A NEW ERA OF TRADE
The Internet of things seems to dominate the world of marketing. But if you ask Malin and Anna – two trade veterans at Malibu & Kahlúa – they’ll tell you it is the combination of digital and retail that offers endless new opportunities to create in-depth experiences for consumers. Together they have more than 30 years experience within trade marketing, so you might want to take their word for it.
You have worked together for a very long time, how did this partnership start?
Malin: We first met in a cab on the way to Arlanda for a business trip. It was very early in the morning, and we didn’t know each other, so I got two editions of the morning paper so there wouldn’t be any pressure to chat. Typical Swedes! But we ended up talking the whole trip anyway, and those newspapers remained untouched. That was ten years ago and since then, we haven’t stopped talking, developing or challenging each other and our ideas.
What interests you the most about trade marketing?
Anna: The challenge of getting the product to deliver on its brand promise in the messy and a bit chaotic environment that trade sometimes can be, really intrigues me. That is where we execute our strategies. We want to leave an impression on the shoppers and guests in just a few seconds and getting them to choose our product. If a concept or brand strategy doesn't work at the point of purchase, then there’s no viability for it.
Malin: Yes, I agree. We have to create strategies and concepts that are clear, scalable and inspiring all the way to the bars and stores. One of the great things about working at Pernod Ricard on a global level is that the markets then take ownership of the ideas, adding their own creativity and local relevance making the concepts even stronger. To see these global concepts come to life all over the world is very rewarding.
Is trade adapting to the digital world?
Malin: Well, the brands we work with, Malibu & Kahlúa, have seen a +7% and +4% lift this year – a win that is closely connected to how we as a global team, together with the markets, have worked with the brands – in all touchpoints. The connection between communication, digital and trade marketing is essential to pull off a strong and coherent brand experience. The fact is that trade activations are and always have been a key part of the consumer experience that helps drive these results.
Anna: Can you imagine a campaign where a consumer journey starts on their smartphone, giving them a great experience, and then in-store they are met with something completely different? Or nothing at all? It’s like a movie with no ending. That’s not the way to do business. We create ideas and concepts that can be activated all the way from our global marketing headquarters to the local market teams, to the sales teams, sales reps, and ultimately store floor and bars where our products are being sold.
So trade has changed since you first started?
Anna: It has always been about creating an experience, but now we have access to more tools and opportunities to use digital solutions and integration than when we first started.
Malin: There’s more focus on providing experiences that are “instagrammable” and relevant for social media. Digitalization has made it necessary for us to think in new ways about trade. There are now other ways to create experiences for consumers than big expos. We have looked, together with the digital team, into how packaging can become a communication tool with the consumers through new technologies. In UK, Malibu was the first brand in the world to launch a pilot with 40 000 connected bottles. This becomes even more relevant as Apple now have launched their beta version for NFC (Near Field Communication), something available only for Androids previously.
Anna: Exactly. This technology of active and intelligent packaging is very exciting. The power is in the consumer’s hands and it’s the brands’ responsibility to create an added value for them. Actually, consumers are already expecting those added value interactive experiences from brands.
What is the next step for you and trade more generally?
Malin: With the digital opportunities, both in terms of production, printing, and communication we see a much greater opportunity to customize and tailor the consumer experience so that it’s relevant for local markets, or even specific accounts. For myself – I will be taking on a role in the Kahlúa brand team where I’m very much looking forward to continuing to amplify my trade expertise – combined with more in-depth strategy related projects.
Anna: As Malin mentioned, for us as a duo it’s the first time we’ll be working on different teams as we’ve both been promoted to new positions. Still within Malibu & Kahlúa (of course). But despite – it somehow feels like the end of an era! We will continue talking and challenging each other’s ideas even in our new positions - that’s usually what happens when we get together.