Pernod Ricard: Lillet Case Study
04 Dec 2014|Mark Whiting
This paper presented at the 2014 annual ESOMAR Congress describes the thinking behind, the ambitions for and the challenges faced in developing an actionable and differentiated approach to generating and leveraging insights at Pernod Ricard. The resulting five-step process, known as A.L.I.V.E., was framed and executed in the humanistic and entrepreneurial spirit of Pernod Ricard’s way of building “passion brands” (living brands), where deeper connections with consumers and generating advocacy are the driving ambition.
Lillet is a premium aperitif for cosmopolitan, successful women aged 30-45 (defined as the “Trendy Chic” segment at Pernod Ricard). Created in 1872, from a blend of Bordeaux wines and fruit liqueurs, it was acquired by Ricard in 2008; in an aperitif category that is growing strongly in many markets (e.g. Germany + 19%), it is considered to have strong growth potential.
Lillet was the first brand to undergo the A.L.I.V.E. experience and featured as a case study during the initial launch workshop – it thus benefited from the brainpower of over 70 insight team members as well as the core marketing team who also attended the session. The work that was done on Lillet by the team started with a definition of the brand’s consumer challenge within the context of the aperitif moment opportunity. In this way, the brand’s business challenge (the usual language in which brand growth is discussed at Pernod Ricard) was translated into the underlying consumer challenge which, if resolved, would deliver growth.
With that challenge in mind, clues taken from previous consumer research conducted in the US and Germany were given to the workshop participants who themed them and then applied a number of insight-generation techniques that are commonly used at Pernod Ricard (such as the ‘why ladder’, thinking about ‘unspoken truths’ or looking ‘for unresolved tensions’).
Typically an insight generation session in an A.L.I.V.E. process, where the quality of the insight is favored over quantity, might deliver two or three insights; in this instance, however, with 70 people working in 9 teams, the 90 minute insight generation session produced around 20 unique insights. Each team then chose one insight and proceeded to bring it to life through a cover page exercise as part of the Energize module.
Finally, the teams participated in an ideation session with the aim of generating a range of smart activation ideas; many of which have been deployed in the 2014 marketing plan in key markets such as France, Germany, Switzerland and the US:
- Celebrity partnerships were established with “trendy chic” icons such as Sara Singh the fashion illustrator and Julie Ordon, a Swiss model (and the epitome of trendy chic style) who has launched her own range of jewelry;
- To respond to the target’s desire to feel that they are living exclusive experiences, Lillet has developed PR activities. For example, from next year, private bottling parties and private batches (with a limited number of bottles) will be introduced;
- Pinterest has been identified as a key touch point for connecting with the trendy chic (who like to curate all the elegant objects in their lives) and design and lifestyle boards have been launched;
- Because one of the insights identified an opportunity for Lillet to be positioned as an alternative to a classic aperitif thanks to its lightness and elegance, Lillet lead the “Low Octane Seminar” at the Tales of the Cocktail® event (in New Orleans), the world’s premier cocktail festival, which brings together the international spirits community for five days of what’s now, what’s new and what’s next in bartending;
- And finally, the Lillet Vive, a signature cocktail known for its lightness and convenience (the two key drivers behind how the target choose which cocktails to serve to their guests at parties) has been the focus of the brand’s in-store communication.
Since the workshop took place, the brand’s growth trajectory has moved up strongly and it is on the way to achieving its objective of doubling its sales’ volume by 2017.
Nathalie De Rochechouart is Global Marketing Development & Insights Director at the Pernod Ricard company in Paris, France.
Kim Gaspar is the Market Research Best Practice manager at the Pernod Ricard company in Paris, France.
Florence Rainsard is the Consumer Insight and Research manager at the Pernod Ricard company in Paris, France.
Mark Whiting is a Director at Added Value in Paris, France.
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