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: 08/20/2021

    Have cross-selling and upselling become lost retail arts?

    I've noticed that if the employees earn commission, they are more likely to upsell and cross-sell. If the employee is only on an hourly wage, you are lucky to get a greeting or product knowledge. Proper incentives work to motivate employees — that's a critical variable — or the base, needed before attempting to implement any of the five tips provided to raise the average ticket. You can't expect similar customer experience at Kohl's and Nordstrom.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2021

    Has Target ‘only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible’ for its business?

    Target has done a wonderful job in curating its brand and delivering across all brand promises and attributes. I'm certain -- as with all retailers, there are areas that could be improved. However, when customers talk about Target they are very forgiving of any shortfalls the retailer might have and willing to try new offerings or formats they offer.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2021

    Should grocery stores retire the ethnic aisle?

    I've introduced foreign OTC pharmaceuticals and food brands into the country's grocers and I have mixed feelings about the ethnic aisles. On the positive side, ethnic aisles have served as a stepping stone or proof of the consumer's demand for the product as we push for inclusion on the mainstream category schematic. If we sold very well in the ethnic aisles, we were able to present mainstream category buyers a promotional program with a path to the mainstream aisles. On the negative side, large grocers/retailers assign an outside distributor to determine which ethnic products should be included in the ethnic aisle. This gives the distributor complete control of which products are in the ethnic schematic. Buying decisions are not made according to consumer demand or for the benefit of the grocer, rather for the benefit of the distributor. It's an awful system that lends itself to abuse by the assigned distributor. I favor retiring the ethnic aisles and the assigned ethnic product distributor. Not just due to the abuses by the assigned ethnic product distributor, but because the country's demographics have changed. In some geographies, ethnic consumers are the mainstream, so relegating all ethnic products to a single aisle inconveniences consumers and limits the growth of the ethnic brands and potential sales for the grocer.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2021

    Can Victoria’s Secret shift its brand image from sexy to empowering?

    Female empowerment is no longer a brand position or differentiator, it's the price of entry for any brand that wants an enduring relationship with its consumers. At this stage, VS will be moving into a brand space that has been created and well curated by CPG (think Dove) and other fashion brands. It will not be as impactful as the move once was and it risks getting lost in the wave of "me too" activities instead of creating and owning a unique brand position.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2021

    Will Walmart and Gap be good partners or strange bedfellows?

    Credit both companies for their effort to bring excitement to their brands. Advantage to Walmart since it gains a familiar brand (even if it's in the form of tangential category brand extension. However it feels as if Gap is throwing in the towel in attempting to regain their former brand standing. While I feel Gap Home being offered at Gap stores would draw former customers back in the store, I'm not certain there will be any brand benefit to Gap by being in any mass merchandiser's aisles.
  • Posted on: 05/25/2021

    Do chatbots need to be more likable?

    Consumers are already using voice assistants for simple tasks, they will simply evolve into more complex interactions. I expect chatbots to be just another way to interact with a database, but I believe they can be so much more if personalized with loyalty/club data. It stops being a chatbot and becomes MY chatbot -- a more congenial proposition.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2021

    Should retailers welcome vaccine passports?

    In an ideal scenario, all customers would agree to safety precautions, but in the current politicized environment this would create a point of friction for retail employees and customers. Coupled with that, the operational challenges of enforcing a passport in a state that doesn’t align philosophically with the corporation would be beyond disruptive at this stage.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2021

    Starbucks’ opens green innovation center

    Absolutely. It demonstrates to consumers that the corporation is genuine about its commitment to sustainable solutions by partnering with the university and will also allow them to experience the innovations at their local store. The challenge to corporations -- which Starbucks has addressed -- is that most corporate environmental programs are not tangible, or the consumer rarely experiences the benefits of the programs. Corporate sustainable programs run the risk of becoming noise, just clutter the consumer will ignore.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2021

    Are consumers getting less creeped out about being tracked online?

    Convenience and comfort tend to alleviate concerns. I also believe that personalization will become the price of entry for luxury retailers.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2021

    Schnucks displays St. Louis pride with streetwear store-within-a-store concept

    Grocery stores already have store-within-a-store concepts. I've seen bank branches, coffee shops, dry-cleaners, salons, and QSR. But those concepts are organic to the shopping behavior of consumers, they make sense. Other than sports-team themed seasonal promotional items, apparel shopping behavior is not based on convenience and I wonder how many consumers will want to sport fashions that are obvious grocery brands.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2021

    How can word-of-mouth marketing feel less transactional?

    Consumers will only recommend your brand and become your ambassadors if they benefit from the non-monetary brand association. Word-of-mouth marketing is not a strategy, it’s a tool of a tactic. It all starts in developing a strong brand strategy — including a social conscience, with attributes consumers will want to wear as a badge (sometimes literally).
  • Posted on: 03/30/2021

    Nike says goodbye to more longtime wholesale partners

    I doubt Nike will ever stop reaching "certain customer segments." The presence of the brand in global sports culture, pop culture, active lifestyles, and fashion will ensure almost complete coverage of all potential consumers. Nike is protecting its brand as a premium sports/active life product, and being found in the dusty aisles of a shoe discounter doesn't quite fit the brand. As mentioned above, Nike is a fashion brand, and is behaving like fashion brands do.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2021

    King Soopers: Killed in the line of retail duty

    I understand the discussion question, however, customer service or "customer is always right" did not cause the murders at King Soopers. As a country we desperately need to address the presence of weapons of war (modified or not) in the hands of civilians. Also, let's properly apply "The customer is always right" to the appropriate situations -- it's not a blanket concept, and protect employees and customers from any type of abuse or lethal force.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2021

    What makes some ads more shareable than others?

    Great advertising doesn’t just happen. Once in a great while, some person will simply “think up” a fabulous advertising idea. It’s been known to happen, but it can't be planned. Advertising that captures consumer's attention and are shared virally are the result of a very thorough Communications Strategy steeped in a solid Consumer Insight. Insights are the fundamental human truths your brand connects with. It's the human needs, wants or hopes the brand fulfills delivered in a fresh, unexpected way, that is highly relatable and has the ability to break through past other advertising. It's the "hot-button" that will compel the consumer to share the message with others and act on the call to action. My advice to create memorable and effective advertising is to research your consumer target, find insights on the category, select the strongest and most appropriate for your brand and own it.
  • 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.

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