Company NewsMay 6, 2019

3DEXPERIENCE FORUM: Q&A with Keynote, Former PepsiCo CEO Dawn Hudson

We’re honored to welcome Dawn Hudson as a keynote speaker at next…
Avatar Timothy Svenson

We’re honored to welcome Dawn Hudson as a keynote speaker at next week’s 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM 2019 taking place May 13-16 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. We had the opportunity to catch up with Hudson ahead of the conference for a preview of her talk, Driving Authentic Business Innovation.

Dawn Hudson

Hudson is an advocate of smart reinvention and growth with more than 20 years’ experience at some of the world’s best-known and most-loved brands including the NFL, PepsiCo, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Allergan, PF Chang’s, the LPGA and NVIDIA . She shares insights on turning adversity into an advantage, building a global presence, and why, in today’s business climate, innovation must be central to everything from distribution to selling stories to human capital management.

Dawn, you’ve been widely recognized for your commitment to brand building and the experiences a great brand can deliver to engage consumers. How would you describe the key opportunities and challenges for leaders who are building today’s brands in the experience economy?

In today’s environment, there are many newcomers trying to offer a better way to do and experience anything. But consumers naturally are attracted to brands that they trust and feel share their values. So brand building becomes an essential way to defend against new entrants and build a fan base that is loyal and more immune to price and promotional offerings. The challenge many business/marketing people have is to protect and invest in their brand, when many do not appreciate the subtle yet real competitive advantage a brand platform provides their business. Brand building is quantifiable, yet not necessarily on a short-term basis.

Secondly, consumers today demand experiences. It is easy to create an experience. Yet a brand experience that defines and reinforces a brands true place in the marketplace, and what differentiates them, is worth real market value and magnifies a brand’s value. When designing experiences, it is critical to do it in way that builds the brand rather than distracts from its value – for long-term gain.

Many industry leaders are seeing their markets disrupted by technology and new entrants. What are your recommendations for leaders who are grappling with change?

Disruption is actually a huge opportunity for established brands, if they can adapt and offer new ways for consumers to interface with the brand. Often, established brands protect the status quo and fight change. Yet, if you watch what new disruptors suggest, and learn from them to offer new ways to experience or interact with a brand, the odds favor that the consumer/fan will opt to stay with a brand they know is innovating – versus moving to something totally new.  However, a brand that does not adapt, and stays 100% rooted to the past and does not change and evolve, is very vulnerable. Today’s consumer expects evolution, learning and innovation.

What is the role of innovation in creating value for companies?

The world is changing fast.  With technology offering new ideas every month – a brand cannot win by standing still. Consumers desire and want new ideas – but their desire for comfort and trust makes them prefer to get these new ideas from someone they trust. Innovation becomes a critical expectation of any brand. The trick is to find “big need” opportunities to innovate against. Creating small ideas might seem like a good idea in the short-term, and gain some attention from retailers/consumers/businesses, but if the idea is not really different and does not deliver a new benefit, the recipient will try and reject the idea and go back to tried and true. Small innovations can actually hurt a well-known brand. The better known the brand, the higher the bar for real demonstrable benefits that can be seen and appreciated. Innovative ideas should not be made up in the spirit of innovation, but actually deliver real desirable benefits.

How has the rise of social media changed consumer’s relationships with brands?

Social media is both a wonderment and a pit fall. It allows brands to tell customized stories and reach fans in a very real manner. However, social media can be a trap if the brand message is not good. Brand messages create value when they are consistent and reinforce a brand’s point of view and values. Many get so excited about social media that they put all kinds of messages into the system that say so many different things. Mixed messages can confuse and actually detract the consumer from what a brand stands for. The biggest thing a brand has going for it is consistency and predictability, and therefore trust. Social media can create a space where a brand creates to many varying messages, decreasing what a brand stands for and its inherent value. Social media that targets consumers in ways that are highly relevant, yet stay true to the brand, can be very powerful.


Join hundreds of of Dassault Systemès customers and partners, industry thought leaders and technology experts, at 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM 2019 next week in Las Vegas.  Take advantage of advance registration rates HERE.

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