No brand is safe from disruption, so be sure you understand your timeless truth, be bold, create value in the world, and don’t be afraid to trust your instincts, even in spite of the data.

Doritos acknowledged it had done a lot of soul-searching over the past year. With competitive pressures, disruptive technology and a new generation of customers heading its way, it was time to revisit base questions of brand identity: ‘What do we stand for?’

This most basic question propelled the famous triangle snack food to reinvent its brand purpose, said Rachel Ferdinando, senior vice-president of marketing at Frito-Lay North America. ‘How do we embrace disruption and take the brand into the future?’

Rachel Ferdinando, senior vice-president of marketing at Frito-Lay North America, on sterring the Doritos brand in a period of massive disruption.

In her presentation she distilled four key lessons she uncovered over the exploratory journey with her team:

  1. Know what you stand for. “Relevance that transcends disruption.” Ask yourself: What’s your timeless truth? Bring your brand into the here and now.
  2. To be an icon, act like one. If we’re going to bring another level to the world in a disruptive way, how are you going to do that?
  3. Don’t be a cultural tourist. Sit at the table and create culture to enable your future. It’s easy to grab a cultural play, but we decided we were going to create value in culture and figure out what matters to fans and play a part.
  4. Sometimes you need to ignore the data. Trust your gut. Data is important, but it’s not everything, she said. Part of the company’s new brand purpose acknowledges the importance of emotion and instinct.

About The Gathering

Organizers of The Gathering consistently outdo themselves: bigger brands and personalities, more content and dual-track sessions, and ramped up music and entertainment value. But as it grows, the level of access to the hearts and minds of the biggest brand leaders remains unchanged, keeping The Gathering on the calendar of smart marketers across North America year after year.

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Katherine Scarrow is the general manager of Globe Content Studio, the content-marketing division of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national media organization.

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