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  • Episode 7: Democratising Consumer Intelligence in a fast evolving Arab region

    July 19, 2023

    In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, understanding consumer insights and leveraging analytics has become a crucial aspect for companies to stay ahead of the curve.

    In this exclusive podcast, we have the pleasure of speaking with Rafik El Noumeir, the Vice President of Insights and Analytics for Africa, Middle East, and South Asia at PepsiCo. With over 18 years of experience at Pepsi, Rafik has played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s approach to consumer intelligence. Join us as we delve into the world of consumer intelligence in the Arab world and explore strategies for making it more inclusive.

    Key Takeaways:

    Managing Diverse Touchpoints

    Rafik leads insights for a rather dynamic region encompassing Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, each with its unique characteristics. Managing the diverse touchpoints across these markets is an exciting challenge, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia that are going through a rapid change, but through a combination of ongoing studies, market trend analysis, and direct engagement with consumers in each of the markets,  Rafik and the team ensure that its brands resonate with the target audience in each market.

    Adapting to Consumer Evolution

    Consumer behaviour has transformed significantly over the past decade, and this trend is observed globally. People are more informed, conscientious, and expect personalised experiences from brands. Rafik notes that the days of one-way communication are long gone, replaced by a two-way interaction where brands actively listen and respond to consumers. This ongoing evolution challenges the team to adapt its strategies continuously and ensure cultural relevance and engagement with consumers.

    The Growing Importance of Continuous Understanding

    Rafik stresses the growing importance of continuous understanding and staying in touch with consumers. In the past, periodic research sufficed, but now, with rapidly changing dynamics, constant consumer interaction and understanding are essential. Brands need to tailor their messages and offerings to meet the expectations of consumers who seek personalised experiences. By keeping a finger on the pulse, PepsiCo. strives to deliver relevant and engaging experiences to its consumers.

    Unlocking Potential with AI

    Rafik recognises the value of AI across different use cases.  AI in general plays a crucial role in their operations and its effectiveness lies in how it is used and the guardrails put in place. For instance, AI powers image recognition and aids in understanding in-store executions. Additionally, AI is utilised to test and optimise communication strategies in the digital realm, ensuring relevance and effective reach. Furthermore, AI-driven platforms enable teams to access data and insights seamlessly, empowering them to make informed decisions and develop new strategies.

    Democratisation of Data and Insights

    By centralising and simplifying access to data, the organisation enables all stakeholders to be better informed and develop enhanced briefs. This approach fosters a culture of knowledge sharing and allows teams to build upon existing insights instead of starting from scratch. While data accessibility becomes a standard, it also paves the way for research agencies to demonstrate their unique value proposition and complement the internal capabilities of organisations.

    Embracing a Curious Mindset

    The introduction of digital natives into the workforce brings new perspectives and expectations. The newer generation has different expectations from the workplace, including the insights field. However, the common theme among insights professionals remains a passion for understanding consumers and driving brands forward. The evolving nature of technology necessitates continuous learning and upskilling for both individuals and organisations.

    The Future of AI in Research and Insights

    Looking ahead, Rafik envisions AI becoming an integral tool that enables various functionalities rather than a standalone concept. As AI technology continues to evolve, it will likely become more ingrained in everyday operations, transforming the way research and insights are conducted. The conversation concludes with a lighthearted remark about the potential humour in listening to this discussion a couple of years down the line when AI has become even more pervasive and commonplace.

    Rafik El Noumeir’s expertise in consumer intelligence and analytics provides valuable insights into how PespiCo. navigates the complex Arab market. By understanding local nuances, continuously adapting to consumer expectations, and embracing personalized communication, the organisation aims to stay at the forefront of consumer engagement.

    The evolving nature of consumer behavior and the increasing demand for personalized experiences present exciting challenges and opportunities for the industry. Through ongoing research and a forward-thinking approach, Rafik aims to guide organizations toward a future where consumer intelligence plays a pivotal role in driving success.

    Rafik’s exploration and integration of AI in their research and insights highlight the company’s commitment to innovation and staying at the forefront of technological advancements. AI technology, when used effectively, enhances decision-making processes, optimises communication strategies, and streamlines access to data and insights. By embracing AI and the democratisation of data, Rafik ensures that their teams are equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to drive growth and better serve their consumers.

    As the world of AI continues to evolve, Rafik’s proactive approach positions them for success in an increasingly digital and data-driven future.

    Grab your headphones and tune in to our episode on your favorite podcast platform.

    You can also watch the full recording on our Youtube account below. 

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