Techerati talks to Brenda Fiala, Bacardi’s Global VP of Strategy, Insights and Analytics, ahead of her TFM & ECE Keynote panel appearance
When Bacardi was founded 157 years ago, rum wasn’t considered a refined drink. To transform the sugary-spirit into something sellable in upmarket Cuban taverns, Bacardi founder Facundo Bacardí Masso had to “tame” the drink by filtering it through charcoal and ageing it in white oaked barrels.
Over one and a half centuries later, Bacardi’s products are merrily swigged by millions across the world. Alongside its namesake rum, Bacardí, the company’s core brands now include a mouth-watering selection of the world’s most well-known tipples, including Grey Goose, Patron, and Bombay Sapphire. Brands which have all flourished thanks to data and its impact on decision-making.
Today, we are undeniably in the dual age of big and small data. In fact, it’s hard for multinationals like Bacardi to know what to do with all data at their disposal. To transform its growing supply of data into actionable insight, Bacardi had to return to its origins. It had to tame data and refine it to enable better decision making across the company.
Data is fundamentally ore that needs to be refined before it can be made into a product, which in Bacardi’s case includes informed omnichannel marketing, business and brand strategies. At TFM 2019, Brenda Fiala, global VP of strategy, insights and analytics at Bacardi, will detail how her 33-strong insights and analytics team turns data into a competitive advantage.
As Fiala explained, turning a company into a data-driven engine not only requires leveraging technical tools but enacting structural and cultural changes so that data becomes the beating heart of almost every core process.
When Fiala arrived at Bacardi Ltd one of the first changes she implemented was increasing the volume of meaningful data points so they came in weekly, rather than quarterly. The goal was to gain 100 percent visibility across advertising and promotional activity spend so brands and markets could see the effectiveness of their marketing. Her team’s guiding principles are simple but effective:
“It’s not just about looking at financial data. But ensuring one, we keep the consumer at the heart, two, we keep our brand health strong. And if we can do those two things, then the finances should follow,” Fiala said.
“Now that we have our data house in growing order, we’re able to move to predictive analytics. For the past two years, we’ve been making recommendations and validating our advertising spend.”
Fiala has extended her team’s influence across the organisation and united commercial, company and consumer data.