Pernod Ricard leverages insights to better appeal to consumers along the full travel trail

Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail is using its deep knowledge of the consumer the company has developed over the past year to create successful activations in travel retail, Craig Johnson, VP Marketing PRGTR tells TMI.

“Pernod Ricard has real true consumer insights that will allow us to create programming that helps us drive consumers to our displays instore. One thing that we are focusing our attention on is how do we drive footfall into this category,” says Johnson, who was appointed to his current position at the beginning of 2019 after his time as Global Marketing Director for The Absolut Company.

“We start with a deep knowledge of our consumer. Over the last nine months we have been diving deep into what I believe are industry-leading insights into consumers. We’ve developed a study across nine nationalities that allows us to analyze the typologies, the makeup of consumers, what their motivations are, where and when they are going to make decisions in their journey to shop. This information has allowed us to create activations that are based on real insights into our consumer.”

Reaching the consumer on the “travel trail” along the journey is key to these successful activations, says Johnson.

“Pernod Ricard has really pioneered the idea of the travel trail in duty free and we are constantly evolving it with our new insights. We have learned that pre-trip media through digital, and understanding and talking to the consumer along the different steps in their journey, are really important. With this knowledge, we can drive these consumers into our activations instore. It allows us to be much more effective,” says Johnson.

“Then we need to have highly visible displays with a tremendous amount of creativity that gives the consumer sensorial options to taste or smell. Having knowledgeable brand ambassadors instore helps transform all of this.”

Johnson says there are hundreds and thousands of potential touchpoints along the travel trail, or “micro-moments” when Pernod Ricard can reach out to consumers.

“We are spending our digital dollars based on these micro-moments. We have lots of very unique insights about timing and how far out consumers are planning to shop. I think these micro-moments allow us to understand most effectively where and when we should be targeting consumers.

“One real success we had in the last year was launching Chivas XV. We launched it in Santo Domingo in November 2018, creating a real strong sensorial experience with an offer of tasting and nosing.”

In this case, Pernod Ricard was connecting consumers on their journey from New York to the Dominican Republic, says Johnson.

“We know our consumers and make sure they see the same thing as they are going back and forth between JFK and Santo Domingo. It’s been very successful for us and a big win for that brand.”

Pernod Ricard’s consumer insights also work with millennials, giving the company a deeper understanding of this consumer than it had a year ago, says Johnson.

As a result, the company is targeting millennials with digital programming and “Instagrammable moments.”

Pernod Ricard launched Beefeater Pink gin into Americas Travel Retail with this “Pink It Up” activation in Sao Paulo.

“We can’t live without our phone. That means digital aspects in the activations become much more important. We launched an activation in Amsterdam called Pink it Up for Beefeater Pink gin and Absolut Grapefruit, products that tap right into millennials’ behaviors and trends. There’s the whole millennial pink trend with people repurposing pink and taking the color back. We need to provide these interesting digital, Instagrammable moments.”

The company featured a Pink It Up activation in Sao Paulo, launching Beefeater Pink in the region.

“The activation featured daily tastings, with a dj and mixologist in the airport during the weekend. We created a real party and fun atmosphere, decked out with a pink disco ball. It was a strong way to introduce a new product into that region.”

Pernod Ricard’s portfolio features authentic brands perfect for the millennial consumer, says Johnson.

“Millennial consumers want brands that are authentic, transparent. I think that is one of the real strengths of our brands: Martell and the history and heritage behind it; Absolut, the most environmentally sensitive spirit brand in the world; Jameson has such a long heritage and history.

“We did a program for Absolut last year – the global selfie, which tried to connect people across the world. It unlocked local travel tips if you participated. We’ve also had strong performance behind the Absolut limited editions, especially with Absolut Love. We transformed hate into love on that bottle.”

Jameson also has strong momentum behind it, particularly with millennials, says Johnson.

“One of the most popular brands for millennials is Jameson. We just launched a new duty free exclusive Jameson called Triple Triple. Jameson is famous for its triple distillation process, which makes Jameson unique. Triple Triple is also matured in three cask types. It launched currently only in London but will be rolling out soon in the Americas.”

Pernod Ricard’s travel retail business grew 7% in 2018, and with its consumer insights and innovations in its pipeline, Johnson is optimistic for the channel in the future.

“The business is challenging, but we are finding new ways to interact with consumers. We are constantly looking at different ranges and limited editions to premiumize our brands. There are lots of innovations coming from Pernod Ricard.”