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Reinventing a household brand with Bacardi

Reinventing a household brand with Bacardi

M&M Editor Alex Brownsell sat down with Bacardi Europe chief marketing officer Shane Hoyne on the first day of the Festival of Media Global in Rome to find out the key to how brands resonate with consumers around the world.

Prior to joining Bacardi, Hoyne worked for Grant’s Whiskey & Drambuie – so what made him move from whiskey to rum?

“Joining Bacardi was an opportunity to change the company,” said Hoyne, expressing that despite having a wonderful portfolio, he feels that Bacardi has probably lagged in what is expected.

Hoyne came in with the mandate to really change what marketing meant in company.

“The clients have positioned themselves at the bottom of the value tree, sometimes it’s convenient,” he added “My real goal is to move us as a client up the value tree to really understand how we create unique things together to really move people.”

Looking at cultural changes, Hoyne says Bacardi has been spending quite a bit of time in this role in Asia, in Africa and in South America looking at what is going on with the consumers and informing choices.

In Europe, Hoyne said that the effects of the economic recession had really changed what consumers want from brands. “They want brands to transcend the product area and really add value to their lives,” he added.

One of the reasons Hoyne is attending the Festival is because he believes the company needs “markers on the ground to truly understand how to connect as a business” and “open other ways of connecting”, with the restructuring of the marketing department at the front of his mind.

“We love ideas, we love ideas that scare us in a way,” he added. “Now that we’ve got ourselves structured, focussed and organised, we have more time.”

Hoyne felt the biggest risk was treating the brand like a commodity and treating the consumer as one.

“We need different ideas and different ways to bring our brands to life,” he said, reinforcing the importance of storytelling.

He said that two key focus areas to break through were measuring media and creative effectiveness. “We’re in it to win it to win, not in it to come second ,” he said. “Our brands are more than capable of doing what we want them to do.”

But what does winning look like? To Hoyne, it involves creating a portfolio of brands, a unique way of marketing, capitalising on opportunities and really looking back at progress through new progressive ways of measuring impact of actions on business.

“For me it’s always been about creativity, which comes from a frustration,” he added. Hoyne also reinforced the importance of learning from mistakes.

Hoyne concluded that his personal mission was to make the Martini brand successful again. “In 10 years’ time, I’d like to come back and say we have the most enviable portfolio in the industry and I think we’re setting ourselves up to do that.”