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: 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.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2020

    Will Lowe’s new push turn rentals into a tool for growth?

    Tool rental is a big business, I can see Lowe's carving a piece of it. What I want to know is how the ancillary services and sales will be affected? What will be the positioning compared to Home Depot or the other business that cater to the professional/trade industry? What is Lowe's positioning to the "ambitious" DIY customers? Will they co-promote tool rentals and, for example, lumber sales? Will they focus on repair or new projects? On the surface the decision appears logical and organic to their operations and the space Lowe's occupies in the consumer's mind, but it is difficult to formulate expectations with the scant information provided.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2020

    Grocery CEO to anti-maskers – Got a complaint, call me on my cell.

    It's a very effective manner to empower frontline employees and placate customers transferring their fear and frustration of the situation to retail employees. I'm not certain if Ms. Spires has placed herself in danger. Other than the narratives and online videos, we can't quantify how big of a problem wearing a mask is for customers, or even if objection to a mask is warranted -- and there appear to be regional differences. What is certain is that Ms. Spires has clearly placed a priority on the health and safety of her employees and customers and has taken a bold approach that common sense will reward in the short and long term.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2020

    Does a co-working concept make sense for Starbucks’ business?

    It's already happening. The coffee shops in the suburbs are packed with folks on their laptops and phones and the Starbucks locations near business centers are pre and post meeting hubs. This is happening not only domestically, but abroad as well. If Starbucks begins to cater to their core customers' needs at the aforementioned locations, they will profit from it. I'm not alluding to a modified WeWork model, rather a model that fits the current consumer behavior that is not currently monetized.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2020

    Can Payless avoid past mistakes with its new comeback effort?

    I believe if it could work, it appears Payless has redefined their positioning and space in the retail world. Payless's biggest challenge will be to maintain their deliberate relaunch.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2020

    Has retail permanently downsized?

    It will be years before retail industry employment returns to pre-pandemic levels. Smart retailers like Nordstrom are shifting sales associates to fulfillment roles for curbside or online orders. The issue will be that unlike sales positions, fulfillment roles don't allow for commissions and the wages are not living wages, so the incentive to work in retail will diminish. The quality of personnel and longevity with an employee will decline.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2020

    Best Buy connects strong sales to frontline worker performance

    All employee training will benefit the bottom line and if Best Buy is adapting to new consumer purchasing behavior, they will gain momentum as we eventually exit pandemic safety rules. There are other factor benefiting Best Buy right now as well: shelter-at-home makes home entertainment systems, computer systems and ancillary products desirable purchases and the retailer squarely occupies that space.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2020

    How can retailers cope with anxiety about the future?

    Constantly communicate to your employees and your customers. Share what steps are being taken to protect employees and customers, and tell them it will continually be improved as learnings are gathered. Don't deviate from the posted notices, e-mails or any other communication. Transfer and adapt best in class service philosophies to the current environment. Acknowledge the unprecedented situation and evolve continuously.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2020

    How will digital transform trade shows?

    The ability to engage and foster relationships beyond the immediate tasks-at-hand will be eliminated, however, it might open the opportunity to other yet unknown beneficial variables.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2020

    Are store brands set for a big growth spurt?

    There are currently more factors driving private label. Supply lines have been disrupted and consumers are being forced to explore different brands, friendlier prices, and drastically changing their purchasing behavior. The pandemic is unlike any past downturn, we don't know exactly how, but we know it's happening. All marketers need to reevaluate and adjust accordingly.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    Should Apple and other stores require shopper temperature checks?

    Not to devalue temperature checks, but I don't believe they will prevent the spread of the virus from an asymptomatic customer or employee. The best protection is everyone wearing a protective face-mask, gloves, and observing the proper hygiene and prophylactic measures to avoid spreading and getting Covid-19.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2020

    What will it take to fix J.C. Penney’s shrinking sales problem?

    It feels like organizing the deck chairs as the Titanic sinks.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2020

    Retailers go into business triage mode as coronavirus enters the U.S.

    It's a compounded list of challenges affecting every aspect of the retail industry. There is no reference point from which to proceed, so how do you account for an uncharacteristic 47% drop in traffic to the stores? I do think the aforementioned issue is a symptom of the larger problem, and that is the lack of trust in government -- and the current administration's rambling and incoherent public statements just add to the public's fear. Aside from lowering expectations on sales for the season -- which is a moving target, they need to reassure their consumers and employees that it is safe to shop in their stores and a safe place to work. I'm not certain how that is done, or even if it can be done. But there are basic things they can do: recognize the situation and communicate with employees and consumers, enact policies like no hand shaking (and promote it, consumers will understand), tissue boxes by all registers, hand sanitizers, basic hygiene tips, and POP addressing the health threat and demonstrating awareness. Ultimately, an epidemic will have devastating effects on the brick & mortar retail business, but there are steps and policies that can be enacted to mitigate the current downturn.

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