Ep. 220 – Estrella Lopez-Brea – Why it’s the Best Time to be in Consumer Insights, According to Nestlé

My guest today is Estrella Lopez-Brea, Global Head of Consumer Connections at Cereal Partners Worldwide. Established in 1991, Cereal Partners Worldwide is a joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé to produce breakfast cereals. The company is headquartered in Switzerland and markets cereals in more than 130 countries.

Prior to joining Cereal Partners Worldwide, Estrella was the Knowledge & Insights Senior Analyst for Coca-Cola where she guided the BU’s decision making processes and development of the Coke Masterbrand strategy and their innovation pipeline.

Find Estrella Online:

LinkedIn

Website: https://www.nestle-cereals.com/global/en

Find Us Online:

www.happymr.com

Social Media: @happymrxp

LinkedIn

This Episode’s Sponsor: 

This episode is brought to you by G3 Translate. The G3 Translate team offers unparalleled expertise in foreign language translations for market researchers and insight professionals across the globe. Not only do they speak hundreds of languages, they are fluent in market research. For more information, please visit them at G3Translate.com.


[00:00]

On Episode 220, I’m interviewing Estrella Lopez Brea, Global Head of Consumer Connections of Cereal Partners Worldwide. But first, a word from our sponsor.

[00:09]

We’ll take just a moment and thank G3 Translate. They have been a very valuable partner for Happy Market Research podcast, and the work that we have been doing here. I greatly appreciate it. They transcribe each one of our interviews, which range from 20 to 40 minutes, for free for us. It is a humongous benefit because it improves overall accessibility of the content that we are creating jointly with the research community. They have a unique approach. They are able to turn things around within 24 hours. I am very, very grateful for G3 Translate, and I hope that you will consider them for your next translation company project. Take the time. Go ahead and go on social media. You can find them, simply Google “G3 Translate”. That’s the number “3” and you will find the website as well as on LinkedIn. It would mean literally the world to me if you take the time to do that. Thanks so much.

[01:07]

Hi, I’m Jamie Brazil, and you’re listening to the Happy Market Research podcast. My guest today is Estrella Lopez Brea.

[01:16]

Correct.

[01:17]

Yay! Global Head of Consumer Connections at Cereal Partners Worldwide. Established in 1991, Cereal Partners Worldwide is a joint venture between General Mills and Nestle to produce breakfast cereals. The company is headquartered in Switzerland and market cereals to more than 130 countries. Prior to joining Cereal Partners Worldwide, Estrella was the Knowledge and Insights Senior Analyst at Coca-Cola, where she guided the business units, decision-making process and development of Coke’s master brand strategy and their innovation pipeline. Estrella, thank you so much for being on the Happy Market Research podcast today.

[01:54]

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure.

[01:59]

So tell us a little bit about your parents, where you grew up and how that has impacted your career.

[02:06]

Okay, so I am originally from Madrid, from Spain, but I live in Lausen, in Switzerland. I have two kids, in case that is interesting. I have two kids, and they are starting to approach the dangerous zone of being a teenager. Particularly about my parents, they are now retired, but they have been very, very active all their life. My father is a lawyer, and my mom, she had passion for HR so she was a HR Director; very busy people, very focused on their carriers, but at the same time very focused on their children. I have three brothers too. Well, that has influenced my career. That’s interesting because they both taught me different values. And I think it’s coming also from what they did for a living and that influenced certainly my carrier path and my choice to do consumer insights.

My dad, because he was a lawyer, his whole focus on honesty and what is right and wrong and not compromising yourself for the wrong thing was always in my mind. But since I was little, I would say: “No, that can’t be done. That’s wrong.” And that’s interesting because, that kind of objectivity is something that I always look for. And I guess now it’s very important in the research world.

And my mom, being in HR, she was very focused on empathy. She was always talking about people, and how important it was to talk to people as people, no matter who they were and where they were from. And she was always such a strong woman. She always told me: “Never give up.” You know things that you like and what you want to do in your life. So she taught me that no one is going to give me anything for free. I have to work really hard for it. And she also taught me about the importance of empathy and getting to know people deeply. And I think that’s another piece that was attached to me, and another reason why I love consumer insights and getting to know people from around the world, and getting to know who our consumers are.

So I think they influenced a lot my career. And then, in terms of my career, I started working in the research industry when I was living in the US, in Chicago. I lived in Chicago for five years, and that’s where it all started. And then I moved back to Spain, and worked for Coca-Cola for 10 years, where I held very different roles. And then my last kind of journey has been three years ago, when I was called for a job in CPW, Cereal Partners Worldwide, here in Switzerland. So here I am today, enjoying every single day.

[05:27]

Yes, congratulations. So there’s a couple things that I want to touch on. One is also having two teenagers, actually, almost three now teenagers at home is a terror. It’s a terrifying process, right?

[05:43]

I think they are still in the safe side.

[05:44]

Yes, that’s good. The role of parenting has obviously maintained the same. You’ve got to create clear boundaries for kids and help them make educated decisions. You can’t obviously control the decisions; that’s the same for me when I grew up. But the world has evolved dramatically from when we were in our teens versus the youth today, and it’s interesting to me how they have so much more information at their fingertips and the opportunity that creates for them from just an ability to be able to gain knowledge. My 15 year old last night told me that he and his friend are starting a clothing brand, which is hilarious. Something that I would have never thought would be possible as a young person. And he’s just looking up online how to accomplish those objectives and working against it.

[06:56]

Yeah, it’s an amazing age, when you see them also how they are transforming from being kids to be semi-adults. And the transition process is interesting and rewarding too as a parent, to see them grow and become this young person that you feel so proud of.

[07:22]

Yeah, absolutely, it is a rewarding, and also terrifying journey at the same time, it is both. One definitely lives in a state of tension.  So your parents have clearly impacted you from a value perspective. I liked your mechanic, the three-legged stool that you articulated: honesty, don’t compromise, and empathy. And maybe the fourth piece being a work ethic, right? You’ve got it. You’ve got to make your own way or take responsibility for where you are and where you want to get to. It’s interesting to me because, especially in context of ESOMAR and Joaquin, who introduced you and I in Amsterdam at the IIEX conference. Those tend to be the core values of the industry.

[08:19]

That’s true. That’s very interesting. I hadn’t thought about it. But now that you say that, it makes sense. Yes, they are important pillars. Because at the end of the day, our industry is about treating people right and getting to know people. And we are people. So if we’re able to see ourselves with those values, I think we’ll be able to understand our consumers. I think it’s important the knowledge of don’t treat others like you don’t want to be treated.

[08:54]

Yes, the Golden Rule.

[08:55]

Yes.

[08:59]

So I’ve done a fair amount of ethnography. I found myself in my early career thinking of the consumer as a “they”. What I mean is I didn’t personalize their specific journey. And I found as I have been now in my late 40s –I’m just a late bloomer, so for those interested, but it really is about “we”, this connection of all of us and how that needs to be involved and how we informed the brands from the consumer’s point of view. So, really, the personalization and the connection that we make with those consumers and the application of those insights into the brands on informing them on that consumer’s point of view is, I think, the core tenant or a solid way for us to be able to bring value.

[09:50]

To me, it’s the only way we can create value. If we don’t know what consumers value, it’s really hard for us to create value. So we need to get to know people and their struggles and their aspirations and their intentions in order for us is to be able to provide products and services that they can use. Otherwise, we can create the best innovation in the world but no one is going to buy it.

[10:15]

So we have all faced challenges. What is one of the biggest challenges that you have overcome either personally or professionally?

[10:21]

I’ve been lucky enough to not having any big major problem in my life, like health or things like that. I think probably my biggest challenge is something that is not very original and that a lot of other people have it too, especially women, which is kind of like that element of finding harmony between my personal and my professional life. I think that is probably not the challenge because I was literally struggling for it but because it has really been a constant element that you have to deal with when you have a career that is relatively successful, and if you have a family that you care for. I have always been lucky. I have always had some kind of support net to help me cope with both aspects of my life, whether it was my parents or a trustworthy nanny or an au-pair or a friend that you can tell: “Hi, can you pick up my kid from school?”, that kind of thing.

But an interesting challenge came to me when I moved to Switzerland with my family 3.5 years ago because on top of the implications of not speaking the language and all of that, my husband left his job to support me, and to be a stay-home dad and take care of my kids, and that has been an interesting process. And it hasn’t been challenging even to accept it for us, and even just to be proud of it and to make the most out of it because it is unusual. But it has been really great because I have been able to focus on work these last few years and advancing my career and getting to do my job the best I can, knowing that my kids were in the best hands possible while they were adapting to the new environment, and getting to know the language. And my husband is loving it. Because he is having for the first time the opportunity to spend quality time with our children, which is something that he never thought, especially now, in this kind of changing times we’re talking about, when kids transition in a little bit into being teenagers. So it is not that I recommend people to follow the same path. But what I mean is that the learning for me has been that you have to do what works for your family, and without letting conventions or other people’s opinions influence you. This has worked for us in this period of time. It might not work, later on, but it has worked and it’s working well, and it’s allowing us to find this harmony. So that’s my little story of my challenge.

[13:36]

Yeah, that is super interesting. Women, I believe, face a tremendous amount of guilt externally and then internally. This is my understanding after conversations with other people, by the way, I’m not personalizing it. But when you have children, you’re either feeling guilty if you’re not working or there’s a guilt, if you are working, and it’s a really interesting dynamic that society, I think, has set this view of what is the right way. And if you can step out of that and operate in a more truthful or self-aware perspective, then you can shake those shackles, forgive the metaphor, of guilt and create an environment that in fact you will raise a healthy, successful family.

[14:45]

That’s true.

[14:46]

But it’s hard!

[14:46]

It’s hard. Yeah, it’s hard. But if you love what you do, you just can’t compromise. As I was saying, something that my mom told me when I was starting my career once when I was pregnant: “Don’t look at the money.” In Spain, it was recession time. And a lot of people stopped working because it was even more expensive to go to work for them than staying at home with their children. It was very interesting. A lot of people were saying: “it’s not worth it for the little bit of more money that I earned. I’ll just stay home with my kids.” And the one thing my mom told me is: “It’s your decision. But if you love what you do, don’t give up. And don’t look at it from a cost-effective point of you. Look at it from the point of view of you’re doing what you love.” And I always follow that, and I think we should all follow that. And if that means breaking a little bit the norm, that’s fine.

[15:56]

Tell me about the research project that you’re most proud of.

[15:57]

Oh, I think I have a very recent one here in this company where I am right now. It has been pain and a reward at the same time. It’s a really huge project, and probably the biggest product piece of foundational learning that the company has ever done. It’s a big project in across all the regions in the world, across different markets that took me probably a couple of years from beginning to end, and taking personal time because I had a small team and it faded away, and I ended up working at it on my own. But it has really helped the organization be consumer-first and understand what the consumer is about.

It’s a huge consumer segmentation about the needs of the consumer. That’s why the consumer is always at the heart of everything. Everything that I talk about. But it’s really about knowing who consumers are, what they value, what they need, and then for us to be able to develop strategies, innovation that meets the consumer needs. So, it’s been a huge one with a lot of impacting the organization. That’s a reason why I feel very proud of this because it has really helped the organization to be more consumer-centric by deeply understanding consumers. And it has really influenced the long-term plan of the company.

And it has literally touched all the innovation pieces we have in our long-term plan. It has influenced the brand’s strategy of all of our brands. It has landed across all the markets and the regions and the functions. And every time I see an image of my project or a mention of my project, from the CEO to a person in another region, a BO  somewhere or a Marketing Director in the region, I feel really proud because it was really tough, but it is really creating an impact. It’s probably the project that I’ve worked on that has been more impactful

[18:12]

I didn’t realize that there’s a lot of confidentiality around customer segmentation in every space. But is there a part of the project that you can share, some sort of nugget that would potentially inform a different decision being made?

[18:38]

You mean sharing?

[18:42]

Businesses, the executives that are making the decisions are looking for information, and that information has to come to them in close to a real time often because they have to make a decision. The speed of decisions just continues to increase. So as you think about a multiyear segmentation, which is a heroic effort, by the way, how are they interacting with that data, the insights that you provided them so they are able to make an informed decision?

[19:19]

So for multiple fronts, on one side is just a unified long width to talk about our consumers or the different segments of consumers and the same language across the whole organization to talk about those needs that consumers have for our occasion, which is breakfast. Then, opportunity identification. Where are the white spaces? Where we’re not playing, which might be very important for consumers that we don’t have a need. We don’t have a solution for them. So it has triggered innovation on that side too. And again, brand strategy also because… and portfolio assessment. We have a pretty broad set of brands, and we need to differentiate them, and understanding who are consuming those brands but also, how do we pull them apart so that they can play in a bigger space? And when we are developing innovation, we also want to be true to the positioning of those brands and who the consumer is. So there have been really different fronts. And then again, opportunity identification, which white spaces for the largest markets are at a global level and then at a regional level.

[20:51]

So tell me about a market research challenge that you are facing today.

[20:57

Nice. I think I might have two instead of one. I think when one is pretty obvious: it’s technology. A challenge is not something negative to me. A challenge is an opportunity, right? But I think in this changing period where technology has completely disrupted the industry over the last 3 to 5 years after a pretty quiet and stable period, I would say, I think we are being good at adapting technology to increase consumer engagement, to reduce the dropout rates, to get more accurate data. I think we have evolved there, but there’s a lot of shiny objects out there that I feel that neither companies nor research agencies know exactly how to use yet and, of course, I am talking about for virtual reality, and machine learning and things like that. So we really need to look for ways to better understand how to use technology with purpose. So I hate when a vendor calls me to say: “Hey, we’re doing a lot of things in VR.” Don’t tell me this. Ask me what’s my business challenge. And I’ll tell you what it is. And then you tell me if VR is the way to solve it, but not the other way around. What do you think?

[22:30]

I 100% agree with this point. So I consult for a number of start-ups, and the biggest complaint, if you want to think of it that way, that I’ve had or that I have, is that oftentimes entrepreneurs will have a great product or service that they are trying to map to a problem. So they start with the technology, and then they’re trying to figure out “Okay, good. Where does that fit? How can I monetize it?” I always say you guys got to reverse the side of it. You know you need to focus on where’s the customer’s pain point in the market. And that represents the opportunity that then you need to apply the technology or the service or however you are banking your solution, so that it adds value to the customer.

[23:27

Absolutely.

[23:27]

So you said two things. That was one.

[23:28]

Yes, the other one, which to me, more than a challenge, is an opportunity. And we talked about it before, that is, consumer empathy. There are studies out there that prove that consumer-centric organizations who put the consumer first are the ones that are performing the market. I don’t know if you’ve read this 2019 Watermark Consulting study? Have you read that?

[23:58]

I am going to. I have not.

[23:59]

So it’s very interesting. They look what happened to the cumulative stock performance of the top Tier 10 and the bottom 10 traded companies in the past 11 or 10 years. And the result was that the leader in consumer experience or consumer empathy outperformed the S&P 500, the American stock market index, by like 45%. And the bottom companies performed way worse. It was something like 70% less than the same average. So there’s proof that consumer-centric organizations do better and because they create value for the consumer, which is what we were mentioning before. So it’s a key focus for us to ensure that basically every decision-making element is based on the consumer. We want to know the consumer better than anyone else. Are there, to the field, which is something that we have forgotten. I think like being behind the mirror is kind of like past those times. So really getting to know what’s the tension?  Who is there? And put consumer-centricity at the center? I mean, right now, we’re trying to create a consumer-centric kind of activity that we are partnering with HR to make the whole company across market regions to be more consumer-centric. So it’s not the role of CI to be consumer centric. It is not their role of our function. It is everyone’s role and responsibility to know that consumer.

[25:56]

Oh yes, this is something that I’ve seen trend in the last relatively recently, where there’s a concerted effort to create consumer empathy across the organization. So everybody inside of the company is thinking about the consumer first in the decisions that they’re making, which of you think about it from a HR perspective is a material shift from how we used to think about things. Organizational clarity is probably the number one biggest challenges of any CEO or CHRO. How do you guys actually empower that knowledge across a large organization?

[26:48]

There are many different things involved. One of them, obviously the most powerful one, is that we have a CEO that is probably the most consumer-centric person of the whole organization. And that helps. He goes to visit markets. In every market he visits, every week, or every couple of weeks, he meets with the consumer. He goes, and does in-home interviews with consumers. Every market he goes. And then he posts back to the whole company what he has learned about the consumer there.

So there is this culture of the consumer must be put at the center, which starts from the top, and obviously our function is a critical piece. We bring the consumer along the process, we use research for learning purposes, not for validation. So we are more about finding agile ways to meet with a few consumers against some intuition to move to the next level or the next step of the journey more than having everything 100% finalized, and let’s just test it and do this huge research, which we also do, and we also do validation. But then we have tools. We have an empathy tool kit that has been rolled out to all the regions on the market. So whenever there’s a project for a brand in one region, they can go down and look at activities and do empathy activities like shop-alongs, or go to the store as if you were this consumer, or meet someone of these characteristics. That kind of thing. The project that I was telling you before has also helped a lot because now we have the same language and knowledge about who these consumers are, how to pull them apart, what are the values that they have, what do they care for, what is the food that they eat. We get to know them much better.

So there’s different tools, but they all walk in the same direction. And I say that, in the organization in the last few months, and especially since the new CEO joined, that our function is a trending topic. Ha! So everyone wants to go and that’s the best position you can be at right, when you have a meeting with senior leaders, and one over the other says: “Oh, I can’t believe they haven’t been seeing the consumer”. Really? They are proud of it. They say: “Really? I saw the consumer last week.” And that’s amazing because that means that they are all preaching what they believe in. Walking to talk instead of it just being words.

[29:35]

There definitely has been a visible, measurable shift at the C-suite with the adoption of insights from a direct connection perspective. There used to be, from the organizations I was exposed to, which I feel it was a lot, a few layers between the special key executives and consumer insights. And now I’m hearing more and more about organizations, even at the CEO level, who are making direct connections on a regular basis with consumers in order just maintain their fingers on their pulse.

[30:10]

Yes, this is great. I mean, what else can we ask for, right? As people who are responsible for a function like us?

[30:20]

Honestly, it is literally the most exciting time in my career…

[30:26]

Yes, I feel the same way.

[30:27]

…for market research and consumer insights in general. Because we quite literally have a red carpet into the boardroom and direct influence. I’m actually very thankful for the Qualtrics acquisition because I believe it created, I believe it is a fact, value association with consumer insights. So thank you SAP for that. The number of calls I’m getting from financial institutes that are looking to make investments and acquisitions in this space is every day, multiple times a day. And that’s from maybe one or two a month rather prior to that acquisition. So every organization is now having to perk up and say: “Wow, that that’s an oversized valuation.” Or is it? And if it is and then they have to understand what that thesis is, and to your earlier point about the Watermark study, who doesn’t want that, to outperform the S&P 500? And the way that you do that is just profoundly obvious, to your point

[31:42]

Now the question is, and that is the reason why it is also a challenge, you have to actually prove, I’m not saying proved with numbers, but there has to be actions or actionable insights in order to maintain that traction. If we as a function are given the trust to go and be the center, let’s say, of any initiative and we do not prove that what we do is actually having an impact in the organization, then the virtual circle can stop. We do have a responsibility to perform and to ensure that, and I strongly believe that, being consumer centric results in better decision-making and therefore, growth for the company. But you have to perform. You have to have a team that is focused on actions. There’s certain elements associated to make that happen.

[32:37]

The ROI on research… We have got to really frame what we do to that point, because it is easy to start retrenching in what I will call the “traditional methodology approach,” which is more validation to your point versus learning. Of course, you have to have both in an organization.

[33:04]

Right. And if the organization invests in the function because they believe that’s how we should do it… But then the company doesn’t perform as expected. Then there is a danger of saying: “Oh, you know what? I thought you were very useful, but you’re not.” So there is also an element on us to make sure that what we learn from the consumer is actionable, is transformed, and that those insights are transformed into things that are actionable and important, and differential for the company.

[33:37]

This gets to the heart of my earlier question, which is market research used to sit as a specific function inside of the organization. And now what I am seeing is market research is giving information and empowering insights so that when the UX designer or the product owner or whoever inside the company has a question, then they immediately have a treasure trove of data that they can then make a decision. And to your point, that is the big challenge. I believe we have to see ourselves as empowerers as opposed to gatekeepers. I think that is something that I’m just seeing over and over from a theme perspective from consumer-based organizations.

[34:35]

Yes, empowerers, story-tellers…

[34:37]

Absolutely!

[334:38]

…influencers.

[34:39]

So there has been a lot of technology that is introduced outside of market research, and market research companies are always thinking about how can we apply this to our space, even though we are not on the early adopter part of the curve. How do you think the market research space is going to be different in five years?

[34:58]

Well, I think technology obviously will impact. We have only started. So I think the digital transformation of channels will happen. So more channels, more complex channels, more blurriness between the online and the offline world. I think that can only increase.

I think is the other element is mobile-only. We are now in transition time. But in a few years I don’t think we are going to be having anymore desktop surveys. I think we are probably already really late but it’s starting to move. Then virtual reality, I think, also as a way to engage with consumers and a way to be efficient, especially for big organizations that operate, for example, in different markets or are across different channels. I think it can be super-powerful, but with purpose again. And then artificial intelligence as well. I think it will become the mainstream data analysis tool. It will save time and be more accurate and will be more accessible. And I think the other element is an even higher need for agility and speed, because people’s expectations are faster every day. They are increasing faster every day. Information is expected to be available now immediately both, I think, from the consumer side but also on the company side. So consumers want things now so they cannot wait for a year until we have the pipeline ready. But companies also need the information of those changes to be available faster. So I do see this trend of less big, robust pieces of information as I was mentioning before, and more agile, do-it-yourself approaches that get you closer to the consumer along the process. I mean, if we look at things like the proliferation of the online communities nowadays, I think it’s a sign of people just bringing the consumer along the journey in a way that is not perfect but it’s going to give you some informed intuition to move to the next stage.

[37:29]

Can you elaborate a little bit on the online community’s point that you just made? I think it is really important.

[37:34]

Yes. I think there has been a broader use of online communities in the last few years, where you basically had the opportunity to have a group of consumers at your fingertips in an environment that is friendlier to them, where they move around in a nice way, and it gives you an agility to find answers or insights or a better understanding that we have never had before. Before, we had a question, and we asked it. You put the question, you take it, you analyze it, and now you can just have your consumers bring you there, bring some questions, read what they say, what they relate to, the comments that they make. And that already triggers something for you to continue working on what you’re having without having a month of stop. I don’t want the perfect report. I don’t need it. I don’t need a 50-page report with every single quote. I can just go in there, and see what they’re saying, and that will help me understand, me or the marketing manager or whoever. So I think that is one tool. But I think it’s a very powerful one that allows agility and consumer-centricity at the same time.

[39:01]

I love that. What are the three characteristics of an all-star employee?

[39:06]

Okay.

[39:10]

And by the way, there’s no pressure because your mom has been in HR a long time.

[39:16]

True, true. Well, I’m going to tell you what I look for in my team, for example, or for myself. I don’t know if it will be an all-star but I’m sure these are the things that are important to me. I don’t know if it will be three. But they are the things I have noticed.

The first one is being action-oriented. We talked about it throughout the whole conversation. We need people that are result-driven, who are having an impact in the work that they do, that look for solutions that are efficient, not from the point of view of working a lot of hours. It’s about making sure that what they produce, that the work that they do is having an impact; it is triggering an action. That is super important to me. And that’s usually related to other skills, such as the ability to influence or having initiative. Usually, those employees who are action-oriented are people who are just nominating themselves for any project that’s coming and have these skills to persuade with the information that they have or to influence with the information that they have. They are always looking for an impact. I think that will be one.

We also talked about the need for agility, and I think that makes me think about the need of being flexible and adaptable. The world is changing every day, and what is a critical skill to me is being able to pivot, to change, to be able to adapt, to be able to navigate in uncertain waters without struggling. I face unclear situations every single day. You need to be able to cope with them, and make the most of it and don’t stress. So again it ties me back to this initiative that we were mentioning before: People who have a better ability to adapt to new environments are usually asking or nominating themselves for a new challenge. Because they want to pivot, they want a change, they look for this movement and not to stay like stiff in the same role. Because that’s also what helps us grow. They see value in it too.

[42:02]

I totally agree.

[42:08]

Also, the other one to me is just having commitment, and having passion. If you don’t have passion for what you do, just go home. Passion and commitment can overcome other skills. You don’t need to be necessarily the smartest person in the world, but if you are dedicated, and you’re passionate, you will make it happen. And to me, that’s very, very important. People need to be motivated to enjoy coming to work every day. We work a lot of hours so you have to care for what you’re doing. It’s just a mindset more than a skill. You just have to enjoy what you’re doing. If you are a passionate person, you will find the way to make whatever you do exciting. I think those would be my three. If a person has all of these three skills, I think they will have also leadership qualities because they will be confident, they will be willing to take challenges, they’ll have initiative, they will be responsible and good communicators. So it all ties together.

[43:32]

I am here taking a lot of notes. I have never heard anyone connect the core values to a byproduct of leadership. I think that is super insightful. It’s funny because it completely drives the type of people that you want inside of an organization, which in an ideal world are people that are moving the needle, and see themselves as empowered, as opposed to more of the Atom rubber stamp-type of a role. And when you think about consumer-centric cultures, that has to be a characteristic of it because you need everybody, from the intern to the CEO, to ask themselves the question “Is this good for the consumer?” And as soon as they feel like “Gosh, maybe it’s not”, they have the opportunity to be able to raise their hand. You can’t do any of that unless they have that sort of mentality.

[44:38]

Agreed.

[44:39]

So I have a couple of questions that came in on LinkedIn when I posted this morning that I was having the pleasure of interviewing you. Do you mind if I ask you some of the questions?

[44:49]

Of course.

[44:50]

So the first one is from Matthew O’Mara, and he asks: “Is it true?” And he claims his daughter believes it is, that cereal can actually be dinner.

[45:02]

Well, I think any food can be eaten at any moment. What do you mean… Idon’t know if I understand what it means when he says it can be dinner.

[45:18]

I think he’s probably in a power struggle with his daughter. I assume he doesn’t want her to eat cereal for dinner.

[45:29]

Oh, for dinner, okay. What I can tell you is that we operate in the breakfast occasion for a reason because we know that we have the ingredients and the nourishment that are relevant at the breakfast occasion because we are products where the category might have some bad press. But actually cereal is a very great option at breakfast. It has all the right elements to be present in this occasion. I don’t want to advocate for anyone to go ahead and all of the sudden have cereal for any meal. I don’t want to get into that discussion, but I know that at breakfast it certainly is a good option.

[46:32]

I think he will like hearing that. That’s probably exactly the answer he wanted. The last question that I’ll ask you, and there are a few more than I’ll follow up with later through LinkedIn, but is from Ted Waz of the Opinion Economy, and he’s asking, and it’s a longer question, but the gist of it is: Do you guys have concerns around what he’s framing as click farms, where you have basically automated respondents taking surveys?

[47:01]

Oh, that’s a good point. That’s a good point. I would say it’s not a strong concern right now, but it’s probably one of the biggest concerns that we’ll have in the future. When we were talking about the digital transformation and the artificial intelligence and all the machine learning coming, I think that will be a very, very big watch-out that the industry is going to have to figure out. I think that is a great question indeed.

[47:41]

So my last question is: What is your motto?

[47:45]

I don’t have a motto but if I had to make one right now, I would say it’s just “do your best”. It seems small but and it might sound probably very cliché, but to me it means just so much. It means that you’re just putting the best effort into everything that you do. And to be honest, it’s probably the only way you can live with the feeling of self-satisfaction. Because even if things don’t turn out, there’s always going to be someone that is better than you, there’s always going to be someone who did an amazing job. But if you feel that what you’ve done is the best that you could, that you have put your soul and heart into it, that is already rewarding. It’s only yours. I think that personal satisfaction is only yours, and you deserve. And that’s a personal feeling that no matter if things don’t turn out, you’ve done your best. That would probably my motto.

[48:57]

My guest today has been Estrella Lopez Brea, Global Head of Consumer Connections at Cereal Partners Worldwide. Thank you, Estrella, very much for joining me today on the Happy Market Research podcast.

[49:10]

Thank you. It was a pleasure.

[49:11]

And everyone, if you please take a few moments, share this episode. You can screenshot it, put it on LinkedIn, Twitter. It would mean the world to me. Also, your ratings on Apple iTunes is a huge benefit in that it creates additional visibility of this podcast to other insights professionals. I hope all of you have a fantastic rest of your day!

Just want to take a moment and thank G3 Translate. They have been a very valuable partner for Happy Market Research podcasts and the work that we’ve been doing here. I greatly appreciate it. They transcribe each one of our interviews, which range from 20 to 40 minutes, for free for us. It is a humongous benefit because it improves overall accessibility of the content that we are creating jointly with the research community.

They have a unique approach. They are able to turn things around within 24 hours. I am very, very grateful for G3 Translate, and I hope that you will consider them for your next translation company project. Take the time. Go ahead, and go on social media, you can find them. Simply Google “G3 Translate”. That’s the number “3”, and you’ll find the website as well as on LinkedIn. It would mean literally the world to me if you take the time to do that. Thanks so much.