How PepsiCo uses the GroundSwell

Social Media and PepsiCo

The Groundswell is a book that teaches how to listen and participate in social media. We read and learned a great deal about using social media in my corporate public relations class. Their are many advantages of implementing the groundswell in your company’s marketing, public relations, or communications department. By listening, talking about, energizing, helping support, and embracing the groundswell, companies can reach and impact people they never thought possible. PepsiCo has definitely started to use groundswell. They have just started to notice a heavy presents of bloggersand how important they are to the name and reputation of PepsiCo and its affiliates. Recently PepsiCo sent out empty pepsi-cola cans to 25 influentially individuals from the social media community. The cans featured the evolution of the Pepsi logo. Pepsi cola did this so the bloggers could discuss the new and old logos. They knew by implementing this campaign they would start a lot of buzz and chatter in the world of blogs. And they were exactly right. Almost all of the 25 chosen have talked and discussed about being sent these interesting cans. Not all were positive, but it got the conversations going and really put Pepsi’s name out there. For an example of one perspective visit The Influential Marketing Blog.

Another good idea when engaging in social media is to go right to the source. The source is Twitter. Twitter is a networking site where people can discuss and converse easily through status updates. When researching if PepsiCo was on the site I found some interesting things.  A web marketing company that also has an influential blog (Parker Web Marketing) suggested that Pepsi should buy Twitter. Parker says that if Pepsi were to buy Twitter the brands could help each other grow and then could be an influential sponsor. Parker says ”   It would be a nice merge of many media formats”. An intriging idea that many people are discussing on the web and Twitter. Also, people on twitter are still discussing the age old Coke vs. Pepsi.


PepsiCo’s Awards and Honors

PepsiCo’s Awards and Honors

2008 Awards

  •  2008 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award
  • DiversityInc’s List of Top 50 Companies for Diversity
  • Top 10 companies for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender)    Employees by Diversity Inc.
  • Top 10 Companies List for People with Disabilities

2007 Awards

  • Indra Nooyi Named Among Fortune’s 25 Most Powerful
  • PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi Named Among The Wall Street Journal 50 Women to Watch 2007
  • Latina STYLE’s company of the year. 
  • Best Green Companies for America’s Children List in Working Mother Magazine.
  • Indra Nooyi Tops FORTUNE’s List of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.
  • Seven PepsiCo Products on Women’s Health Magazine’s ‘100 Best Packaged Foods for Women’ List.
  • Pepsi “Pinball” commercial nominated for an Emmy

  • The Lay’s “100% Pure Joy” commercial won the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Award
  • Fortune Magazine ranks PepsiCo once again to the Top 10 of America’s Most Admired Companies in the World
  • and many more…

I wouldn’t say that PepsiCo uses their awards and honors as promotions only to reiterate the efforts the company is making to benfit the environment, individual communities, and their commitment to diversity. Either way it reflects positively on the company when they are awarded so many honors.

Info from 

Challenges Facing PepsiCo

Like all companies at this time, PepsiCo has to deal with the financial issues plaguing our economy. In times of financial trouble luxuries are the first thing to go. This includes settling for value brands instead of the preferred loyalty brands. People are going to try and save pennies where ever they can and this includes trips to the grocery store. The challenge of all companies is to keep customers and push advertising efforts. But as of October 2008 PepsiCo’s current financial state is stable and productive. 
By sciondriver (flickr)  By sciondriver (flickr)

Another issue prevalent in our society is the state of our environment. PepsiCo has already made efforts to do its part including incorporating reverse osmosis to conserve water in Pepsi-cola bottling plants and Frito-Lay’s Sun Chips new solar powered facility. But it is an ongoing challenge to do more and save more. Pepsi-Co implemented an environmental policy in 2006 and is still discovering new ways to reduce and reuse waste.

 A growing concern in our nation is health. Every where you look companies are adding low-fat or low-calorie options. Since PepsiCo is a beverage and snack food provider it is important for them to offer health options or their customers might choose a different brand that has fewer calories. They have made a good start with all the diet drinks they offer and sun chips are many peoples favorite alternative to greasy potato chips.

PepsiCo’s Public Relations Model and Intended Audience

Photo From Brookhaven Advisors

Photo From Brookhaven Advisors

According to Grunig and Hunt most companies public relations departments use one of four academic models when communicating to their audience. These models include: Press agent/ publicity model, public information model, the two-way asymmetricmodel, and the two-way symmetric model. Although all models can be used in certain situations, two-way symmetric is viewed as being the most efficient and beneficial to both the company and the public. 

In PepsiCo’s case they employ the two-way symmetric model. The company uses research and campaigns to discover and satisfy consumer needs. It shows through their continually updated ad campaigns that they try to keep up with the publics tastes and trends. Recently Pepsi-cola has engaged in social media which shows they are trying to be more accessible to customers with questions or concerns.

Doorley, J., & Garcia, H. F. ( 2007). Reputation Management: The key to successful public relations and corporate communications. New York, NY: Routledge.

Who is PepsiCo Trying to Reach?

With an annual revenue of over $39 billion PepsiCo reaches into millions of people’s pockets every year. Their most important audience is the consumer. In order to run a successful company you must have people who need and want your product. PepsiCo has no problem achieving this. They have a diverse and loyal base of costumers and being one of the largest providers of snack foods and beverages it is hard to find an individual who doesn’t buy at least one of their brands. Although PepsiCo is focused on selling their product, another one of their concerns is how they can benefit individual communities, so they donate millions of dollars to charities and disaster relief funds every year. Quality products and services means many investors and a huge concern of PepsiCo is to keep their stock holders happy. They have found that satisfying the needs of their customers, communities, and investors benefits all involved.

The PepsiCo Company and a Short History Lesson

PepsiCo is a world renowned company that is comprised of PepsiCo International (PI),PepsiCo Americas Foods (PAF), and PepsiCo Americas Beverages (PAB). These divisions own and operate well known brands Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Gatorade, Pepsi-cola and Quaker Oats. Most Americans have at least one of these brands sitting on their pantry shelves and this is why PepsiCo is so successful. They make products that people want and need. The company also sells international products in the United Kingdom, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. They have a strong code of ethics which includes an excellent environmental policy. PepsiCo is also strong financially with an annual revenue of $39 billion and employs over 185,000 people. 


Photo by: delitefulimage(Flickr)




 Info from: PepsiCo Overview


 PepsiCo was created in 1965 with the merger of two large well known companies: Frito-Lay and Pepsi-cola, but this is not when the story begins. In the late 1980’s a young pharmacist named Caleb Bradham created the Pepsi formula in the back of his store. He soon realized that people enjoyed the refreshing new beverage and offered it in his soda shop. Later in 1902 Bradham patented and bottle the drink so people far and wide could enjoy it.

 After the 1965 merger PepsiCo acquires Mt. Dew and introduces many new marketing campaigns, but their most successful one will not be introduced for another ten years. In 1975 Pepsi’s most famous campaign launches in Texas, The Pepsi Challenge, to compete with the Coca-Cola Company. Throughout the next twenty years PepsiCo acquires Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Mug Root Beer, and introduces diet and caffeine free Pepsi. Although the company decided to divide from the fast food industry in 1996, they gained Tropicana in 1998 and Quaker/ Gatorade in 2001.

 One thing Pepsi-cola has continued to do over time is employ legendary spokespeople. This long list includes: Joanie Sommers, Britney Spears, Jeff Gordon, Ray Charles, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, and many others. Their successful advertising campaigns and positive image has distinguished PepsiCo and its affiliates from other snack and beverage companies. It should be interesting to see what emerges in 2009.

 Info from: PepsiCo History


10 Things to Know About PepsiCo

The Mystery of the Pod Cast

Pod casting is some what of a mystery to me. I have never subscribed or listened to one until about two hours ago. But I discovered that I really enjoy them. I have always liked talk radio which may explain why I am now partial to pod casts. My first pod cast was For Immediately Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report (also known as FIR). The pod cast I listened to was # 394 on Nov. 3, 2008. Although listening to the program is part of my grade, I believe I got more out of it than just that. My corporate public relations class is centered around social media and I honestly had no idea it existed till now. FIR is comprised of real world examples and debates about public relations issues and social media. It is important in any major to not only learn from your classes and text books, but also from real world examples. This is one reason why I enjoyed FIR because they discus current issues and offer different perspectives on them.


Unfortunately the episode I observed featured Holts and Hobson separately. Both of their segments were informative and enjoyable, but I have heard from my professor, Barbara Nixon, that they engage in some very good disagreements and I am looking forward to hearing them together on a future cast. One aspect of public relations I am very interested in is international public relations and FIR discussed two international issues. The first segment was from Michael Netzley who is reporting from the Singapore. Netzley interviewed two enthusiasts on Singapore’s growing thirst to learn about social media. They discussed how people Singapore are eager to try social media, but are still unaware of the rules associated with it. It is neat to hear that other young people across the world are experiencing and learning the same things as our class in the U.S.  


Another issue that we discuss in our public relations courses is bribing. An issue I am not aware of is a recent controversy between Microsoft and some bloggers. Apparently a few years ago Microsoft sent out a preview of Vista installed on high speed computers to bloggers. The bloggers were instructed to review the new program, but then could keep them if they wanted. I definitely see how this could be considered a bribe and Microsoft should have considered that. Recently Microsoft invited bloggers to test another new product on new high-tech computers, but it is still unclear if they made the same mistake as before.


All in all I really enjoyed Hobson and Holtz report. They take time to thank new listeners and others that appear on their show. Also I liked how they had a section at the end of the show for listener comments. I encourage anyone interested in either social media or public relations to give it a listen. I know I will continue to listen in.