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Innovation by Infectious Enthusiasm (INTERVIEW)

Andrew Floor, Group Marketing, Campari America
Gil Haddi
January 15th, 2014
Described by Andrew Floor, the Senior Marketing Director at Campari America, "spirits are the perfect marriage of consumer product and luxury goods with many people choosing spirits brands based on the lifestyle they want to live or the image they want to project. That personal relationship can become a very powerful, regularly lasting a lifetime and sometimes even expressed permanently to the world via body art!" He goes on to explain that Campari America is "building a consumer focused marketing capability that reflects that kind of deep, personal and human relationship, the type of company that will continue to remain relevant as it is constantly evolving to keep up with the changing needs of its consumers."

Although relatively new to the Campari America team, with just over a year under his belt, Andrew has extensive experience with the adult beverage industry, having worked with notable companies including Allied Domecq, Beam Global Spirits & Treasury Wine Estates. In his words, he is 'honored and privileged' to lead the Dark Spirits Marketing team encompassing a portfolio of iconic whiskey and rum brands such as Wild Turkey and Appleton Estate to name a few.

Three questions with Andrew Floor:

1. How does your team come up with innovative ideas?

'Breakthrough Creativity' is one of the pillars we are building our marketing team around and lives alongside another key pillar in 'Consumer Centricity,' two key elements of our team vision. Consumer behavior is critically important to us which is why we continuously dive deeper into consumers lives in order to glean insights and understand the motivations driving their behavior. Ultimately it's about getting down to a deeper human truth, identifying an un-met need and aligning ourselves with that need via a solution that people are truly looking for, even if they don’t know it yet!

Our team is encouraged to identify topics they are passionate about and pursue them. Rather than being a part of their job description or a task that has been put on them, these passion points are more along the lines of a hobby and personal pursuit for our employees, and their passion comes through when they share their exploration and findings with the team, spreading their energy and enthusiasm.

In order to stay fresh and current in a market place that is constantly evolving, we have to keep our fingers on the consumer pulse and we do that in a variety of ways including participating in consumer behavior committees, studies and conferences within and beyond our industry, as well as tapping into the knowledge banks of our many creative agencies and partners. And irrespective of what we find, being authentic in our solution is critical as we look back to the roots of the brand in order to see how we can honor it while making our brand relevant to constantly changing consumer insights. We work in a wonderfully dynamic industry where we need to stay on top of what consumers are drinking, how they're drinking, why, when, etc.

2. What are some of the challenges you face when innovating?

The liquor industry is highly regulated with various government, consumer and industry related bodies keeping a close watch on what we do and how we do it. When it comes to our ability to connect with consumers and address their needs, legal and corporate social responsibilities are always the first consideration. Another key challenge is building an innovative and agile marketing team within a public global corporation. We need to be flexible and adaptable and we need to give ourselves permission to fail, which can be tough when there are shareholders to answer to! It takes time to convince all the teams we work with on a ground breaking initiative in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page and shares the same vision.

Innovation for us is about finding those game-changing ideas that not only represent what we are trying to achieve with the brand but also intersect legitimately, credibly and authentically with our consumers lives in an unexpected, surprising and/or delightful way - it's the ideas that add value to our consumers that will ultimately drive our business forward.

3. How do you create a culture of innovation at Campari America?

Being innovative is the key to staying relevant in a dynamic industry. Putting the consumer at the center of everything we do and consistently driving for breakthrough creativity is the philosophy that will foster that goal and we've developed a team vision, values and pillars that will ensure we live that philosophy. Developing a team vision and pillars is the easy part, now it’s about the process of hardwiring those ideals into actual behaviors. We do that via re-engineering our ideation and planning tools and processes, leaning on creative partners to drive our expertise in key areas, executive team immersions in emerging technologies, all the way down to internally hosted 'Lunch and Learns' which provide our employees a forum to talk through cultural and social communication trends and insights that they're passionate about .

Cultural change from within is not easy, but this is a process that we will be maintaining for the long-term. We're always thinking about the next big game-changer and are constantly challenging ourselves to stay with and ahead of consumers at all times. Giving ourselves permission to fail is important when trying something new, as long as we learn from it and build on that for the next time.
References: linkedin, camparigroup