet consumer needs. Welcome Patricia.
Patricia: Thank you for having me here.
Lauren: Thank you for joining us. So, I’m sure you know changing jobs, companies, countries, there’s always a risk that’s involved in one’s career. How did you manage to make the right decisions during the uncertainty that comes with change?
Patricia: It’s a very interesting question, and one that I have dealt with many times in my life. I think the first thing it fits my personality, I’m good at managing ambiguity and risky situations but it changed over time, mostly when you have a family. So then you have other factors to consider, one thing is when you move jobs or you move, i’ve moved jobs and cities when I was single, and then when I was married without kids and then when I was when married with kids. And I have to confess that it gets harder. Because you have so many other factors to consider and this other factors I have to confess that they get more important and more important.
Lauren: Of course, working in heading hunting and finding amazing opportunities for people. A lot of times those opportunities do come with a move and I had a lot of different feedback. I don’t have children myself so, I can’t give my own experiences but I had a lot of feedback about you know about when is the right time to make the move and I know you had said your son was four months old, if I heard correctly, how did yes decide, you know, that that was okay time or do you think there isn’t an ideal time when you have kids?
Patricia: Wow! No, I think it depends on your family circumstances in our case we were in you know we were not feeling safe in Brazil anymore. So, when my husband and I we saw each other at car dealership looking for a bullet proof car, we just said no, it’s you know, this doesn’t seem right.
Honestly, I think it shaped our family when you know, when we are sometimes we do family conversation about our values and mostly when we are thinking about big decisions like moving and things like this, and one of the things, one of the values of our family that do you know was born because this, is that we try new things, and we are brave to try new things, and we start seeing the positive things, and we don’t victimize ourselves when things go bad.
Lauren: So I’d like to shift a bit onto a couple of industry specific topics. What do you believe are the biggest challenges the FMCG companies are facing within Mexico or Latin America at the moment?
Patricia: Latin America I think one of the big things is obviously, all the transformation the digital transformation and the E-commerce transformation. For different reasons than in Europe and the U. S., unfortunately here at Latin America we still have a lot of corruption and the payment methods are still facing a lot of frauds.
So, the evolution of this channel is very much linked to what’s the environment, and the environment unfortunately is not that good yet, but you know if you look in and Mexico we have one million people reaching the age of 18 every year. It’s a very young country everyone is doing everything on their mobiles.
So, it is still this is a big challenge how do you evolved when the eco-system is not ready. So, Uber is already the second biggest country for Uber in the globe is Mexico. And it’s facing is challenged because of credit card payment in all of this but it’s striving and I think it’s going to help a lot the other segments and other brands, but this for me this is one big one.
The second one is related to talent. Many countries in the world and you know I’m Brazilian. In Brazil for many years now there’s lots of people that you know they finish the university and they go and search for an international experience to broader their experience there are views off the world and their adaptability and all of that. In Mexico and Argentina, I think had the same wave as well as Venezuela for different reasons because of all the political instabilities. Mexico not that much, because there are a lot of very strong big local companies.
And this has as in a way probably delayed a little bit this transformation from a talent point of view that is to have people, Mexican people in Mexico, that have robust international experience, or experiencing different companies is still a country where many people have only work in one company their whole lives.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, it just, restrains a little bit your view of different parts of how the world works. Um so, from a talent point of view, I think it’s one very interesting challenge all that different industry forums, advertising association, digital bureau and all of this that I have joined, and one of the big topics is this relentless research or search for talent and the other one is the digital transformation and how you create an environment that helps it to thrive.
Lauren: And in terms of the talent challenge, I mean what are some of the ways that, that could be solved I mean would it just be now companies have the responsibility to send talent abroad, so that you know five years from now there would be more diversified talent or what you think is the best way to overcome that challenge?
Patricia: Without a doubt this is one of the ways, I think it’s the commitment from the companies to give their top talents critical experience, either if it’s international or in different areas. But I think it has to be a movement that also comes from the young generation as well and we’re seeing a lot of things. We are seeing lots of people, I’m in the north of Mexico so we have a little bit of bias here because you know in three hours car ride you are in the U. S. so there are a lots people, mostly people with more means that go to study to high school in the U. S., but this, you know this is still not in the DNA.
So, hopeful more people will have that embedded in their DNA and go abroad either if it is a gap year or is to do there masters, or it’s to do a job experience or a summer experience, whatever it is, but I hope this starts to catch a little bit more in the upcoming five to ten years because this will build a whole different set of skills and experiences to this new talent, that by the way, the Mexican people have an amazing energy you know joy of living. It is an incredible energy to work here and I think these experiences, these different views of the world, are only going to build up and make this even stronger.
Lauren: And looking a bit at the technology side of things I mean technologies already playing a key role in shopping. For example, I’m sure you’ve heard about Walmart testing that basket that read your listing and guides around the store. How do you think these technologies will affect the way FMCG companies work with retailers?
Patricia: I have to say that I’m in love with everything that is working in this area. That the whole foods stores or the Amazon stores that you don’t have to take your wallets out of your pocket. This is really the future where you know because energy is infinite and time is finite. So, whatever can help you to do the things that you need to do better, it’s going to be embraced. So, technology and I’ve done there was a Symposium and I’ve heard someone say, you know, you should delegate whatever function that can be done by a bot, to a bot, and have people really thinking about the experiences, because there is no artificial intelligence or bots that can do that. And I think this is a really exciting new territory and mostly for us in marketing, because it’s all about the experience you know, how you talk about the brands you love the most is about the experience you had, either with the brand itself or with the products that these brands bring with it. It’s never about the functional, you know of the technicalities of it. Nobody says that they drink Heineken because it has two degrees more of freshness than another. It’s about everything. What the brand conveys? What the brand stands for? Its values, you know you feel you want people to see you relate it to that. I think it’s an exciting new time I really hope the young generation is building up their risks of verse, they’re putting down their risk averse barriers, because it’s going to be all about experiment, it’s going to be all about Beta Mode it’s all about testing thing that you don’t know what’s going to happen and you don’t know the outcome but it’s all about learning and that’s doing the second round and then just learning a little bit more. So it’s really exciting time if you are really risk averse, it’s going to be really frightening times but probably better to work on the risk averse skills then not to, to go on this journey.
Lauren: Sure! And what business opportunities do you think that will create for FMCG companies?
Patricia: I think to focus more on the things that really matters, I think there was a time you know in old marketing was all about trying to convince people, trying to convince people of trying things they should believing in, and I think new marketing is about more than what you say, it’s about what you do. And it gives us a lot of experience to walk the talk to put our money where our mouth is, to be genuine means and to really rethink the way we do stuff. It requires a lot of thinking time and in a very fast paced market like Mexico or Brazil or some of the African countries or Southeast Asia. It’s tough to find time because a very fast paced market, but it develops the skills and experiences and develop the business tremendously, much more than when you have a stagnant situation, stagnant markets, cynical consumers, it is more difficult to try to do anything in there because people just don’t want to hear and you know you can have the best argument in the world, but if they don’t want to hear you, there is no point. So it feels now like people want to hear you have to be really mindful of what you’re going to say, because otherwise you have disasters like everything that happen with a Pepsico campaigns or MacDonald campaign or even Uber videos and things like that because, everyone is online all the time now, so there’s nowhere to hide, let me say it this way.
Lauren: Well Patricia thank you so much for joining us today on her career success podcast.
Patricia: It was my pleasure thank you very much and it was really cool to talk about marketing and the future of advertising we with you thank you.
Lauren: And for all of our listeners, please write any questions or comments in the comment section below and Patricia or myself will get back to you thank you.