A coffee with… Carlos Corral, CEO of BAUD

Carlos Corral is the co-founder and current CEO of Baud, a leading consultancy firm in Spain.
Baud is dedicated to the creation, transformation and growth of brands and businesses, helping its clients to establish deep and meaningful connections with their audiences through strategy in an intelligent and effective way.

In his career he has led global rebranding projects for major brands such as Bergé, Pullmantur, Osborne, among others, bringing vision to senior management.
With an outstanding ability to implement FMCG brands, he has worked with retail giants such as El Corte Inglés, Carrefour and DIA.
As part of his entrepreneurial spirit, he has also been involved in working with emerging brands such as Aloha Poke, AUARA, MR.BOHO and Manolo Bakes.

For the last five years, Carlos has been a member of the Board of Directors of Aebrand, actively promoting the professionalisation and dissemination of branding.

Empack: Carlos, tell us a little bit about the story of how you decided to start leading Baud since 2011 and how is your way of working?

Carlos: When I was very young, I was lucky enough to join Baud as a founding partner.

It was an amazing opportunity, and it pushed me to pursue a Master’s degree in Brand Management in the US two years later.
When I became CEO of Baud, I had a very clear goal in my mind: I wanted Baud to be the force behind the creation and transformation of powerful brands. The image I had was of a company that not only helped brands grow, but that accompanied them on their journey of change and adaptation to new market challenges.

And today, when I look back, I feel enormous satisfaction and pride in what we have achieved.
We have built a team, a culture and a company that is not complacent, that is always looking to grow, learn and expand. We have kept abreast of trends, innovated and explored new horizons. In the process, we have managed to consolidate our position in the market, and more importantly, we have been there for our clients, accompanying them in their growth and making them relevant to society.

We are a team that through thinking, creativity and taking care of execution has achieved absolutely exceptional results.

Empack: Among all the projects you have carried out, which one would you highlight as one of the biggest challenges and why?

Carlos: During the last 17 years at Baud, we have had the opportunity to face an impressive variety of challenges. Each of these challenges, each project we have undertaken, has been a valuable learning and growth opportunity for us. It is difficult for me to single out a single project as the greatest challenge, as each has marked an important milestone in our company’s journey and has contributed to our evolution and development.

However, some projects have been particularly memorable and have marked milestones in our company’s trajectory. For example, when we created the AUARA brand together with its two founders, we faced the challenge of producing the world’s first water bottle from 100% recycled PET plastic. This project taught us the value of vision over production constraints. Achieving what seemed impossible was a great achievement for which we proudly received an award at Empack.

Working with Osborne on their vision for the future was also an important milestone for us. Our mission was to help them establish themselves as ambassadors of authentic Spanish gastronomy, creating unique and exceptional products. It was a truly complex challenge to unify the diverse cultures of a company with so many relevant brands in different territories in Spain, with different perceptions and such a strong symbology, and we continue to accompany them along the way.

In turn, working with Carrefour allowed us to experience first-hand the complexity of managing a very extensive range of products and collaborating with a multinational company in its manuals with the head office. The manuals and procedures we have developed with them in the field of packaging have also been a great challenge and a significant learning experience for us, and finally, in the last year we have worked on the integral transformation of Clarel. This project represented a major challenge because it involved different growing divisions within Baud, such as customer experience and point of sale transformation. It was one of the most complex projects we have ever undertaken, as we played an active role in changing the business model of a large company. Fortunately, we had the help of exceptional professionals who helped us build what we consider to be the future of beauty and cosmetics in Spanish society.

Each of these projects has been a challenge, but also an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve. They have been tests of resilience and adaptability that have prepared us for the challenges ahead, and I am grateful for each of them.

The best thing about it all? The absolutely extraordinary and differential result compared to what is expected of our sector.

Carlos Corral Baud

Empack: And if we talk about trends, where do you think the evolution of packaging will go in the coming years?

Carlos: Artificial intelligence, blockchain, and other technologies are forcing a global change. Packaging is no exception.

Increasingly, we are going to see a significant shift in the use of materials, with a much more pronounced focus on using recycled and easily recyclable materials.
This shift is not only due to a desire to be more environmentally friendly, but also to a growing demand for transparency from consumers who are increasingly aware and demanding in terms of the sustainability practices of companies and we will need to explain the real differences between materials and products, where there is currently a lot of confusion and demonisation of materials that generate less impact than others that are seen in a positive light.

In addition, we will see a significant reduction in the excess of media and materials in packaging.
The trend will inevitably be towards “less is more”, reducing the amount of unnecessary packaging and finding ways to make it as efficient as possible for the products with the highest turnover.

The trend towards minimisation will affect products and consequently their packaging (solid shampoo for example) with packaging formats that have a reduced environmental impact. This will result in a boom in the use of biodegradable and compostable materials, as well as more innovation in the way packaging is designed and produced.

This does not mean that packaging is going to disappear. Brands and convenience are essential to today’s society, but we must adapt to the demands of a consumer and a society that increasingly wants to preserve what surrounds it.

Empack: If you had to give one piece of advice to the Carlos of 10 years ago, given the unpredictable changes we face every day, what would it be?

Carlos: If I had the opportunity to talk to the Carlos of 10 years ago, I think my main message would be very clear: don’t be afraid and act.

I would also tell him that it is essential to have an ambitious plan of action and not to doubt or think that we cannot achieve a long-term vision. We often go with the flow of the industry, we are content to follow trends without really questioning them or differentiating ourselves radically from our competition.

One of the most important things I would advise my past self is the importance of being honest with yourself and your organisation. It is essential to recognise our weaknesses and to face them with courage, with radical transparency and radical honesty.

Finally, I would say that there is nothing more valuable than surrounding yourself with exceptional people, people who will help you grow, who have scaled their businesses and organisations and have travelled the path you are about to embark on.

Empack: Finally, what do you think of trade fairs such as Empack and Logistics & Automation Madrid, where you were able to participate in the last edition, do you think that this type of event helps the sector and encourages it to grow, and if so, in what way?

Carlos: It is a vital meeting point, a place where the industry comes together to learn, share and collaborate in order to move forward together.

My experience at the last edition, just after the pandemic, beyond the updating and sharing of technical knowledge, the show offered a chance to reconnect with our partners and competitors on a human level. It was a reminder that, while technology and innovation are crucial, the heart of our industry remains people.

Events like Empack not only keep us up to date with technological and industrial advances, but also provide a space for professionals from all areas to interact, better understand the inner workings of our industry and come together to affirm our importance within the Spanish industrial fabric.

There is much to learn and much room for growth, and these fairs play a fundamental role in that process. They create an environment in which we can collaborate to face our common challenges and seek innovative solutions that benefit the whole industry.

Events like Empack are essential to the growth and innovation of our sector, and I look forward to the opportunities they will bring together in the future.

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