Gama spoke to Paco Recuero, Marketing Director, Pernod Ricard Spain.
What are your day to day activities as Marketing Director?
As Marketing Director of Pernod Ricard Spain, among the top 5 companies within the Pernod Ricard group, I am leading a young and talented group of 40 marketing professionals, ready to challenge the status quo of the Spanish market through innovation, digital integration and a consumer-focused strategy. My role within the company is to ensure the construction and implementation of an efficient portfolio strategy based on market premiumization and innovation that allows us to consolidate further our market leadership.
What key trends do you expect to shape alcoholic drinks innovation in 2015?
I expect 3 key trends in 2015: NPD in Premium Gin and Super Premium Gin, Brand Social Responsibility, and new spirit drinks made of whisky.
In a spirits market that has declined since 2007, the only spirits category which has managed to grow is gin (where Beefeater Gin is the undisputed leader), thanks to its increasing penetration in all age segments and the dynamism of the Super Premium segment.
It is therefore to be expected that new product developments in gin will continue, either to exploit this amazing trend or to cover untapped consumer needs.
Meanwhile, despite performance in Premium Dark Rum and Premium Scotch Whisky having worsened, both categories have been the subject of innovation. Within the rum category, we have launched products which target Millennials such as Ron Ritual by Havana Club, and are focusing on brand social responsibility (a new but unstoppable trend in the world of spirits) and also the positive impact that a brand can generate in society (for instance our Movimiento Ritual campaign). As for Scotch whisky, for the first time ever in the mature whisky market we have seen how tradition and authenticity can be combined to create a spirit drink made of whisky with the zest of Brazilian limes (Ballantine Brazil Scotch).
What should companies do to be successful in the current economic climate?
Our commitment as market leaders has always been the premiumisation of the market through continued strong consumer investment in our brands, a strategy based on value generation (despite the aggressive price promotions in the off trade) and high quality products that can be enjoyed responsibly by our consumers.
We are fortunate to have leading or co-leading brands in almost all our categories (Beefeater, Absolut, Ballantine´s, Havana 7 etc.) and as such our approach has been always to build strong brands through credible strategies.
Which markets (countries) or consumer groups currently offer the greatest growth opportunities for FMCG companies?
Despite the aging population in Europe and especially in Spain, Millennials are the most attractive and interesting target group for both spirits and FMCG companies. The anticipated economic recovery in Spain will bring more opportunities to build new and better relationships with these consumers.
The development potential of Asia and India, in terms of premium, super premium and luxury products (such as Chivas and Martell), as well as Africa, offers major growth opportunities.
How do companies best achieve growth in developed or saturated markets?
Spain is an example of how you can grow in mature markets. The key is to work on innovation, seeking new unexplored opportunities for consumption and new rituals to open up opportunities. Of course, for us this is always by means of market premiumisation.
From a marketing perspective, how is the way companies are looking to reach and engage with consumers changing? How can a brand successfully resonate with consumers?
Beyond traditional media (TV and OOH), which will still be used to achieve high coverage, digital has become the key touchpoint to talk with our different targets. But digital implies more than just using technology. The first thing to do is to make our employees “digital” to understand perfectly how this works. They should know everything about digital companies, including business models, community management, social networks and so on.
The second step is to put the consumer at the centre of our strategies. We should empower consumers to make them part of our initiatives through methods such as open platforms, crowdsourcing etc.
Finally we have to put data analysis at the centre of our strategies and use this to enrich our conversation with consumers (CRM, e-commerce etc.) and ultimately to obtain additional sales.