Pernod invests in 'social store' innovation

Pernod Ricard: unveils project to reach consumers via their mobile phones
Pernod Ricard: unveils project to reach consumers via their mobile phones

Pernod Ricard has launched a project designed to better harness the opportunity to reach consumers via their mobile phones at point of purchase and has reaffirmed its premiumisation strategy.

Thierry Billot, managing director of brands at Pernod Ricard, said that while the project was at early stages, the ability of digital media to reach consumers at the point of purchase was a huge opportunity for brands.

He said: "We look at the shelf in store as a medium and how we can harness this space – to be at the front of the consumer's mind is key."

This opportunity, added Billot, is "almost completely untapped" by the consumer goods industry, particularly in relation to social media.

"It is the true revolution of the internet that we can be with our consumers at anytime and our ability to capitalise on this is key," he said.

Separately, the brand has upped its efforts to attract and maintain the best marketing talent in the business with the launch of its own internal Pernod Ricard university, which is designed to drive innovation across the business.

Billot said: "In terms of marketing, we want to be the leaders. If we do what everyone else does, we will lose our competitive advantage."

In line with this, Pernod Ricard's central marketing function is creating four specific leadership courses. "Marketing is central to the business. We are thinking about what the next steps in marketing will be and how we can change the business," Billot added.

The company has also reaffirmed its commitment to its premiumisation strategy despite a 4% year-on-year decline in sales in the UK market.

However, global sales revealed the best growth at the group since 2007/08  increasing 8% year on year.

Billot said the brand enforced very strict guidelines on price and positioning across the globe.

He said: "Heritage is an important safety net for consumers. Before the recession, you had high prices but not substance, and now you have so much discounting it's confusing to the consumer."

Pernod Ricard's strategy is paying dividends and premium brands now account for 73% of group sales – a two-percentage point increase year on year.

Premium brands are also driving growth in emerging markets including a 29% year-on-year increase in sales of Martell, where the milestone of one million cases was exceeded in China.

"We believe premium is a long-term strategy and we should not mortgage the equity of our brands by reducing the price," Billot said.

In line with this premium strategy, a part of Pernod Ricard's key Christmas activity will include the launch of limited edition products from Chivas and Malibu.

While the brand reduced its advertising and promotion budget in Western Europe (excluding France) by 2% year on year, it has pledged to maintain its share of voice in order to protect its market share.

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