Baileys wanted a simple commercial strategy that challenged drinks convention. They also wanted a permanent Commercial Director, but they knew both would take time, expertise and experience. With a strong track record for work in the drinks sector, Baileys turned to Flintlock for interim consultancy help.

Graham Appleyard explains more: “Baileys recognised the value of having a capable interim Commercial Director, while they searched for the perfect permanent person. However, with a relatively new team and a desire to kick start a new commercial strategy, they admitted that they lacked the internal resource and capability. They needed someone that could step into a management role quickly, delivering real industry experience, coupled with an understanding of what it takes to make a difference to a brand. This was not about ‘holding the fort’. This was about building the foundations.”

Flintlock was appointed to develop the commercial strategy and create tools for its execution, worldwide. This was a nine-month project, working as part of the global team and alongside the teams from Europe and North America.

The overarching goal was to find more ways for people to enjoy Baileys. Then they were tasked to package up the ideas – a commercial story and all marketing collateral – in such a way that local markets could adapt and execute the programmes.

To achieve this, we worked with the insights team, and the shopper-marketing agency, to create a commercial narrative that would represent a persuasive ‘sell’ to customers. We focused on two specific themes: Hijack Dessert – for those who prefer their cake in a glass, and Piggyback Coffee – show up alongside coffee and create a stir.

We developed the creative idea and the ways in which it was executed. We wrote the internal toolkits for the local marketing teams and helped to develop collateral along the entire path to purchase – for both the on-trade and off-trade channels. Across the board these were creative solutions designed to drive awareness as well as presenting a clear call to action to drive purchase.

From a position of very limited commercial resources the Global team now has a set of toolkits covering three different occasions and a set of executions that drive a more consistent look and feel around the world.

What set our interim team apart, however, was the our ability to integrate fully within the global organisation, whilst maintaining enough independence to focus on the project and drive significant pace. As a result of this, our work was recognised as best in class across Diageo and was rolled out in 2017 across Europe, North & Central America and Africa.

Alongside this project work Graham Appleyard had not lost sight of the need to support Baileys in the recruitment of a new Commercial Director. The arrival of the new Commercial Director coincided with the completion of the strategic project. Following an in-depth handover, Graham moved on, having set up the new Commercial Director and his team for success.

Grainne Wafer, Baileys Global Brand Director, says: “Flintlock has made a huge contribution towards Bailey’s success this year as well as helping to set the commercial foundations for the future. From a simple strategy that challenges drinks convention through to irresistible product communication, the work is rightly being held up as best in class across our business. Flintlock’s ability to integrate as part of our team and to get the job done, at pace, has made a notable difference.”

Baileys has seen a sales volume turnaround from -8% to +11% during the following financial year, and a +54% increase in net profit, on less investment.

What next?

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