Baileys was “pretty much tanking” in 2014/15, according to Ben Sutherland, chief digital officer at drinks giant Diageo. But, perhaps counter-intuitively, that gave the liqueur brand some breathing space. “I think what it did was allow a bit of a relaxation on some of the rules around the brand. Because underperforming brands actually probably get less focus than the high performing ones.”
One of the reasons for that lower level of performance was perhaps the over-confidence of the marketing team in what they understood about the brand. “We were really focused on our product, very internally focused, we thought we knew where the experience was, we thought we knew where the occasion that our product was being consumed was.”
It took that downward trend to force a re-evaluation. And for a CPG brand, a focus on the experience is vital, he explained to the Mediatel Future of Brands conference (London, February 2019), “because we are fundamentally disintermediated from both the purchase and the consumption of these products”.