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: 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.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2020

    Crate and Barrel marries human expertise with tech advances in a new concept store

    I believe the human expertise will ultimately be the biggest draw. I believe consumers would forgo the technology if the human expertise is beyond that of competitors with tech. There are many national and regional competitors offering technology -- from simple to sophisticated, to customers, but ultimately no amount of technology can replace a well-trained and knowledgeable customer service sales force. Also nothing is more frustrating than a sales rep with technology he doesn't know how to utilize. C&B can differentiate from competitors by positioning their human expertise aided by technology to help consumers make better decisions. Consumers will return to a store looking for the human expert, not the tech.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2020

    Can a new off-price retailer find treasure without opening stores?

    I appreciate Cara Cara positioning itself as a "treasure hunt" but that's all it is, positioning. It's not a business plan, nor is it unique. Moreover, the site's current offerings are rather anemic, not a good option for off-price retailer customers and an immediate disconnect and failure to live up to the positioning.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2020

    Can luxury retail attract a new generation of shoppers?

    Products have to be relevant and the brand and manufacturer values have to align with today’s socially conscious customers. However, customer service and a well-trained sales force are paramount for a luxury retailer. Consumers can purchase the same items via a variety of channels and across different price points, but a well trained sales rep who listens, caters to, and anticipates consumer’s needs is a luxury.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2020

    Which commercial won the Super Bowl?

    It was an interesting batch this year with most commercials borrowing equity from celebrities. The good thing about celebrities is that it leads the viewer to an immediate emotion when done right (like the anxiety ridden Tide commercial) but it can also render the spot forgivable when it places the celebrity into a forced, or unrealistic situation. Jeep was clever in not only using Bill Murray, but also one of his more memorable roles in a movie that has become part of our vernacular (having a "groundhog" moment anyone?). The contrast of the day when Jeep was involved made consumers feel as if they were watching scenes that had been left out in the movie editing and how Jeep will make any dull, or repetitive moment, more interesting. While I appreciate the poignancy of the Google spot, I felt that it failed to capture the benefits of the product for the target audience. Moreover, it doesn't differentiate Google from the similar competitive products -- many of the spots failed this task.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2019

    Study: Consumers don’t enjoy doing their holiday shopping online

    Nothing beats a retailer with well trained and knowledgeable personnel. Not a lower price, not avoiding leaving your couch and the comfort of your laptop/tablet/phone, not home delivery. E-tailers and consumer direct brands need to mimic best-in-class behavior of brick & mortar store if they want to avoid the poor holiday shopping experiences.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Is e-grocery less convenient than shopping in stores?

    The role of the retailer is to make it easier for consumers to purchase online, tools like Tesco's will only aid in increasing online penetration. Well known packaged goods are easy to bring online, consumers trust them. Commodities are price driven and online sales will not change purchase motivators. The challenge is for fighter brands, new products, and innovation (including sub-brands). But it's not the role of the grocer to encourage product comparison or recommend trial. Ultimately, suppliers have to provide the incentive to online consumers if they want to compete in the online space with exclusive online incentives to encourage comparison and trial or proprietary online presence that lead consumers to the grocer's online site.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Will debt-free college make Chipotle the place to work in the restaurant biz?

    It's a cosmetic and affordable public relations program for consumers to feel good about the brand. If Chipotle wants to retain and help the majority of its employees it should simply increase wages. Consumers know that most QSR employees are adults needing to make ends meet, the idea of the student working part-time to cover costs is, unfortunately, not our current reality. I applaud Chipotle for the program and I encourage them to increase the funding of its program. But if they are after employee retention and building goodwill from consumers, then increase wages. Consumers and employees will reward them for it.

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