Published 30 March 2012
How does a company like Pernod Ricard approach social media? Their enviable situation poses a number of challenges. How do you make a global brand regionalised? And how do you implement social media across multiple brands? Fortunately, Tim Cunningham (Digital & Media Director, Pernod Ricard) was at the Social Media World Forum in London this week and he was happy to explain.
He started by acknowledging that Pernod is far from ‘finished’ in its implementation of social media. In Cunningham’s own words, they are ‘primarily focused on Facebook, but Twitter is coming out shortly’.
At first glance, Pernod’s desire to have brands take a global approach whilst also being regionalised, appears contradictory. But what they mean is they want global consistency, a global strategy, the benefits of aggregating users, yet they also want content to relate to each user according to their specific location. Cunningham says their mantra is “think global, act local”. Some may say that Pernod want to eat the proverbial cake.
Yet this approach makes a lot of sense. As a user I may want to experience the global brand that is Champagne Perrier-Jouët, but also want to hear about what they are doing in the UK. As a business, it makes even more sense. It is suggested that pages delivering content specific to a user’s locality get 36% higher engagement than a single global page. Also, by having only one FB Page for a brand, the brand aggregates fans, creating momentum and making it much easier to find in a search. As an example, imagine if a brand was to have a separate FB Page for 20 different regions (think Perrier-Jouët US, Perrier-Jouët UK, Perrier-Jouët Germany, Perrier-Jouët Australia, etc). Each Page might have 2,000 fans and, when a user searched for the brand, they’d see 20 different pages to choose from. Compare this to a single brand Page for Perrier-Jouët which would centralise the 40,000 fans and return a clear, single page to follow in a search.
Unfortunately, a single global Page usually means losing that local feeling. To avoid this, Pernod Ricard chose Vitrue to power their social media. Their software allows a brand like Perrier-Jouët to deliver global content AND some local content too. What many of the Pernod Ricard brands use is a single global Page, but with geo-targeted content on top. This means, as Cunningham explained, that “in markets where they have sufficient resource, the region takes control; where they don’t have sufficient resource, it will default to the global page.” So, for example, UK users will usually see the global content for Perrier-Jouët but, in the summer, they may receive UK-specific content to promote the brand in association with certain events. Then, once summer’s over, it reverts back to the global content without the users ever knowing this is going on. I’m sure the London-based software company isn’t the only creator of such software, but it’s certainly not a standard offering from the providers I’ve looked at recently.
So congratulations to Pernod Ricard. They may only be at the start of their social media adventure, but they’ve considered their needs and goals, done their research, and now have the tools to deliver an impressive social solution.