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: 03/05/2021

    Will Tonal shops help Nordstrom strengthen its fitness cred?

    I believe that while many folks will swarm back to their gyms once the pandemic is over, many more will continue with the home gym -- provided they have the space for it. Why would you ever want to go back to the gym if you can do the same in the safety of your home? It's not the fitness equipment that will be tossed to the curb, but the gym memberships.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2021

    Will Tonal shops help Nordstrom strengthen its fitness cred?

    I believe Nordstrom is better suited -- no pun intended -- than Lululemon to enter the fitness technology arena. You would be hard pressed to find another premium retail brand that could do this. It's a smart move by Nordstrom and Tonal. As stated Nordstrom's active category doubled in the 4th quarter and I'm certain the numbers for men's and woman's suiting and formal are atrocious -- all a function of the pandemic. Tonal is an affinity brand for Nordstrom's core consumers and like all new technology it will benefit from having a showroom at Nordstrom. Conversely, it strengthens Nordstrom's growing active category and brands and aligns with the branded shop-within-the-store concept (like Suitsupply). Even without the pandemic, this would have been a smart move by Nordstrom to strengthen the relationship with their core consumers as the demographics shift.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2021

    Is off-mall where it’s at?

    While I believe older malls will fall out of favor with consumers, the newer, modern, more cavernous indoor/outdoor combo malls will survive. Some retail brands are destinations. Most are not. Most benefit from the traffic created by destination retail brands. B&BW is on the latter group. Betting the brand's survival on the performance during the pandemic is myopic. Instead, B&BW and all retailers need to become innovative and develop a vision of how they will survive moving forward -- especially a retailer that relies so much on in-store sampling and impulse purchases.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2021

    Do rivals need to follow Costco’s minimum wage lead right now?

    Absolutely. Costco already has a halo when it comes to retail employment, so becoming the pathfinder on this issue only increases its appeal to the labor force. It’s a competitive advantage, enhancing wages and benefits will pay long-term dividends with employees and good-will from consumers. I believe few companies will follow-suit unless it becomes a public relation nightmare and consumers begin to reward and favor patronizing only the “employee-friendly” businesses.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    How did QR codes go from DOA to killer app?

    The more we rely on mobile devices, the more relevant QR codes will become.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2020

    What will it take to get shoppers back into stores in 2021?

    Aside from safety issues due to the pandemic, retailers will have to adapt and/or evolve. The schism between online convenience and brick & mortar needs to be closed and integrated, it needs to be seamless. Brick & mortar employees need to be trained to extend customer service to online sales and include virtual sales as part of their offering. Product availability should be beyond the store inventory and customers should not feel they are on their own navigating the retailers' website but guided by a knowledgeable store associate. Retailers like Nordstrom are already doing this and it's aided by the incentive that sales associates have the ability to earn from online sales.
  • Posted on: 12/09/2020

    UK retailers try to top themselves with 2020 Christmas spots

    I believe the John Lewis/Waitrose commercial is more engaging and viewers will enjoy it and watch whole many times over. It's a timeless holiday message with many charming details, and it's memorable. It's what you expect and welcome every year from the retailer. The effort by Hafod Hardware, well it's a long set up that lacks engagement, will not earn multiple views, and ultimately delivers a preachy message that while contemporary is not one consumers want to be reminded about -- they are already living it.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2020

    Barnes & Noble counts on store managers running its business better

    It's ironic that the tools used by indie bookstores to compete with national chains are the same tools needed by national chains to compete with Amazon. The difference is that B&N might have the resources to fully fund local customization. It also feels like this is a critical step -- beyond pros and cons, for the survival of the chain. Purchasing behaviors and technology have limited B&N options.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2020

    Is IKEA making a dumb mistake ending its catalog?

    It's a smart move that should've been made years ago. The shopping and buying behavior of IKEA's starter-furniture target demo has evolved beyond the tangible catalogue. What was once an effective tool is now as relevant as phone books, and the resources should be spent on enhancing online shopping and customer service options.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2020

    Costco makes everybody mask up

    I'm on board with requiring 100% of customers to wear a mask. I'm not in agreement with customers being allowed to wear a face shield instead of a mask under any circumstances. A shield does not prevent a Covid positive patient from infecting others. Further, the shield creates two paths for exhaling (mostly down, some up). In a place like Costco where tables and shelves are below waist level, an infected customer places all visitors in unnecessary risk. As we enter another peak of infections -- higher than the last two, I hope common sense prevails.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2020

    Is it the right time to open an experiential, socially-distanced toy store?

    It is never the proper time to open a retail environment that's one step away from disaster. The safety proposition is not a deterrence to infection, it's a legal proposition that might not offer the retailer the protection it deserves. It makes sense that toy sales have increased. I'm certain parents are seeking stimulating play while the children are stuck at home, and there are other methods to promote and increase sales without having a gathering location.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2020

    Should Trader Joe’s have gone public with COVID-19 rates?

    It was the right decision. Imagine if the information was released by another entity? Or by employees? The information is as critical to the store associates as it is to consumers. A lot of TJ's stores are small -- claustrophobically tight and crowded during the holidays. Right now, retail stores that have been pro-active and transparent are getting rewarded by consumers who are willing to adopt new shopping behaviors for their safety. The pandemic is far from over -- common sense will prevail.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2020

    Can relevant digital ads be too relevant?

    It's an issue of pitching to the converted -- who is likely to have a brand or product preference in place already -- vs pitching to the potential market. In emerging categories, or when targeting a category with a very low consumer penetration, it is always better and sometimes easier to grow the business targeting new entries to the category, instead of a small number of consumers already loyal to a competing brand.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2020

    Could Authentic Brands be the lynchpin in J.C. Penney’s turnaround?

    The core consumer demographic that currently shops at J.C. Penney would never describe the retailer as "fashion destination." To attempt this route, would alienate any remaining loyal customers and instead of elevating the Penney brand, it would erode the values of brands like Brooks Brothers and Lucky. As a brand, J.C. Penney needs to redefine it's positioning and adding better known brands to its aisles is short-sighted -- not to mention the loss of value to the brands.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2020

    Lululemon is ready to tackle holiday crowd control

    Informing consumers ahead of time is very smart. It narrows the "safe" retail shopping options consumers will have this coming holiday season. Aside from curbside pickup which has been comfortably and effectively used by leading retailers for the last six months, the digital educators are particularly appealing. A well trained sales force can bridge online and brick & mortar sales for consumers who prefer the retail store interaction.

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