Insights that Bring Brands A.L.I.V.E. - Part 2

04 Dec 2014|Mark Whiting

The paper presented at the annual 2014 ESOMAR Congress describes the thinking behind, the ambitions for and the challenges faced in developing an actionable and differentiated approach to generating and leveraging insights at Pernod Ricard. The resulting five-step process, known as A.L.I.V.E., was framed and executed in the humanistic and entrepreneurial spirit of Pernod Ricard’s way of building “passion brands” (living brands), where deeper connections with consumers and generating advocacy are the driving ambition.

Read part 1 here.

The A.L.I.V.E. process described
In this way, in May 2013, working with the team at Added Value, the central Pernod Ricard insights team set about auditing the organization’s current insight practices, identifying their existing best in class practices (both in the brand and local teams) around which they could shape their approach. They also wanted to understand the key challenges facing the teams as they worked to empower the business with a common approach to the understanding and application of insights and a shared insights’ language.

The resulting output was a five step process that guides the Pernod Ricard insights team through a set of home-grown, Pernod Ricard best practices and tools (such as the Magic Tuesdays described earlier) that help the business to put insights at the heart of brand development projects and to ensure that the budgets invested into insights deliver a strong return on investment. Its principal purpose is to help the insights team:
– Identify business issues and opportunities and convert them into a tangible shift that needs to be provoked in consumer attitudes or behaviours in order to reach the organization’s objectives
– Find tools to gather and organize information that could be relevant to driving the desired change in consumer attitude or behaviour
– Choose the best techniques for generating insights that will unlock this change
– Learn about ways to bring insights to life and to inspire teams
– To move from great insights to implications, strategies and activities that will drive share in value

The structure of the approach itself (five-steps) is not unique and was inspired by successful insight processes that other world class insights organizations have implemented. From an initial phase of problem scoping and issue definition, the A.L.I.V.E process sets out a variety of effective ways to connect with consumers and unearth new clues about their aspirations, needs and behaviours; how to connect these clues to generate insights, and then how to bring these insights to life in a way that transforms ideas into content and gives insights a longer shelf-life so that they can be used more effectively (and over a longer time-scale) to create magnetic connections with consumers and foster greater brand advocacy.

Alive 1

The importance of a name
The name given to the process was, however, carefully selected in order to represent what is unique in the Pernod Ricard approach – a humanist approach to insights that will bring brands alive, allowing them to operate successfully in social environments. The acronym A.L.I.V.E. stands for:
Aim – what specific consumer challenge needs to be addressed to achieve the business objectives?
Learn – what relevant information is available to address the consumer challenge?
Insight – how to get to the heart of people’s aspirations and latent needs?
Voice – what are the best ways of expressing an insight to bring it to life?
Energize – what are the potential implications and strategies?

The central tenet of Pernod Ricard’s humanist approach to insights, as encapsulated by A.L.I.V.E., is that strong insights are powerful because they ground brands in the world of consumers. This ensures that the marketing, activities, experiences and innovations that they inform and inspire are always relevant and engaging.

As Bill Bernach, the founder of DBB famously said:
“At the heart of an effective creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action, even though his language so often camouflages what really motivates him.”
This notion has been captured in the Pernod Ricard definition of human insights that is the foundation of A.L.I.V.E.:
“Getting to the heart of people’s aspirations and latent needs and using that understanding to create magnetic connections and foster brand advocacy and therefore gain share in value.”

This definition expresses Pernod Ricard’s belief that its brands play an important role in people’s lives, that they are at the heart of significant social and emotional moments because their consumption is often public; on many occasions they are also given as gifts (to communicate a message to another person).

The role of the brand and its experience is therefore fundamental to its success. Seeing their brands in this light means that a shift is required in the definition of their competitive universe; it is not a typical fmcg definition of other products that share the same source of business, but a definition based on an understanding of the cultural, social, emotional and experiential role of their brands which relate to a source of reference that includes entertainment, travel, fashion, art, sports and cultural events (cinema, music), fragrance and gastronomy.

Key A.L.I.V.E. beliefs and tools: empathy and benevolent neutrality
Concretely, this humanist approach to insights influences all of the A.L.I.V.E. tools. For example, during the second phase, Learn, which focuses on gathering information about consumers, the insights team are encouraged to adopt a posture of “empathy and benevolent neutrality” at all times. The notion of benevolent neutrality was set out by the psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler as a form of “non-directive listening impregnated with a notion of ‘goodness’, independent from one’s own judgment and ideals”, the posture to be adopted throughout a psychoanalytic treatment. Translated into the world of insights, when interacting with consumers during an insights project, the Pernod Ricard team are encouraged to put themselves “in the shoes” of the person to whom they are speaking or observing and to be empathetic as the best means of getting to know them intimately: they are told to ask themselves what their brand can do to help the person they are speaking to, not how the person can be useful to their brand. One of the ten “commandments” for a Magic Tuesday participant is thus:
“Love your respondents unconditionally. Show respect and consideration. Be warm and friendly. Don’t judge.”
This direction is supplemented in the A.L.I.V.E handbook with an explanation of the difference between empathy and sympathy:
“Empathy: Understanding what others are feeling because you have experienced it yourself or can put yourself in their shoes.”
“Sympathy: Sympathy is feeling for someone without specifically understanding what they’re feeling.”

Key A.L.I.V.E. beliefs and tools: educated intuition
Another notion that is introduced in the Learn phase of A.L.I.V.E. is that of “educated intuition”. One of the issues that preoccupied the Pernod Ricard team when developing the A.L.I.V.E. process, was that by its very raison d’être, any process for insights is likely to be rigid and rational (the very reverse of the emotional connections that they would like insights to spark for their brands). This was a feature that was commonly noted during the benchmarking phase of other companies’ insights processes. While it can certainly be considered as a strength for these brands, it did not feel appropriate for Pernod Ricard given the spirit of the process that they were trying to develop. To counter this, and to propagate a more fluid approach to understanding people, the use of “educated intuition” is strongly encouraged within the A.L.I.VE. handbook.

“Intuition may seem illogical but it is, in fact, the most rational way that you can act. Benefit from your personal experience of business and consumers. Give yourself permission to make and use hypotheses. Remember you may know things even if you don’t know how you know them.”
To emphasize this point, participants in the first A.L.I.V.E. workshop held in June 2013 were given the task of answering a series of questions about consumers. For example, which age demographic spends most time on social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), 25-34s or 35-44s? The group unanimously answered the younger age group, but in doing so realized that while they intuitively knew the answer to this (and other similar questions that were asked), this is exactly the kind of question that they might include in a research brief when wishing to know more about a consumer target. The point was obviously not to suggest that commissioning research has no value, but to encourage the team to focus on the issues (and focus resources) where they truly lacked knowledge. So, before commissioning any new research, the A.L.I.V.E. process guides the insights team at Pernod Ricard to make hypotheses, based on what they know about a target or an issue already, to make informed assumptions, and then to identify gaps in knowledge which will form the heart of a briefing document for their research agency partners. And yes, in some cases, new research may not be deemed necessary, thus speeding up the internal decision-making process and ensuring that any research that is commissioned has a greater chance of identifying new insights which surprise and inspire the insight teams’ internal clients.

Key A.L.I.V.E. beliefs and tools: a holistic approach to understanding people (and colleagues)
Later in the A.L.I.V.E. process, at the Insight phase, when the subject of distilling insights from consumer clues is explored, the humanist approach to insights is again underlined. Consumers must be seen as people (through a holistic understanding of their lives) and as such their irrational and emotional behaviours, as well as their latent and unspoken needs, take central stage.

“This is a way of thinking… when thinking about an insight, think about what people might not want to admit…. not even to themselves… (usually because it wouldn’t sit well with their self-image).”
The Voice phase of the A.L.I.V.E. process was probably the one which yielded the most discussion between Pernod Ricard and the Added Value team regarding whether it merited its place as one of the five steps. The Voice (or Visualize) phase is about expressing insights and bringing them to life because “with a Voice, your insights will be seen and heard more clearly and better understood.”

The ultimate inclusion of this phase was also grounded in an understanding of how people really act (in this case the insights’ team and their colleagues); we observed that too often, a lot of effort is invested into identifying strong insights, only for them to fail to have an impact on either brand strategy or activation: a good insight, poorly expressed or brought to life in a dull or uninspiring way, will probably not reach a wide audience or generate sufficient excitement to lead to a transformation in marketing behaviours.

The Voice phase thus includes many tips and tricks to bring impact to the way in which insights are communicated internally at Pernod Ricard. The formats that are recommended range from quick and low cost ideas – such as borrowing an exercise that is often used with consumers during idea generation sessions, the Cover Story, to illustrate an insight or using Pinterest to create a collage that expresses the insight in a way that a consumer might share a hobby or interest that they are passionate about – through to more sophisticated (i.e. requiring a budget) expressions such as professionally designed posters, video portraits and magazines. Whatever format is chosen, the insights team are encouraged to: “get inspiration from popular culture – viral videos, blogs, advertising, film trailers, and graffiti: anywhere that communication makes an impact.”

Key A.L.I.V.E. beliefs and tools: integration into existing ways of working
The final, fifth stage of the A.L.I.V.E. process tackles two key questions: what are the implications and potential strategies and plans that can be identified to drive growth as a result of the insight and how will the plans be executed in the marketplace (I.e. what are the consumer experiences, activations, innovations, etc.)? Within the guide to the process, several examples are given of how great insights at other companies have led to great activation ideas.
What was particularly important at this stage of the process (as the scope for an insights’ process comes to its conclusion) was to ensure that the A.L.I.V.E. way of working fused seamlessly with already existing internal process that covered other best practices relating to marketing. For example, Pernod Ricard, working with the agency What If had previously developed a process of innovation and idea-generation called New Ideas At Work. Rather than creating new processes as part of the final stage of A.L.I.V.E., what was therefore critical was to embed the best approaches from New Ideas At Work (e.g. ways to collaborate with colleagues successfully, techniques for challenging the status quo) and make a link to how they can expressly be used when using insights to generate brand strategies and in-market activation ideas.

Ensuring consensus for A.L.I.V.E. through consultation: avoiding the “not invented here” syndrome
If the content of A.L.I.V.E. is resolutely humanist, the other Pernod Ricard value of entrepreneurship shaped the way that the process was developed and deployed. Working to an extremely tight project timeline, in the space of just five hectic weeks, Pernod Ricard and Added Value developed the first draft of the process and executed a training and empowerment conference for over 70 members of the global insights team. The intention was not to deliver a fully-finalized process during this meeting, but to take advantage of a rare opportunity to have so many of the team together in one place to get feedback on the principles of the process itself and to test out a workshop format for communicating A.L.I.V.E. in a live run; it would help to feed into the subsequent development of a workshop guide that the members of the insights team could use to deliver their own training workshops to their colleagues in their brand company or local market company.

The process was thus not expected to be fully perfect in just five weeks, but it absolutely had to be grounded in existing Pernod Ricard best practices (otherwise it would be seen as a process imposed from above, developed by an external agency who “knew nothing about the reality of working with insights at Pernod Ricard”). Added Value was clear that their role was one of facilitators above all, and their brief was not about creating a new insights process from scratch.
To this end, several actions were put in place during the development of the process. The start point was to scope over thirty internal Pernod Ricard documents relating to insights. Some of these were full insight processes in their own right, developed by members of the insights team in one of the brand or market companies. Others were tools or approaches that had already been developed at Pernod Ricard (such as the Magic Tuesdays) and which were already quite well embedded. Some of the processes and tools were unique to and created at Pernod Ricard, whilst others had been transfused into the organization by team members arriving from other companies and applying approaches that they had used in previous jobs.

In addition, telephone interviews were conducted by Added Value with several senior members of the Pernod Ricard insights team and a digital community was created using Added Value’s AV-idTM on-line platform where the whole insights team was invited to participate in a series of debates and activities designed to understand how they were currently working with insights in their daily jobs, as well as what was working well and what was working less well and needed to be improved. During the course of the digital community, which lasted seven days, the team was invited to complete four tasks and to comment on the contribution of other colleagues. The tasks were:
1. Warm up Insight Forum: the team was asked to describe in their own words or those of others what are the key elements to make a good insight (e.g. write the manifesto of a good insight).

A couple of the teams’ ideas particularly influenced the end definition an insight at Pernod Ricard:
“Great insights are derived from the needs, wants and beliefs held by many, expressed in a captivating manner, relevant to the brand and consumer tension or problem. Projected with humour it makes us laugh, we get goose bumps when expressed with inspiration and we cry when insight is brought to life through drama!” This definition cleverly summed up the emotional dimension of a great insight that the team was looking to capture, as well as the importance of dramatizing insights to magnify their impact.
Another proposed definition captured the desire to focus on insights that had potential to create value for the business because it would be easy to see how they could be leveraged for successful in-market activation: “A simple human truth that is tied to a relevant emotion. It doesn’t have to be complex but it allows us to activate against it successfully. For example, I want to feel light on my feet was the single minded insight for Malibu Island Spiced in the US. Women wanted spiced rum that wouldn’t weight them down, be heavy, syrupy. But they didn’t want to talk about it in terms of calories. They wanted it to represent how they felt. “Light on my feet””

2. Heaven and Hell of insight: this was intended to help us understand the current journey of an insights person at Pernod Ricard when attempting to generate and leverage insights. What would Heaven – the ideal journey – look like? We asked them to describe the heavenly experience they hope for when working with insights, as well as what would Hell – the imperfect/unsatisfactory/disappointing – look like (the hellish experience or moment they would hope to avoid)?

On this task, the need for a flexible, fluid approach to insights was the single most common desire that was expressed by the team. It was thus clear, right from the start of the project, that there was a strong aspiration in the team to develop a common language and collaborative approach, but at the same time, that there was a deep concern that the launch of an insights process was going to mean that everyone was going to be forced into the same, one size fits all strait-jacket, one which would not allow people to work with insights in either an intuitive or iterative fashion or be able to continue to use approaches that they felt were effective (and proven) in the specific context of their brand or market.

“Heaven – is a journey of simplicity. Tools to hand, everyone on the same page, clear articulation of the problem at hand and preferably one problem in front of you. Great people in the team, all believing in the process. All working towards the common goal (not egos). The process which is both art and science and recognizing it as such. Moving along the journey, taking each twist and turn that comes along, and recognizing you sometimes may have to take one of those twists (challenges), and see where it takes you. It may involve you having to completely re-think the problem, and challenge what you thought you already knew. Be open-minded. It could lead to a ladder (up to success) or down a snake (and have to start again). Take each step and unearth the little gems that come along as there may not be many. Join the dots and take a leap of faith. Remember, consumers don’t always tell the truth!
Hell – pretty much the opposite of above.”

3. The best job ambassador: the team was asked who would make an amazing insights person and to tell us about his/her set of skills?

Who wouldn’t want to see themselves as Sherlock Holmes, Willy Wonka (for his imaginative and off-the-wall approach to creating new ideas such as Lickable Wallpaper) or a methodical crime scene investigator? But the suggestion that really summed up the team’s desire to get up close and personal with the people behind the consumer was actually a hairdresser!
“Hairdressers tend to hear everything from the customers they service. I know that the second I sit down in the chair, I engage in a one hour chatter session with my hairdresser – who I hardly know outside of the short period of time I spend with him every few weeks! We talk about a range of topics and I often tell him personal information that I wouldn’t otherwise share with an “acquaintance”. And he sometimes tells me amazing and shocking stories that his other customers have shared with him!”

4. The Idea Board: How did they feel they could be even better at uncovering and leveraging insights? What could be done at Pernod Ricard to make the uncovering and application of insights more effective than it is today for the organization? What needs to change at Pernod Ricard to help them do a better job?
Many of the answers to this question focused on how to share the new insights process beyond the insights and marketing teams; there was a strong ambition amongst the team that the new process would not only help them to work more effectively together, but also help the insights team to connect into the rest of the business more effectively as well. This was clearly going to be one of the main challenges for making the new process a success.

“I really believe in cross functionality. All too often insights are the reserve of the marketing functions. Insight and a consumer centric approach should be for all functions thereby bringing consumers, opportunities to every channel in a meaningful way. It helps commercial arguments, range reviews, new product listings, re-launches… the list goes on. Making insight an accessible business core is powerful.”
The interviews and the digital community played a key role in the development of the A.L.I.V.E. process. Not only did they provide the basis for much of the end content, the simple fact that it gave the whole insights team an opportunity to participate as co-creators meant that the end result felt familiar and not like a new process that had been imposed by the Pernod Ricard office – or even worse, as this further example of Insight Hell from the digital community shows, invented from scratch by an external agency such as Added Value!

“Hell is research agencies trying to sell you stuff you don’t need. Hell is when the agency does its own thing and believes they know more than you do when they don’t, and then they try to blag it. Hell is agencies that are too stuck up their own methodology and can’t really think beyond their own limits. Hell is also time consuming processes and worthless meetings.”
The key challenge was to sort through this mass of ideas and existing tools and approaches, to extract the best elements and then to overlay a specific Pernod Ricard look and feel (terminology and language were key) and integrate it into the broader context of the organization’s unique approach to brands. Thus from Passion Brands, after an extensive brainstorming, Passion Insights (to bring brands A.L.I.V.E.) were born.

Deploying the new process: soft launch
The new process was launched to the Pernod Ricard insights team in June 2013 during a one day seminar in Paris. There were many challenges. Although much of the content was home-grown and therefore familiar to some of the team, much of the language used to frame the content was new. Moreover, since the process covered all stages of an insights project, from the initial identification of a consumer challenge through to the use of insights to generate activation programs, there was a huge amount of material to cover in a single day. Finally, we needed to take into account that the seniority and experience of the team ranged from junior members (recently embarking on their careers or joining Pernod Ricard) through to much more senior people (with several decades of experience of working with insights) and that not everyone’s first language was English; we needed to be pedagogic and clear, but not dumb things down.

It was therefore decided that each stage of the A.L.I.V.E. process would first be illustrated by a fun activity to illustrate the key message. For example, to illustrate the importance of immersing yourself in the consumer world as part of the Learn phase, we conducted a live experiment. Three volunteers were recruited and asked to describe a chocolate cake. The first had no stimulus, the second was blindfolded and fed chocolate cake (i.e. with one of the senses restricted) and the third was able to enjoy the cake with all their senses. We indeed witnessed that the lucky third person was far better able to describe the experience of eating a chocolate cake than the other two volunteers.

In addition, we used role playing activities (between an insight person and his internal marketing clients or acting like a key target segment from whom we were looking for clues – using an array of wigs and accessories since it was a female target) and short games to keep energy levels high; and we also introduced an element of competition with prizes as different teams were given the task of creating clue walls, extracting insights from data and preparing posters to illustrate their insights in the most impactful fashion.

Nevertheless, even after a full day exploring the process and its tools and templates and trying them out in a hands on fashion, there were unsurprisingly very few of the team who felt that they would be able to go straight back into their everyday working lives and train their colleagues about how to work with A.L.I.V.E.

Deploying the new process: feedback and iterations lead to a 2.0 version
After the launch, senior members of the insight team were asked to give feedback. The main focus of this was that the documents which were being used to present A.L.I.V.E. needed to be more ‘user-friendly’ and prepped so as to be ready for use as a workshop tool. In addition, it was felt that the process still needed greater clarity (in the definitions and thinking), that the Energize and Voice phases in particular needed more depth to them and that the design of the supporting handbook needed to be more contemporary.
Thus, before any local A.L.I.V.E. workshops were set up, the team at Pernod Ricard and Added Value entered into an extensive review to create a 2.0 version of the process and all of the supporting material. The most important points that were addressed in this new version included:

  • Clarifying the purpose, preparation and output for each stage of the A.L.I.V.E. process;
  • Creating an A.L.I.V.E. ‘one pager’ template to capture all the thinking about the process as an introduction;
  • Creating an example schedule showing how you could conduct A.L.I.V.E. sessions – with timings for presentations, discussion sessions and group activities;
  • Including more examples from Pernod Ricard projects, thus demonstrating what the workshop tools would help people to understand more effectively than some of the examples that had been created about brands in other categories;
  • Tightening the first draft definition of an Insight;
  • Creating an insight builder template that can guide thinking;
  • Outlining the different applications of insights (i.e. strategy, campaign, product, experience, etc.) to make the Energize section easier to understand;
  • Building in more tools from New Ideas At Work;
  • Creating an ‘Energize Canvas’ workshop tool that helps people get from an insight to the application of an insight in clear steps;
  • Creating a glossary of terms (helping to promote a common insights’ language);
  • Developing a “ready to use” workshop handout pack with printable templates;
  • And finally, developing a new look and feel for the supporting documents with a modern and fresh design.

In short, almost every aspect of the process was re-worked!

One of the big lessons from this experience was that the initial development of the insights process itself was actually only a small part of the work involved – fine-tuning it involved just as much work; and that beyond the process itself, the most critical factor in ensuring that it would become embedded in the organization was to develop an explanation of how to work with each of the insight constructs, tools and templates, right through to even the smallest details such as listing what material would be needed in a room when running an A.L.I.V.E. session.

A.L.I.V.E. in practice: treating the insights team as entrepreneurs
As the 2.0 version was launched, and the insights team was given the green light to start working with the process in their markets or with their brand company colleagues, a clear accompanying message was sent out: that they were free to run full five stage sessions or to just select one or two stages. It was to be treated as an “à la carte menu”. If their focus was translating business issues into consumer focused challenges, they could just run an Aim session; they could work through research findings from a project and use them to generate insights by running a combined Learn and Insight session; they could bring insights to life in a Voice creative session or use the approaches in the handbook to brief an external creative agency to do this for them. The watch words were flexibility and fluidity.

Additionally, the teams were told that the supporting process handbook was above all, an outline for inspiration: in true entrepreneurial fashion they could add and remove elements to optimize it for their teams and add in their own examples (from their brands and markets) to make it more real and relevant.
In the four months since the 2.0 version was launched, A.L.I.V.E. sessions have been run in countries including China, Vietnam, Mexico, Ireland, Australia, Japan and the UK and across several different categories of alcohol including tequila, vodka, liqueurs, whisky and beer. Some have been general sessions, introducing the whole process to colleagues.

Alive 2

Digital Workshop & Beer Attack: A.L.I.V.E. Session in Vietnam Agenda

Others have been focused on specific issues such as converting beer drinkers to spirits, understanding luxury consumers, developing effective activation programmes for Lillet and going beyond “cliché” (pink) activation programs for women for the brand West Coast Cooler.

Read the Lillet Case Study here.

Read the West Coast Cooler Case Study here.

What’s next for A.L.I.V.E.?
As should be expected, most of the A.L.I.V.E. sessions that have been run so far have focused on training the closest colleagues of the insight teams, those working in marketing: explaining the underlying thinking about insights that bring brands alive and providing an opportunity to try out the tools and templates. But it is clear that the long-term success of A.L.I.V.E. depends on it going beyond showing people at Pernod Ricard how to fill in templates; indeed the team feels that if the process is only about templates it is defeating their core ambition to get everyone within the organization living insights first hand and delivering an actionable way of applying human understanding to successful brand building. Importantly, the introduction of the process has provided the impulsion for an acceleration in the number of Magic Tuesday sessions being conducted in the organization; they are now placed clearly within a broader context explaining how connecting directly with consumers can lead to new business ideas.

One of the most exciting future perspectives is to fully integrate the A.L.I.V.E. process into the organization’s annual brand planning cycle. To this end, the Pernod Ricard US team have taken the lead and have developed a program called Ingenuity which is launching their 2014 brand plan work-stream. It runs in three phases:

  • The insights team will lead an initial brainstorm using the Aim technique with every brand to identify the most pressing business issues and what this means from a consumer perspective;
  •  The insights team will lead the Learn phase by scoping their existing research resources to provide clues and organizing a ‘Magic Tuesday’ session with the relevant target for all members of the brand team in order to fill in any knowledge gaps that have been identified;
  • And finally, an Insight through to Energize session will be held where the teams will use the Insight, Voice and Energize tools to identify and bring to life territories where the brands will play and develop relevant communication planning briefs.

If this proves to be a success, it is hoped that the long-term existence of the A.L.I.V.E. approach can be ensured by establishing it both as an ad hoc tool – to work more effectively with insights on specific issues – and as an integral part of the brand planning cycle which will help the marketing teams to use insights to prepare their strategic brand plans more effectively.

As it is only a few months since the official roll-out of the 2.0 version, feedback on the process and the tool kits is still being fed back into the central team and other revisions will need to be made; especially to include case studies of projects where A.L.I.V.E. has succeeded in making a difference to how insights are being used more effectively (as per the West Coast Cooler example from Irish Distillers).

Beyond that, some of the other challenges that are being faced are linked specifically to the new ways that consumers are interacting with alcohol brands in new social environments, especially on-line (social media); tribes of fans of the various Pernod Ricard brands are spontaneously emerging in on-line communities (as they have for brands like Starbucks) and these groups expect to have privileged conversations (just as the customers that met Paul Ricard as he toured Marseille did). As these new ways of interacting with consumers emerge, so the A.L.I.V.E. tools will need to be adapted to provide more relevant insight gathering and data filtering approaches for Pernod Ricard’s brands. More and more people within the Pernod Ricard organization will be listening and engaging in these conversations on a daily basis, and they will need help, through simple A.L.I.V.E. approaches, to really understand the deeper meaning behind what consumers are telling them.

One thing that is certain is that while the “venues” for these social interactions will continue to evolve (just as Paul Ricard noted that bistros and cafés had replaced forums and agoras and now in turn they have been replaced by bars and nightclubs), the essential social and cultural role of wine and spirits brands will stay the same. That’s why an insights process such as A.L.I.V.E. that helps Pernod Ricard’s brands to become “entified” or living brands will always be relevant.

References:
Hermant C Sashittal, Monica Hodis and Rajendran Sriramachandramurthy, Is your brand a living entity? MIT Sloan Management Review Spring 2014
Brand Asset Valuator, www.bavconsulting.com
Derek Day and Helen Edwards, Creating Passion Brands: How to Build Emotional Brand Connection with Customers, 2007
Kate Newlin, Passion Brands, 2009
Paul Ricard, La Passion de Créer, 1983
Christian Kugel, Cortney Henseler, Organizational Research Reinvigoration, ESOMAR Congress, 2013
Edmund Bergler, The Theory of the Therapeutic Results of Psycho-Analysis, 1937

The authors:
Nathalie De Rochechouart is Global Marketing Development & Insights Director at the Pernod Ricard company in Paris, France.
Kim Gaspar is the Market Research Best Practice manager at the Pernod Ricard company in Paris, France.
Florence Rainsard is the Consumer Insight and Research manager at the Pernod Ricard company in Paris, France.
Mark Whiting is a Director at Added Value in Paris, France.

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