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As an innately social product, alcoholic beverages should be perfectly suited to the opportunity for sharing and engagement that is afforded by social media.
However alcohol brands have to tread a fine line on social in order to ensure their messages don’t break any regulations within local markets.
At Socialbakers’ Engage NYC event this week Pernod Ricard’s social media manager Jeremie Moritz described the company’s approach to social marketing, which is based on the idea of ‘making a new friend every day’.
The company is home to many of the world’s top spirits brands, such as Absolut and Chivas Regal, and operates its own distribution channels in more than 80 countries. It employs more than 19,000 staff to ensure things run smoothly.
Moritz said that social has long been in the company’s DNA as its marketing has always sought to "create moments of conviviality, rather than pushing out one-way messages".
However, having a social company ethos does not mean that effective social marketing comes easy.
Highlighting the challenges that Pernod faced when trying to bring some structure to its social marketing, Moritz listed the huge number of social accounts that it operates:
- 315 Facebook pages.
- 125 Twitter feeds.
- 110 YouTube channels.
- 45 Pinterest accounts.
- 45 Instagram accounts.
These were split among a range of international and local accounts, but there clearly needs to be some centralised control to ensure that everything remains within brand guidelines.
One of the key challenges is with content planning, as Moritz needs to decide what content can be produced locally and what is managed on an international level.
For example, some campaigns are obviously more affected by cultural differences so require more local input.
These are the elements that allow Pernod to maintain consistency across social:
- Social charter. This lays out the company’s values so that staff know how to act.
- Digital guidelines.
- Social listening. Audience feedback is important for adapting brand messaging.
- Data focus. One element of this is keyword searches that allow Pernod to adapt and make content more relevant.
- In-house expertise. Pernod’s community managers are employed in-house to ensure that messaging stays true to the company’s values.
With this structure underpinning its social strategy, Pernod is free to be creative with its brand campaigns. Moritz then went on to describe a number of other key elements of the company’s social ethos...
Many of Pernod’s products have a loyal international audience, earning them the label of ‘passion brands’.
This is useful for generating conversations around the products, however it is important that community managers continue to foster that consumer passion while maintaining a consistent tone of voice.
This is a difficult balancing act, but the conversations are a very powerful tool for increasing brand advocacy.
Creativity is key to Pernod’s social strategy as it is another important factor for driving conversations and brand advocacy.
This also involves listening to key advocates and influencers to get guidance on the sort of content that users will respond to.
Stay true and be bold
Moritz said that brands need to have a strong idea about what they stand for, as without a defined identity it’s impossible to stay true to your values.
An example of this is Absolut’s support for gay rights, which fits with work that the brand has done in the past so didn’t come across as patronising or opportunistic.
Involve your people
To ensure that the company receives input from all of its staff Pernod launched an internal corporate social network in 2012.
Named Pernod Ricard Chatter, the network is aimed at driving innovation within the business. It allows for continuous dialogue between staff, real-time data sharing, mobile collaboration and instant messaging.
Show me the ROI!
For Moritz the ability to gauge ROI from social begins with defining the correct objectives.
You must start with the goal, whether it is reach, recruitment or sales, then match it to KPIs. It is all about setting objectives upfront.
Tech is 10%
Data is vital for modern marketers and is the lifeblood of insightful analysis, however Moritz pointed out that technology and systems are only 10% of the overall puzzle.
What’s important is having the correct people within the business who are able to make sense of the data through listening, analysis and moderation.
Moritz said that more emphasis should be put on how to manage the processes by empowering staff and training them to use the data correctly.