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How Diageo re-imagined its insight community for the mobile-first world

Kelvin Claveria
Kelvin Claveria (@kcclaveria)..

Diageo engages its insight community both for long-term research initiatives as well as agile, ad hoc studies which require a 24-hour turnaround time.

Diageo is a global leader in premium alcoholic beverages. With a portfolio of over 200 brands enjoyed in more than 180 countries (including iconic brands such as Crown Royal and Guinness), Diageo is known both for its legacy as well as its entrepreneurial spirit and determination.

To better understand changing consumer behaviors exacerbated by the pandemic, the company turned to Reach3 Insights to help re-build Spirits Insiders, an insight community consisting of thousands of legal drinking age consumers, on the Rival platform.

Re-examining traditional approaches to an insight community

Diageo aims to be one of the best performing, most trusted, and respected consumer products companies in the world. Accomplishing this mission requires a deep and accurate understanding of the needs and desires of its consumers.

At the same time, the premium alcoholic beverage industry continues to undergo a massive transformation, with consumer lifestyles and preferences changing, and trends like direct-to-consumer putting pressure on companies to accelerate digital transformation.

If Diageo wanted to run studies in days and capture insights in the moments they happened, they would need to reimagine their approach for the mobile age.

To continue fostering the growth of its brands and attract new consumer segments, Diageo needed to get closer to consumers and capture real-time insights on what’s changing—and why. This need for consumer closeness was amplified by the COVID-19 crisis. Disrupting everything from holidays and social occasions to day-to-day work and recreation rituals, the pandemic made it imperative for the company to draw from the right technology and work with the right research partners. The need to identify and understand changes in the market became especially crucial.

While community-based research was not something new to Diageo, the company wanted to move away from traditional methods and better meet the needs and expectations of the modern mass consumer. If Diageo wanted to run studies in days and capture insights in the moments they happened, they would need to reimagine their approach to insight communities for the mobile age.

Choosing the best insight community solution 

Diageo approached Reach3 Insights to re-build Spirits Insiders, an insight community consisting of thousands of legal drinking age consumers who are passionate about spirits.

danica-daly"In making the switch there were three things that were important to me," explained Danica Daly, Shopper Insights Lead at Diageo. "It was the technology and what it enabled us to learn, it was the partnership and the people I’d be working with, and the cost-effectiveness of doing research this way."

On the technology front, Diageo chose Rival Technologies for our platform’s ability to seamlessly use mobile-first features like SMS notifications, chat, and video feedback to continuously engage consumers in real-time.

Working with Reach3, the company also reimagined the member experience from the ground up. Rather than using a stodgy, clinical approach in survey design and community management, the company adopted Reach3’s conversational research principles to boost engagement and drastically improve the research experience.

This more conversational and human way of conducting research proved to be especially important during COVID-19, when the company had to be extra mindful when engaging with community members. Danica shared videos of herself in their chats to the insight community, so members knew there was a real person behind the engagement, and the chats used empathetic language like, “We’re just checking in to see how you’re doing."

Today, Reach3’s seasoned experts act as a business partner for Diageo, providing an objective third-party perspective on industry issues as well as expert design and execution of individual projects run through the insight community. Diageo engages Spirits Insiders both for long-term research initiatives as well as agile, ad hoc studies which require a 24-hour turnaround time.

Elevating the impact of insights

Since working with the Reach3 team and transitioning the community to the Rival platform, Diageo has elevated the strategic use of Spirits Insiders. The insight community is influencing decisions in product innovation, retail strategy, marketing messaging, and everything in between.

In one recent example, Reach3 used Rival's mobile-first market research platform to help Diageo optimize its go-to-market strategy for a new “Spirits-In-A-Can” offering. Through a mix of quant and qual approaches, Reach3 helped validate certain aspects of the strategy, while providing specific recommendations on what to change in packaging, marketing messaging, and more—insights that helped successfully launch the product in-market.

Diageo recruited members of its insight community to participate in a mobile mission to help a national retail partner better understand how to improve in-store sales.

Spirits Insiders is helping Diageo strengthen its partnerships as well. In one example, Diageo recruited members of its insight community to participate in a mobile mission to help a national retail partner better understand how to improve in-store sales. Diageo regularly collaborates with national restaurant partners as well to capture new drinking occasions and evolving cocktail preferences. Insights from projects like these help bolster Diageo’s reputation as a thought leader in the category.

To help Diageo’s consumer insights team drive action within the organization, Reach3 provides a reporting suite that addresses the varying needs of different groups. Detailed PowerPoint reports are complemented with mobile digital reports and video showreels to offer snackable and interactive insights throughout the organization.

Today, the Spirits Insider community’s impact on the enterprise continues to grow. Leaning on this trusted solution helps Diageo drive better business performance across its portfolio of brands while also improving trust with its most important stakeholder: today’s modern consumer.

To learn more about Diageo's insight community and its impact to this global brand, watch a recording of "Community Evolved for the Mobile World"—a presentation with Danica Daly. 

Watch Now

Note: A version of this article was first published on GreenBook as part of their Insights That Work series. 

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