NEW YORK: Smirnoff, the vodka brand owned by Diageo, is emphasising the importance of consumer insights as it seeks to conquer the challenges that are now facing many major brands.

Jay Sethi, VP/Smirnoff & Nurture Brands Portfolio at Diageo USA, discussed this subject during a session at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Data Summit.

“Ninety percent of big brands are losing share. With all the innovation that’s happened in data and measurement, that’s still the case,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Diageo distills a path to marketing success.)

Elaborating on this theme, he continued, “When I wake in the morning, I know what my growth problems are on Smirnoff: A lot of you used to drink it, and less of you drink it today.

“And that’s the question I am asking myself. How do I change that? What are the real insights behind that? And how do I overcome that? Data and measurement are part of that, but it’s definitely not [the answer] every moment of the day when we’re having that conversation as well.”

For Sethi, many factors – including creativity, audience planning, long-term thinking and enhanced measurement – are at work in driving growth. And consumer insights, he suggested, should be afforded a key role in the process, too.

“The biggest thing is, first, understanding the insight, because you have to understand what is going on with your business in getting to the hard truth before you can get to every other piece of the marketing plan,” he said.

Smirnoff fuels its marketing with a “drinks engine” that is based on in-depth knowledge of consumer behaviour, ranging from prospective drinking occasions to locations people might visit and any seasonal factors at play.

“It’s all of those foundations, those insights, powered by the data that let us effectively target different audiences in a way that is powerful,” Sethi explained.

“And because it’s built on good insight,” he continued, “the data [and] the measurement tells us that we’re performing very strongly.”

More broadly, Smirnoff believes its long-term brand promise – described by Sethi as, “You can have an amazing vodka … at a very good price” – remains a truly potent consumer appeal.

“We know that is built off a really good insight, too. Now, the job is to get more people to know that,” he said.

Sourced from WARC