Sergio Esteves is the Global VP of Brand Experience at ZX Ventures. Sergio started out in IT and first joined AB InBev as its Technology Manager, but after a couple of years, he asked to move into marketing. Since 2004, he has managed innovation, trade marketing, insights, consumer promotions, connections and branding for some of the biggest beverage brands in Brazil. He now leads our Brand Experience team for the AB InBev startup company, ZX Ventures. Sergio recently sat down for an interview and shared some of his thoughts about working with AB InBev and ZX Ventures.
What do you think is the most useful personal characteristic someone needs to succeed with ZX Ventures?
I always look for people who are not afraid to take risks and think big. We constantly find ourselves needing to do things that other people dismiss or call impossible. Here, we say that the impossible is something we need to do every day; it’s the miracles that take a little more time. We need people on board who have ownership mentality and the will to dream, to push boundaries, and work hard to achieve goals. People said it was impossible to open seven brewpubs in six different countries in less than one year, but we’ve done that. It was crazy, but we did it. It is also really important to be humble enough to see where there are gaps in our offerings and hungry enough to want to fill those gaps. We love gaps.
What types of gaps have you filled? Do you have any examples?
There are so many areas where you can make money from the paraphernalia that surrounds beer. People used to look at glassware or chilling buckets as marketing gimmicks. They were a way to spread the brand name but not a way to create revenue. We looked again and realized there were some real revenue opportunities that other beer companies were missing. Or licensing work—there are some fabulous soft drink companies that have done amazing business from licensing, and we can learn from their success.
That’s what AB InBev is all about: having the opportunity to reach for your dreams, take risks, and be responsible for your own success. You have to be willing to face the consequences of failure, but you also get to enjoy the rewards when you do well. I’ve now done almost every job we have within marketing. It’s been a fantastic journey, and it’s continuing now with our new startup company, ZX Ventures.