Carlos Arambula

VP Marketing & Business Development, Estrella Brands

Carlos brings over two decades in the domestic, U.S. Hispanic, and international marketing arenas on both sides of the brand – client and agency.

Carlos began his career in public relations working on crisis management and political campaigns. In the early 90’s, he made a move to work on the emerging U.S. Hispanic market where he was disappointed at the lack of research resources and data available for strategic development. More alarming to him was the decade old axioms being utilized as doctrine on Hispanic market approaches that failed to properly recognize the characteristics of the fluid and growing segment.

After some years in which he dramatically improved the marketing efforts and returns of clients, Carlos returned to work in the mainstream consumer market with global network agencies that eventually lead him to international work on category and brand development in developing markets.

He returned to domestic marketing efforts working on the cpg, automotive, entertainment and retail categories. With a marketing philosophy refined in developing emerging markets, Carlos applies the techniques to the fast-evolving U.S. consumer environment where the consumer is reached through a myriad of methods, has become more discerning of their choices and often mimics emerging market behavior.

Currently Carlos works with Estrella Brands, an OTC pharma company he co-founded.

Carlos is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in liberal arts focusing on psychohistory, while his left-brain also indulged in the W. Edward Deming’s philosophies taught by the Industrial & Systems Engineering department.

  • Posted on: 06/25/2019

    Are airports now the sweet spot for luxury retail?

    It's a consumer target-rich environment for luxury retailers, so it makes sense. The greatest growth opportunity is repeat business, if the shops behave like traditional brick & mortar luxury stores and conduct CRM programs, have tailors in-store for quick alterations, and develop commerce websites, then the sales efforts will extend beyond the consumer's time in the airport and will increase revenue.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2019

    REI scraps mail order catalog to publish a magazine

    REI is not just a retailer, but a destination -- a source of information to its customers. The brand relationship has surpassed that of a retailer-customer, and Uncommon Path serves to further that positioning. I don't believe many retailers have achieved REI's brand relationship with consumers -- nor will they ever achieve it. Most retailers have to focus on value and that makes the relationship transactional. There are learnings from REI's action and I would encourage retailers to learn their role in the life of their core consumers and adjust communication to it.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    Okay Google, how can you help grow Walmart’s online grocery business?

    I don't see voice-ordering picking up for Walmart in the next year or two. This is an early adopter service and -- I could be wrong on this, Walmart's core consumers do not fit that profile. However, there is value in promoting the service since it does provide a technology frontrunner halo to Walmart and eventually it will gain wider acceptance.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2019

    Will IKEA become the world’s largest furniture rental outlet?

    IKEA will be a disruptor in their category. It's all about positioning. If it's called furniture rental it might not work, however, if it's positioned as upgrading your furniture periodically, as the ability to refresh your home's look and feel, it will be successful. The biggest pro is that it will bring new customers to the franchise, the biggest challenge will be to build the operational infrastructure to support the service. It will be difficult for competitors to react since they are not vertically integrated to support this type of service.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2019

    Will Kohl’s deal with Planet Fitness make its rivals sweat?

    While the consumer demographics for both entities might be a match -- bargain hunters and explorer Millennials -- this deal feels more like a real estate solution with limited merchandising legs. Besides fitness clothing and equipment, how else will the tie-in work? And in apparel, does the fitness gear wearer want to wear a Planet Fitness branded outfit? Will the Kohl's customer stroll the gym and get motivated to join in the gym? Will they see see Planet Fitness as an incentive to visit Kohl's more often? So, yes, it's a good excess real estate solution, but I doubt the relationship will mutually increase traffic to either entity.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2019

    Does the Janie and Jack deal point to a new direction for Gap sans Old Navy?

    It's a good step in delineating differences between Gap and Old Navy children's products. But overall, bringing outside brands to improve their brand position will not be the solution -- just ask J.Crew.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2019

    Will pairing nail salons with shoe stores be a good fit for DSW?

    I like the idea of a service store within DSW, and it looks like the numbers favor nail salons. The "differentiated experiences" appeal eschew the convenience associated with a store-within-a-store concept, which will require the experience to be very real -- appeal to the exploratory nature of Millennials, and social media friendly. Also, services are already a differentiator, and in the future might become the cost of entry.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    What will Angela Ahrendts’ departure mean for Apple’s retail business?

    The Apple brand is currently bigger than any individual leader. So long as the culture remains true to its brand and core customers Apple will continue to thrive.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    Are legacy retailers on the right track or heading off the tracks?

    Approaching evolution as a "me too" and expecting similar results as the true innovators is a failure to recognize that they are following another retailer's playbook. The best possible result is catching up, the worst is unnecessary cosmetic fixes akin to organizing the deck chairs while the Titanic sinks.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2019

    Will Target’s dynamic pricing strategy erode customers’ trust?

    Targets needs to address this issue head-on immediately. Consumers will forgive a slight variation in pricing, or understand if the prices differ so long as it's indicated (online price vs in-store price), but if consumers perceive the retailer is deliberately manipulating them they will be less forgiving.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Which commercial won Super Bowl LIII?

    Two commercials stood out for me because of their strong call to action. The NFL spot. Football participation is decreasing in High Schools due to the the legitimate concern on brain injuries. However, the moment the football hits the floor in the commercial, it reminds us why we played the sport, the fraternity of the sport and perhaps encourage parents not to deprive young ones from the experience. This has been done before for other sports -- think World Cup, but no other sport has "Fumble!" as an immediate call to action. Pepsi. Coke has become the soda category description in restaurants that customers ask for it instead of asking for a Cola. It's a real life situation, and next time the viewer is asked "is Pepsi ok?" he will remember the commercial, perhaps become an ambassador for the Pepsi Brand and answer like Little John. I hope this is a campaign and is introduced as a merchandising element in restaurants and even grocery stores.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Walmart to offer bonuses for good attendance

    It's a win-win. It's not a difficult objective and I would expect some employees to achieve the bonus without any changes in their attendance behavior. The real impact will be felt after the fist bonus are awarded, when those employees who missed out on the bonus realize they could have earned it and will improve attendance in time for the next bonus round.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2018

    Retailing success doesn’t depend on silver bullets

    Technology has changed consumer behavior and expectations. "Always on" consumers and tech savvy companies can build enduring relationships, but all it takes is one poorly trained employee to ruin that relationship. All consumer facing employees, and especially managers, need to be beyond familiar with the company's apps, e-commerce site, and store policies. Also it is critical that customer-service take a bigger role in the training of retail employees or they become a nuisance to educated consumers instead of a positive aspect of the experience. It takes a lot of lead bullets to fix things, but one negative consumer experience can easily become the silver bullet that destroys the consumer-retailer relationship.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: vs. Petco

    Both commercials do a good job of connecting with their core customers. They do a great job in bringing in new customers to the category, but not necessarily to their brand. Ultimately you could switch the branded end-frames in the commercials and nothing will be lost, or gained. All pet product retailers will benefit from these two spots. Both commercials clearly understand pet lovers, but they fail to connect the emotions of the season to their particular brand. The Petco commercial resorts to using their logo on the bottom right corner, but again, simply replacing it with a bullseye makes it a Target commercial. Likewise with simply replacing the box with Amazon's iconic box. A good test would be to show the commercial to consumers once and then ask them later if it was an ad for Target, PetSmart, Amazon, Chewy, or Petco.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2018

    Aldi gets creative for Christmas

    It appears the commercials are a function of the status of the brand development in the three countries. Aldi is unknown to U.S. audiences, so a similar spot to the Australian commercial would be esoteric. The U.K. spot is beautifully produced and it has a bizarre charm to it, but when you are a well known brand, you can push the envelope. I believe Aldi is still introducing their brand in the U.S., so it has to be more didactic. The spot has charming Christmas details and the more consumers see it, the more they will pick up on them and become curious about the brand. One critique is that it is an old-fashioned stand-alone TV spot without legs in social media -- I checked, and it could have easily been extended to their website and social media accounts. Eventually, Aldi's brand might be able to do more ambitious advertising, but for now they need to ensure their advertising works in the consumer environment of the U.S., and extending their message from TV to other mediums would be a good start.

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