Kimberly Lam, Global Brand Management, Marketing & Partnerships, Sanzo

Kimberly Lam is the Senior Director of Marketing at Sanzo – the first Asian-inspired sparkling water – where she’s been bridging cultures since 2022. Kim is a brand management and marketing professional with extensive experience in building lifestyle and CPG brands on a global scale. Throughout her career she has focused on both bringing iconic brands like Coca-Cola, Marriott, Delta and American Express through changing landscapes as well as building growth brands like Chobani and Sanzo from the ground up.

Q: Tell us a little about your approach to marketing.

At the core, our approach to marketing at Sanzo is rooted in our mission to bridge cultures (East & West) and invite people to explore Asian flavor. Everything we do from marketing strategy and partnerships to our packaging and community efforts stems from our mission and to celebrate flavor – not only our fruit flavors but also the influence the Asian American community continues to have on mainstream culture.

Q: How were your marketing changed over the past few years?

Our marketing has naturally evolved as our business has grown. However, we’ve remained super focused on delivering both a product and a brand that meets our community where they are in a meaningful way whether at the grocery store or in line to see the latest Marvel movie. That all stems from staying true to our mission to bridge cultures and invite communities to explore Asian flavor.

Q: We’ve heard a lot about the rising role of A.I. in marketing in the past year. How much or how little are you using A.I. or automation in your marketing efforts?

As AI continues to evolve and grow, we certainly have our eye on it and are constantly evaluating what it can and cannot accomplish. While we’re always working towards efficiency and finding the tools that can help us stay nimble, there is a human component of marketing that AI can’t replace. All is to say, we’re exploring what’s out there and whether it makes sense for us.

Q: In 2023, marketers have more channels to utilize than ever, from shoppable social to CTV to the traditional. Which channels are you using? Where are you seeing the most success?

At the stage we’re at we lean in on channels that help drive trial and velocities at retail. This includes in-store demos, field marketing and events, which all allow us to have a 1-to-1 interaction with our community and act as a moment of education about our product. On a broader scale, we’re focused on telling our story and our mission through not only our organic channels, but also key partnerships that help us scale and broaden our reach.

Q: What challenges do you anticipate facing in 2024? How do you plan on meeting those challenges?

Like any SMB, our business is constantly evolving and changing so we always must be ready and flexible as things change. As we continue to compete for mindshare, not just inside beverage, but across categories, it will be important for us to constantly evolve and adapt to stay ahead of the pack.

Q: What is something you’ve learned in your career that you would like to share with young SMB marketers entering the industry?

For young SMB marketers my number one piece of advice would be to trust your gut and your instincts. When you’re at a SMB, you may not have all the resources or all the answers, but if you think about to all your experiences in your life combined both in your career and your personal life, you can probably figure most things out. The other thing I would say is, if you don’t have the experience you want, go out and get it. It’s okay to take a job to learn a certain skill set that you want and then it’s okay to leave and apply it somewhere else with a fresh mind and fresh perspective.