There’s No Room for Complacency in Business

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s Jim Trebilcock Challenges You to Drive Change

Prior to speaking at the 2017 January Economic Club Luncheon, Jim Trebilcock, vice president and chief commercial officer (CC) of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, spoke privately during a roundtable discussion, hosted by his father’s local law firm, Fraser Trebilcock. During this homecoming, Trebilcock used his time to discuss what he’s learned during his time with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and how he’s worked tirelessly to become one of the most successful marketing directors in the country.

Trebilcock is no stranger to mid-Michigan. As a graduate of Michigan State University, where he holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. in marketing, this is Trebilcock’s first home. Now working alongside some of the biggest beverage brands in the world, he resides in Dallas, Texas. During the discussion, it was clear that mid-Michigan and his family shaped him into the poised individual that he is today.

“It’s a real honor to be here at a sponsored event, sponsored by dad’s law firm,” remarked Trebilcock. “Dad always said, ‘do more than what people expect of you. That, I think, is the philosophy – even going into business – I’ve tried to emulate throughout my career.”

This philosophy has taken Trebilcock quite far from home, as he’s continued to explore the marketing industry. Having started with General Mills just out of college, he’s been fortunate enough to work for a variety of other brands; including Coca-Cola. Throughout his career, he’s continued to climb the corporate ladder and now is positioned as a key player for Dr. Pepper Snapple Group; home to brands such as Dr. Pepper, Snapple, Canada Dry, Hawaiian Punch, the newly acquired Bai Water and more. These brands generate some $6 billion in revenue annually, but these profits don’t come easily when considering the competition.

While Trebilcock has proven to be a successful marketer that continues to take on more prominent roles within his company – advancing was never his primary goal. His internal drive and willingness to put his company first are what he attributes most to his success. The idea is one we’ve heard before – work together, as a team. But this doesn’t just happen by default; employees won’t just assume this mentality. This is where Trebilcock identifies a call to action.

“Being a great leader today is about being a great leader of change,” explained Trebilcock. “Being able to take your team where they need to go when they don’t know where to go or how to get there. Developing an inspirational message that people can buy into with their heart and their minds. In this business, you need both.”

Being a leader of change can be attributed to another one of Trebilcock’s philosophies – Rapid Continuous Improvement. This age old philosophy combats complacency. As Trebilcock explained during the discussion, organizations need to evoke the potential for its employees to drive change each day. Employees must be on board or, better yet, on the bus with their company and coworkers. Whether the change is revamping an entire brand persona or recalibrating a mailing list’s efficiency – the concept remains the same: if we fail to continue evolving, the world will pass your company by.

Change is something companies continually struggle with. Change doesn’t come easily, and when Trebilcock brought forth change within Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, it wasn’t a stroll in the park. Nonetheless, an effort to overhaul management was deemed necessary to objectively continue the brand’s success rate moving forward.

“Organizations don’t like change, they like to stay where they are,” said Trebilcock. “You have to create a moment in time where the old way changes — a line in the sand. That’s where the real work starts. I had to let go of a 25-year head employee who didn’t want to be on the bus. That’s not easy. But now we’ve got a guy who’s not only on the bus, he’s helping to drive it. You never want to have to do that, but you’ve got to make hard decisions to create change.”

As the organization continues to evolve, it’s proven to be successful. These hard decisions have paid off, as Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s fight against complacency shows a striking triumph in sales figures, having outperformed its biggest competitors, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, four out of five of the last years. While change is a mentality for your staff and management to behold, Trebilcock laments that the success of an organization lies within each individual’s efforts.

“I realized it’s not about me, it’s about the benefit of the business,” claimed Trebilcock. “Going back to my father, it’s about doing the right thing. We wanted to be the best and that’s what we’ve decided we’re going to be as a team. If you take care of the business, the business will take care of you.”





Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell is a Grand Valley State University alumnus, and currently a Communications Specialist with M3 Group of Lansing. With a passion for all things creative it comes as no surprise that he’s also a musician, movie buff and graphic designer. Adam spends his down time biking, and spending too much of his personal income on concert tickets or vinyl records.

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