What color is your money?

by Jordan Wenck

AHAA conference 2012: The biggest and baddest Hispanic Marketing conference in all the land, really.  It was my first conference (let alone multicultural one) and it was an incredible experience.  I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it, and truly recommend others to go if at all possible.

One of the best presentations I have ever heard was by Marc Strachan, VP of Diageo; the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Just seeing some of these prestigious names made me want to tune in.

He began his presentation by saying that we need to become a change agent – for corporate culture, for ways of working, for long term sustainable business, and for understanding the consumers in a changing world.  We need to focus on having a competitive edge and be in the business of business, focus on sales and driving profit.  He made an interesting point by asking “What is the color of your money?”

Green was my answer.  And that’s right, green is the color of your money, no matter the culture;  in order to get that green money, you need to be relevant to all lifestyles that use your product.  He advocates for creating a partnership with all targeted consumers by driving knowledge and understanding.  Going back to being a change agent, multicultural marketing is a “transformational priority”.

From 2010-2015, multicultural consumers contribute 80% of projected industry value share growth for at least 6 types of alcohols.

How can you ignore 80% of growth by only targeting the “general market?”  Strachan said we must be prepared to dive into the multicultural concept.  This will change the entire business strategy.

He says to use benchmarking against those doing it right to see where you are now and where you want to be; and be patient.  Create a vision and end goal.

  • Vision: “revolutionize our connections with multicultural consumers and make them passionate about buying our brands” find why they choose your bran over others.
  • End goal: “multicultural mindset at the core of growth and innovation strategy.”

The brand is king, the is no more general market.  Strategy must now include the total market, be made into inclusive marketing, and have a multicultural lens.  This really does mean changing mindsets and behaviors of the entire company, get top management support  and be passionate about initiatives.

Retool and rebuild the house by adjusting to the new demand.  Everyone must be invested in the multicultural mindset. Have a focus on continuous improvement and forward motion.  Be prideful for the work you do and what you bring to company.

Steps to success: listen and hear, learn and teach, invest and tool up, take action.  Everyone has roles and has to get on board.  We either change as the audience changes and adapt or die.

Keys to success:

1. Be more relevant: have better communications and platforms base on real insights.

2. Community engagement

3. Superior commercial execution.

The world is changing; companies want to do business in a global world- need to be involved in that world.  Imbed the multicultural mindset into the company DNA: “it should be just what we do.”

Don’t call yourself a multicultural agency, just call it an agency.  Change starts with yourself; Good ideas find money; Have a management team that will take risks and be invested and believe in what you’re doing.

For more information about Diaego, visit http://www.diageo.com/en-row/OurBusiness/Pages/default.aspx