Following the success of its global sustainability initiative, Good Spirited, Bacardi changed its approach to its CSR-related communications and PR. Using measurement and analytics from Cision, the Good Spirited team shifted its communications focus to the initiative’s softer activities, producing better results with more media opportunities.
Through Good Spirited, the 155-year-old, family owned spirits company raised both internal and external awareness of Bacardi’s CSR commitments. The company’s goals are both lofty and pragmatic. The initiative’s overarching goal is to achieve a zero environmental impact within key focus areas in responsible sourcing, packaging, and operations.
In its daily activities, Bacardi is committing to and promoting a sustainability focus, such as eliminating the use of straws (#NoStraws) in cocktails at in-house corporate events and its brand visitor centers. Bacardi also built bat caves to help protect real bats at the company’s rum-bottling facility campus in Jacksonville, Florida.
For Bacardi, sustainability is a business approach that stems back to its founder, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, who purchased his first distillery in 1862 from a whisky distiller in Santiago de Cuba, which came with a number of used whisky barrels.
Instead of throwing the barrels away, Massó repurposed them to age the rum. That commitment to protect and preserve the environment is in full effect with initiatives such as Good Spirited.
The challenge: audience engagement
“The Good Spirited initiative was launched in 170 markets where we sell our brands, 75 offices, and in each of our 29 manufacturing and bottling facilities,” says Amy Federman, Bacardi director of corporate communications. “We wanted to make sure it first touched every employee that works for Bacardi around the world. Internal engagement was key to a successful external launch.”
Bacardi needed to set clear objectives, taking into account different markets, the various products and labels represented in the full Bacardi portfolio, and the diverse demographics and level of awareness of its audiences.
Communications objectives for the initiative included: positioning Bacardi as best-in-class for CSR in the spirits industry; educating global internal and external stakeholders on Bacardi’s sustainability commitment; and inspiring audiences – employees, sales, partners, new recruits, and consumers – to take action at work and at home to promote the sustainability commitment.
A robust approach
Good Spirited harnesses the power of nearly 5,500 employees through internal programs focused on local communities, brands, and the workplace. It engages media with targeted storylines to relay the sustainability initiatives in the platform. Finally, Good Spirited establishes a robust online presence to reach audiences, using rich multimedia to bring the Bacardi sustainability story to life.
To support its communications strategy, Bacardi partnered with the Cision Intelligence team.
“We wanted a partner that would help us produce a comprehensive, flexible, and in-depth reporting program to understand the impact of our communications activities,” Federman explains.
Cision developed a biyearly insights report highlighting the performance of Bacardi’s Good Spirited communications. Key factors for the program included:
Press release performance: To evaluate the campaign’s press release performance, the team tracked clip origin, press release syndication, asset presence, key messages, goals, and initiatives and quotes from spokespeople.
Earned media coverage: The quality, not just quantity of earned media coverage, is key for Bacardi. Cision tracked sentiment, prominence, and top media and authors, as well as pickup on key messages, goals, and initiatives as defined by Bacardi.
Bacardi meets with the Cision team on a regular basis to discuss upcoming campaigns and adjust metrics accordingly. An executive summary is also created bi-monthly to ensure that the team has the most up-to-date information to help them make informed decisions.
We wanted a partner that would help us produce a comprehensive, flexible, and in-depth reporting program to understand the impact of our communications activities
Amy Federman, Bacardi
Results: Increased earned media opportunities
The most recent Bacardi Good Spirited insights report showed the most effective results to-date in terms of media coverage and awareness. For example, the report demonstrated that media coverage increased by more than 700% compared to the previous reporting period. Earned media coverage increased by 300%, with more results coming from a variety of trade-specific publications that are relevant and resourceful to stakeholders (corporate social responsibility outlets such as 3BL Media).
The press release: Bacardi Installs Bat Caves at Bottling Plant to Save Bats, distributed using Cision’s PR Newswire network on October 26, 2016, was picked up and redistributed by The Associated Press, increasing the coverage and awareness of the campaign. Bacardi also saw a 30% year-over-year increase in web traffic.
“We use the reports to gauge how encompassing our outreach efforts are quarter-by-quarter and year-over-year in a variety of KPIs,” notes Federman. “These results are shared with senior leaders to show progress and commitment to the global platform. We also use the insights in the reports to learn what messages, brands, and initiatives resonate the most with our various audiences. The approach has been very strategic in targeting select stakeholders (NGOs, regulators, sustainability community, CSR platforms, and partners) rather than a one-size-fits-all consumer approach.”
Bacardi uses the information gathered in the reports to then shape the next six to 12 months of the campaign. For example, Bacardi noticed that while their stakeholders expected standard CSR-related actions and commitments, such as reduction in GHG emissions or issue a CR report, the campaign received the most engagement on softer initiatives such as the bat caves, lemon soap, and #NoStraws.