Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with VeraContent’s Shaheen Samavati and Ricardo Pereira, EMEA marketing and communications director at FRICON, on the importance of social media:

Shaheen Samavati 0:13
Hi everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Porto-based Ricardo Pereira, Head of Marketing and Communications for EMEA at FRICON, which is a company from Portugal that specializes in freezing and chilling equipment. Thanks so much for joining us, Ricardo.

Ricardo Pereira 0:28
Hello Shaheen, thank you so much for having me and for the invitation. I’m thrilled.

Shaheen Samavati 0:34
Yeah, really excited to have you and excited to have someone from a really different industry that we haven’t really covered before. Maybe you can just start out by introducing yourself a bit in your own words. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

Ricardo Pereira 0:47
My background is multi-sectoral really. I have a background in services, franchising, B2C retail promotion and brand activation. In the last few years on manufacturing, exportation and international organization processes.

Shaheen Samavati 1:10
How is what you do related to content marketing? How has content played into your roles?

Ricardo Pereira 1:17
Yeah, it’s not that difficult. Marketing today will be associated always with a great story. So, content will be really engaging to the audience regardless of the type of business. Every business has a story to tell so every business, in my opinion, has content to share. So people buy brands, brands are the emotional part of the business. So I believe brands can tell great stories, digital channels are facilitating this process. So nowadays, with the sort of channels that we have available today, we can create and shoot content to engage our audiences and make better relationships.

Shaheen Samavati 2:12
So I wanted to ask about how did you get interested in marketing in the first place? What drew you to the position?

Ricardo Pereira 2:20
Look in college, really, my first option wasn’t marketing, it was really my second choice. My first choice was management. But since my first experiences, I have been close and linked with people, business, opportunity development, promotion, communication, so marketing, in a way, was all tied from the first place. It was not my first choice in college, but I have developed with my career, always in marketing.

Shaheen Samavati 2:54
And how did you end up in the manufacturing world and at FRICON?

Ricardo Pereira 3:00
Well, as I have developed a multisectorial background, I always seek to develop new experiences and engage with new opportunities. So I am in the manufacturing industry, in the last seven years. I really believe that industry and manufacturing exportation are a lot of potential. So normally it’s not very sexy at the first point, but it is such a vast territory that we can do a lot of things and new things and be really innovative. So I looked to this sector, it was a great opportunity for me and I had some international experience, but I was looking to develop international business. So exporting manufacturing is the place to be. We work today with more than 100 countries and this is a valued challenge in for instance, content and other mapping variables. So if you want to do different things, this is a very great area because there’s a lot to do.

Shaheen Samavati 4:39
Absolutely, yeah lots of room for creativity. So could you tell us about your role now and what’s your responsibilities and what’s your day-to-day like at work?

Ricardo Pereira 4:52
My daily routine is the strategic coordination by the Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian marketing teams. We have a physical presence in two factories in Portugal, one Spanish business unit, and in Brazil with another very large factory. So, we are physically in these three markets, in these three countries. From these three countries, we manage our business geographically for Latin markets, North American markets, European markets, African markets, Asian, New Zealand and Australia. So we have an interesting business organization and my business here, my role is to coordinate the marketing teams. Actually, I am the coordinator from Latin and Indian markets. Most of all, our team is responsible for communication areas offline, online, inside and outside of the company. So we develop also new business channels and we are closely connected with our business team. So we have a very relevant role, because we do the integration to the data from the market and creating any valid insights for the company. This flow is bi-directional because we do it from the company to the market.

Shaheen Samavati 6:28
So could you tell us more about your target audience and the channels that you use to reach those audiences, maybe how those have changed recently, this year being a unique one?

Ricardo Pereira 6:44
Yeah, our main target are food retail brands and retailers. So we work a lot with food retail brands, ice cream brands, frozen food brands and mostly retailers, this is our core business right now, food retail. In recent years, we moved from the content below the line and we are talking about it a little bit earlier, but the sector in the last year and the challenges are increasing. So, if retailers are focussed in the customer experience and we are part of this valued chain, we must be more sensitive to these questions and we need to work on this path. Earlier, our business was a very tactical business. We are regarding an industrial patchwork relationship with retailers, but forwards we seek to understand better the customer experience and retailers hire us to develop new strategies within to engage more on the point of sale.

Shaheen Samavati 8:04
Okay, but in terms of channels, I imagine you’re doing more digital marketing over the past year, how do you reach your target audience?

Ricardo Pereira 8:18
Well the traditional channels are maintained. Trade fairs are a very important channel for us. From the last year, it’s all changes. So, we have virtual events. We had a physical event in the last year with our partners, local partners. But really from the last two, three years, the digital channels and digitalization was a very important achievement for us. Unfortunately for all of us, but fortunately for our strategy, Shaheen, the last year 2020 and 2021 have validated very well our strategy, because we are able to engage our targets, our channels and we have been able to discontract some preconceived ideas and we have the fortune to start this process in an early stage. So we have been matured, when we need to put on tips on this and it was very important. So it’s challenging, but we have the appropriate institutional line but in spite of that we have a very unique challenge in DNA which allow us to take some calculated risks and allow us to differentiate ourselves and communicate with a differentiated tone. We have made this in the last years. We did not hide ourselves, our brand, our business in the last few years, we kept in constant contact with the market and keep our relationships alive with our partners. This consistent activity raised new levels of confidence with our partners in a 360 degrees way. So more and more people identify with our message, we are humans to communicate with humans with a positive and realistic communication and this is very cool. It’s our brand signature.

Shaheen Samavati 10:53
So you’ve been forced to figure out new ways to connect with people and that’s definitely been positive. Cool. So what’s an example of a campaign or a piece of content that’s worked really well for you?

Ricardo Pereira 11:08
It’s not an easy answer. It’s not easy to choose the campaign or material giving the amount of materials that we produce for a B2B company and a manufacturing company. I would say that in terms of a multi channel campaign, I will point out the 2020, that was one of the most challenging campaigns for our team. It was an offline online campaign, and it still resonates today. It’s great, because we have this feedback from our partners and our trade fair visitors, that maybe this is a three year event, three annual events, and it took place precisely in the pre lockdown weeks in Europe and the world. This is like the last time that the market was filled physically, so it resonates today. In terms of materials, Shaheen, and those that really make our team’s eyes shine, it’s when we are able to work on our real time marketing associated to our contacts, which is very, very challenging, but it’s like everybody’s eyes shine, when we have an opportunity to play with our brand on a real time market. We may reproduce and develop equipments from refrigeration. So it’s great, it’s a very interesting phenomenon here.

Shaheen Samavati 13:04
I wanted to ask you about tone of voice because I actually noticed a lot of your marketing assets are very playful and colourful. What was the idea behind that and why did you decide to take that approach?

Ricardo Pereira 13:19
Well, we had some challenges. First of all, it’s a very interesting challenge. We cannot communicate in the same way in Latin America and Europe. We cannot communicate in some way to Portugal and Spain and we are neighbours. So this is a dynamic exercise, being local, I think is the key. So it’s hard work and demanding work, but in the middle term, it’s the way to establish a brands consolidated basis and ensure that we build long-lasting relationships. Our brand signature is “Cooling Life.” So we have opened the scope from these concepts, and we have given a wide range view from it. So we really can play with something or with a signature that could be very focused and in the same time could be very wide-ranged. So we have different channels and we adjust the day or tone to these objectives.

Shaheen Samavati 14:42
Okay, so kind of the level of playfulness might vary from one market to the next? Or do you use humor across the board, but you have to adapt the humor?

Ricardo Pereira 14:56
Yeah and really the content. This is a very dynamic challenge. The content must be adjusted to different markets, not just in geographic questions but in segment questions. So this is like a Rubik’s Cube that we play every day to improve our engagement and engage more and better with our audiences. It’s a very funny and a very interesting exercise.

Shaheen Samavati 15:40
Definitely. So speaking of adapting to different markets, how do you actually do that? Do you have local people in the markets or who’s actually adapting the messages?

Ricardo Pereira 15:52
As I said before, we developed the main strategy. For instance, from Latin markets, we work within our Brazilian team so we have very local insights with our agencies, or our agents, for instance. So we can really make this almost like a surgery and then we test it. We need to test it. So we can develop the best strategy ever, but if you can not test it, if you can not go to find results, you will fail, I can assure you, you will fail. But you will also learn. So this risk capability, this experimentation, these measures, these analytics, it’s very, very useful for this content development.

Shaheen Samavati 17:03
Then I was curious, how much you’re using social media, how does that play into your strategy?

Ricardo Pereira 17:10
Four years ago, we didn’t have social media. That is a very interesting discussion, because there’s an internal study from an advisory company, and it was written that social media cannot be in our strategy. I was very shocked about that really, and I discussed this with our business team and our marketing team, communications team. How come? How can this be possible, this kind of assessment? What is the data that gives us this information? So we made a pet project, a very outside pet project, and then we make it, test it, fail it. The social media grew a lot in the last few years, and was one of the digital channels for us that’s very, very important in the last year and this year, because, Shaheen, you use it, you use digital platforms, social media hubs, a lot of people use it on the daily basis. So if you are in a business where people are because our customers are people, like me and you. So if we are in these channels, you will probably impact them. So we have improved our social media strategy in the last three years, it was a very little pet project back in 2017 and 2018, it grew a lot in 2018 and ’19. It was maturing in the last year, so it was great. At this point we can say that the content creation and being in social media It’s completely mad. In the last year we opened at least one new market by social media. It comes from here. Okay, it’s one market. We are developing business in this market. It was Instagram. It’s completely ridiculous. Our Instagram B2B channel it was a cool way to engage our client. So the client saw us and okay, this makes sense for me. As a potential business developer, this makes sense, I am engaged with this brand, I am engaged with the solution. I am engaged with the move. So, yes, we have at least one new market from our portfolio that definitely was opened by social media. I had this conversation with some colleagues and everybody says, “Ricardo this is completely ridiculous!” Yes, it is, but it’s possible. So it’s a very powerful channel, our social media, for instance, it’s not just brand awareness, it’s bringing us business, it’s bringing business to our partners, our local partners.

Shaheen Samavati 21:08
Wow. That’s super cool that you have a concrete example of that. It can be difficult to measure sometimes the results from content marketing and social media but if it resulted in a deal, then you know, it’s working.

Ricardo Pereira 21:23
The great deal here is digital marketing gave us and gives B2B businesses and manufacturing, for instance, a new tool of measuring. So in traditional marketing, what can you measure? Very little, very few variables you can measure but with digital tools, you can measure a lot. So we can measure the cause and effect, because I love making these merge, because we have the traditional, give us a very relational mindset and opportunities. But really, we can activate your brand easily today. Yes, there are various channels that are very buzzed. But if you do good work, very consistent work, we will have results.

Shaheen Samavati 22:31
Definitely that kind of goes to my next question about what do you think some companies get wrong when it comes to content or social media marketing? What mistakes do people make?

Ricardo Pereira 22:41
I think really there are two things. My experience tells me that either the organization does not receive the value by for instance, culture or mindset, or whatever, another variable. Or the professional, the marketing professional, the marketing team, the communications team do not have the capability to know his internal client. So therefore, they do not have the ability to influence the company to try it at least. The responsibility, I think it lies with both parties. On the other end, there must be openness by the company and we have that lucky. On the other end, the marketing and communications team, it’s necessary to need to sell this concept. So if you have the two aligned it will probably be a success.

Shaheen Samavati 23:52
Yeah, absolutely, good point. Well, I was curious, what’s your favorite social media channel?

Ricardo Pereira 24:00
I love LinkedIn. It’s a great place to make business. Personally, I don’t like so much Instagram, but Instagram gives us business so I’m completely in love. Definitely, Twitter and Facebook are major and very, very strong social media. So I love LinkedIn it’s so much potential there.

Shaheen Samavati 24:28
Absolutely, especially for B2B and it’s evolved so much over the years.

Ricardo Pereira 24:33
It’s great.

Shaheen Samavati 24:36
So I wanted to ask you, what skills do you think are most important for marketers these days?

Ricardo Pereira 24:41
Not just for marketers, I think professionals in a global way. Good interpersonal skills, definitely. Longer term learning, analytical and ability to close the analytic skills to creativity because we have to be creative to solve complex problems. So creativity for me is not a good picture or a good image, it’s more than that. It’s solving problems, there is a problem, how can we solve this. I think the risk capability, the experimentation skills focus in on analytics, it’s very important for marketing professionals right now. Being different, involved and evolutionary. I think really that the marketing professionals right now have a great opportunity to really put in practice the other theory that is making change happen. So I believe that if you really have these features or the skills you have great success in yourself professionally and personally.

Shaheen Samavati 26:06
Absolutely, so I wanted to move to some of your recommendations and tips, your personal recommendations. First of all, do you have any tips on productivity, tips or hacks?

Ricardo Pereira 26:19
Yes, I have. Wake up early, don’t go to bed too late. Know your brain. This is not for everybody, but if you understand your brain and your body, you will be more productive. Being a marketing professional or professional all around, don’t be afraid. Try it at least. If it fails, do it again. If you don’t like to wake up early—try it! Try it for one month and learn from it, if it’s better for you or not.

Shaheen Samavati 27:03
Yeah, worth a try.

Ricardo Pereira 27:05
Yeah, worth a try I think!

Shaheen Samavati 27:07
Definitely. Who’s a professional role model or a source of inspiration?

Ricardo Pereira 27:14
Well, I don’t have just one role model. In terms of work ethics, I will say my parents definitely. I have my mentors you know, people who have helped me and continue to help me to develop myself professionally and personally, not only in my company, but in those I have been before and institutions where I studied. So I consider myself, this is awkward, but I consider myself a hybrid, a working progress. So working all day on improvement.

Shaheen Samavati 28:04
Awesome. So you have a favorite marketing or business book to share?

Ricardo Pereira 28:10
Yeah, lately I have a special passion for them. It’s not lately really, it’s a long lasting passion. It’s not all marketing, I am from a management but with a very human sciences background. So people psychology, scientific areas that I find very interesting. So lately I am studying more about neuro marketing because I’m fascinated with the brain and people. So it’s not really new, but I’m investing some time right now. I normally would say that marketing professionals should study at least one or two hours a day, not every day. We need to leave the rest for the weekend—your brain will appreciate it. But one of the books in this area is Friction from Roger Dooley. I find it very interesting and I will not make any disclosure because I hate that. I will recommend Friction. I think most of us will love some of the questions featured on the book.

Shaheen Samavati 29:41
Awesome, I definitely have to check that one out.

Ricardo Pereira 29:44
Tell me, I hope you like it!

Shaheen Samavati 29:47
Cool, then any software tools or apps that you discovered recently?

Ricardo Pereira 29:53
Well, unfortunately I use too many. I’m in a detox process. I think the questions of quarantine and the lockdown put a very digital framework on everybody. This is great for business and brands and very challenging because it is great for one hand, on the other hand, we very quickly find out ourselves struggling with new challenges. I personally, I have found myself in this paradox. So I am in a detox process. This phenomenon is very important for me, I do not use mobile phone at home after working hours. I have, with my family, limited the space for using devices on the weekend, because we want to engage more with each other and I can read a book with my son, and he’s reading a book, I read the book, I can play more. If I have got the device in my hand—it’s a very important professional tool for me—but if I have it in my hand, I cannot be able to engage better with my family, with my son. I will not be there. I will not play, really, with him. I think we need to find this balance from the software tools, apps technology, which I’m completely in love with and the ability to switch off. It’s not easy.

Shaheen Samavati 31:50
Yeah, very important. They’re addictive—technology is addictive.

Ricardo Pereira 31:57
They are very well designed with this purpose.

Shaheen Samavati 32:05
Well, I just wanted to ask if you have any other recommendations or resources for marketers, whether it’s digital events or in person?

Ricardo Pereira 32:20
In a global way, most of us will drink the information from, I don’t know, 10-20 different fountains. But I have found a very interesting event. It’s a major event in Europe for management and marketing. It occurs for almost 40 years and this year in Portugal, with normally before the pandemic 5000 visitors in this event, with dozens of first-level speakers. The QSP Summit will be this year…I definitely will be there. I hope it will be a physical event. Maybe not, it will be a digital event. But I will invite you to be there, it will be great. Some little bird told me that it will be great.

Shaheen Samavati 33:27
Okay, definitely check it out. Hopefully, we’ll have an excuse to go to Portugal. So we’re reaching the end of the interview. So I just wanted to ask if you have any final advice or takeaways for other marketers?

Ricardo Pereira 33:41
I think the advice I have said before is don’t be afraid. Try it, fail, do it again. Don’t be afraid. Try it, fail it, do it again. Don’t expect the world to give you the opportunity, the world will not give you the very perfect opportunity. I find myself often with some new marketing professionals and normally the advice is you can create your own opportunities. So go create it, there will be opportunities, there will be challenges. But you can create and you will create your own opportunities. So this is the advice for someone just starting out now. Don’t be afraid, try it, fail it and do it again.

Shaheen Samavati 34:44
Great advice and a great note to end on. Just before we wrap up, for anyone who would like wants to know more about you or about what you do at FRICON, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

Ricardo Pereira 34:53
Find me at my LinkedIn profile. Send me a message. I will answer you definitely.

Shaheen Samavati 35:00
Okay, perfect. We’ll include the link to your LinkedIn on the blog post that goes along with this episode. Well, it’s been great. So thank you so much, Ricardo, for sharing your insights with us.

Ricardo Pereira 35:12
Thank you so much. I hope I have been useful. I want to thank you, Shaheen, for your amazing work with the VeraContent platform. I didn’t know it before your invitation in the last year, but I am a huge fan. I can assure new marketing professionals to please follow it, it will be great for you. So many insights, so much knowledge sharing for free, an awesome job.

Shaheen Samavati 35:47
Thank you so much. I really appreciate the shout out. Awesome that we have a fan. So thank you again, Ricardo.

Ricardo Pereira 35:56
You have a lot of fans.

Shaheen Samavati 35:57
Yeah, definitely. So we’re looking forward to staying in touch in the community, in The Content Mix and VeraContent community. Thanks again for being on the podcast.

Ricardo Pereira 36:07
Thank you so much for having me and for the invitation.

Shaheen Samavati 36:11
Thank you and thank you everyone else for listening in. For more perspectives on content marketing, check out, as Ricardo suggested. Keep tuning into the podcast for more interviews with experts. See you next time. Bye.

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