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Pepsi to Emphasize Geo-Social in 2011

  |  October 14, 2010   |  Comments

The beverage company's digital head talks to ClickZ about Refresh Everything, Foursquare, Facebook, Stickybits, and a new iPhone app.

shiv-singh.jpgThe "huge amount of votes" that Pespi Refresh Everything participants have submitted on their cell phones will lead to a heavier mobile emphasis for that initiative next year, according to Shiv Singh, head of digital at PepsiCo. In an interview with ClickZ, Singh said the beverages company will do more geo-social marketing, while also premiering a Refresh Everything iPhone app within the next month.

"One thing we are looking for as we move into 2011 is figuring out what is the best way to use Foursquare," he said. "We already have a relationship with Foursquare; we've done some different tests. But we are trying to discover how we can more strategically leverage Foursquare and maybe even Stickybits."

At the same time, Singh (pictured above) offered some tempered analysis on the much-hyped geo-social space. He noted that RefreshEverything.com averages 4 million unique visitors per month, while the site has totaled nearly 50 million votes this year. Singh then contrasted those figures to the relatively small number of geo-social users in the marketplace, with Foursquare's total platform having around 3 million registered users.

"We start looking at things like Facebook Places, Foursquare, and Stickybits. Those adoption numbers today are very small," he said. "While they are very powerful [platforms], they are still in the 'test category' when we compare them to everything else we are doing for the program."

The Refresh Everything campaign, Singh suggested, is an unusually good fit for mobile applications. One of the initiative's major elements is encouraging individuals to vote on what consumer-proposed projects deserve funding from the company's cause-marketing drive. The Pepsi digital head also suggested that Foursquare and Facebook Places would likely grow significantly next year.

"What we like about them is that they help us on both ends," he said. "They help the convenience of voting. I think they draw attention to ideas and communities that have won [Refresh Everything funding], and build more momentum around those ideas. They can also help good ideas that didn't win but deserve the attention. The Refresh project is fundamentally about helping good ideas and communities make a difference. It's a very physical thing, and [geo-social platforms] can help us."

While Singh said that the campaign's microsite has anchored the Refresh Everything effort, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter will likely continue to increase in importance during 2011. Pepsi has 1.5 million Facebook "likers" and 43,000 Twitter followers.

"We've asked them for recommendations for how we can improve the program next year," he explained. "And we are at the point where we are looking at all of this and figuring how to best optimize our [efforts]."

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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