Herbalife SVP Patricio Cuesta: Marketing to Millennials
Customers, especially millennials, are a savvy bunch. They demand high quality, exceptional value and detailed information about products and services from the brands that compete for their loyalty. To connect with them on any level, let alone an emotional one, is increasingly challenging. That’s why Herbalife looks to Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing Patricio Cuesta to facilitate a strong customer connection and lead its marketing team to new heights.
“Marketing is my passion – it always has been,” says Cuesta. “And the opportunity to affect the narrative of Herbalife, a company that puts the health and nutrition of people at the forefront, is incredible.” Cuesta first joined Herbalife in 2005 as Managing Director for Argentina, and subsequently was promoted to Vice President of South America (Southern Cone, including Argentina, Chile and Uruguay) in 2007. Since 2009, he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director, South and Central America, where he was responsible for all strategic sales and marketing functions for the region. In his current role, since 2014, he is responsible for all corporate marketing functions, including brand, product and sports marketing at the Los Angeles and Torrance, California offices of Herbalife. He recalls meeting with Herbalife Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Johnson before accepting the position, “Michael said that he wanted to further empower Independent Herbalife Members in their ability to provide support to customers,” says Cuesta. “And he wanted me to help make that happen. I jumped at the chance.”
So what is Herbalife doing to provide enhanced support to Independent Herbalife Members? One way is to provide clarity about its overall mission and vision for the future. Another is to provide easy-to-understand product information and clear clinical research results that reflect in the product descriptions, packaging and supplemental materials of the company. However, it is also the thinking of the company that is evolving. “It’s a new era and our millennial customers are increasingly making healthier choices and placing the focus on their long-term health,” says Cuesta. “They want to know everything we are doing – not just the ‘what,’ but also the ‘why.’ We have to think in those terms. We are a company that offers choices and we have to excel at presenting ourselves that way because each customer has different nutrition needs and wants, whether it’s weight loss, muscle building, endurance or any number of other interests.”
One of the latest choices offered by the company is Herbalife24® CR7 Drive, an advanced hydration sports drink, based on intensive clinical testing and consumer insight. It was created in partnership with international soccer champion Cristiano Ronaldo and targets athletes, a growing sector of the Herbalife customer base. “The story behind Herbalife24® CR7 Drive is incredibly strong. Ronaldo connects with people on a worldwide scale. And as someone who genuinely wants to improve his nutrition, it was a no-brainer for us,” says Cuesta. However, he acknowledges that in addition to the product message, the need to keep nutrition in focus is important. “We have a responsibility in society to educate and promote good nutrition. We need to continue to create a conversation about living a healthy, active life.”
Herbalife continues to delve deeper into better understanding its customers and communicating with them in more effective ways. The company is putting significant effort into maximizing its extensive segmentation research and as a result, better identifying, understanding and serving the needs of its customers. The opportunity for Herbalife Members to communicate with customers in specific terms about weight loss, nutrition, sports performance and the Herbalife brand has never had more potential. “We have the right message, the right product and, as we continue to enhance the way we provide service to our Members, they can run with it,” says Cuesta.