With 20 years in consumer marketing roles, eight of them at Bacardi, Dima Ivanov knows a thing or two about marketing—and rum. In January this year, the 38-year-old became cmo of the privately held spirits company and president of Bacardi Global Brands where he oversees worldwide marketing.
Before that he served as managing director for country operations in Russia where his marketing savvy led Bacardi to become the fastest growing rum brand. His résumé includes stints at Red Bull Russia as marketing director and various marketing and brand management roles at Pepsi Bottling Group and Procter & Gamble in Russia.
Ivanov shared some of the secrets behind his successful reinvention of the Bacardi brand and how he reconnected with Millennials as keynote speaker at Event Marketer’s Experiential Marketing Summit, which was held May 11 to 13 in San Francisco.
“Bacardi is one of the most social brands in the world, but in the last 10 years we lost our connection with Millennials,” he told the audience of event marketing professionals. “So we started to reinvent ourselves. We went back to our roots.”
Bacardi also went back to the bar, where it created new events and unforgettable moments for people around the world. Recently Forbes named Bacardi one of the top five loved millennial brands. Ivanov’s methodology obviously worked. Following are the lessons Ivanov shared on how to do that:
1. Be unforgettable.
Consumers are not seeking possessions. They are seeking unforgettable experiences. That concept was a fundamental starting point for Bacardi as it began its reinvention and the brand built all of its actions going forward on that principle.
2. Create fanatics.
Ivanov said that when he met with media agencies, he found “the same shit” over and over again. He moved Bacardi’s marketing concepts from “share of voice” to “share of life.” The idea is simple, he said: The more time people spend with your brand, the more connected or engaged they are, they more they will buy your products.
3. Create ideas that create news.
If you have a good idea, and you think it is right, don’t settle for it. Find another one. Go beyond it. Take it up a notch.
4. Bring your brand promise to life.
If your marketing plan doesn’t do that, ditch it. Always be true to your brand equity. Be careful if you are shifting your focus to something else.
5. Give first.
Ivanov says this is something most marketers don’t understand. “We are all about business, that is our obsession, but consumers don’t care about P&L, they want experiences,” he said. “Give them something. Then you create the possibility that they will give something back to you.”
6. Be brilliant.
Never settle for anything less than brilliant execution. The luxury world is doing it with unbelievable styling execution. Consumers don’t care about your big ideas. You have to bring them to life.
7. Be social.
Use your consumers’ social networks to connect with more people. If you can do that, they will do the job for you.
8. Take it personally.
If you don’t like a campaign or program, don’t do it. Go with your gut.