Pernod Ricard and Linkfluence Disrupt Research Through AI-enabled Consumer Insights

When we started our partnership with Linkfluence, our key goal was to ensure social data and consumer insights would drive every business decision we make. This could only be possible with powerful technology and an innovative approach to research. Linkfluence was one of the key enablers that helped us become a truly consumer-centric organization


Florence Rainsard, Global Consumer Insights Director

Wine & Spirits
Annual Sales
Linkfluence Users
About Company

Pernod Ricard is the world’s n°2 in wines and spirits with consolidated Sales of €8,987m in FY18. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has undergone sustained development, based on both organic growth and acquisitions. Pernod Ricard holds one of the most prestigious brand portfolios in the sector, including Absolut Vodka, Ballantine's, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, Jameson Irish whiskey, Beefeater gin, Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagnes.

Powerful technology lies at the heart of Pernod Ricard’s consumer insights approach


The consumer insights industry has been going through a transformation. Classical research methodologies in isolation cannot keep up with the speed, spontaneity and pure volume of insights available to brands today. Innovative companies like Pernod Ricard saw this shift as an opportunity. 


Striving for digital transformation long before its key competitors did, the company wanted to use a combination of technology and research methodologies to understand consumers faster, deeper and in a consistent manner. They decided to enrich their solely traditional research and use the emergence of digital solutions to re-think their approach to gathering insights. 


With trained analysts and data scientists in-house, we were able to design a program which takes into consideration the complexity of consumer behaviors. Understanding the limitations of social listening platforms, Pernod Ricard needed a solution which allowed for structured data collection and analysis at audience level, coming away from generic and reactive tracking.


In addition, a hybrid model where software solution comes with dedicated service was needed to optimize internal use and support Pernod Ricard’s drive for democratization of insights. Our expertise and dedicated support teams, paired with a state of the art social intelligence platform, allowed us to address Pernod Ricard’s major needs for:


  1. Speed
    Classical research methodologies don’t allow for identification and analysis of new consumer behaviours at speed, as they emerge or shift. Capturing those in real time gives Pernod Ricard an opportunity to react and adjust, maintaining the relevance of its product.

  2. Scale
    Pernod Ricard is a global matrix organization which requires a scalable solution. Each local marketing team must be able to measure performance in their market but benchmark it against global KPIs. All without impact on quality and accuracy of data.

  3. Efficiency
    Social intelligence is a critical solution helping to provide democratized insights across the Pernod Ricard matrix organization. The same would be cost-prohibitive with traditional methods at scale.

  4. Coverage
    As an organization operating around the world, Pernod Ricard must be able to gather and mine data across all regions, including China and Russia. Linkfluence can easily provide that, not only at the data collection level but, crucially, the analysis stage.


Getting closer to the consumer is possible as we turn data into insights


“If we really want to connect with our consumers and better understand them, it is critical not to use industry jargon, language unfamiliar to the consumer. Linkfluence allows us to listen to real people's voices and understand what our brands mean to them, in their own words. Then, there is less room for ambiguity.” 


To fulfill its goal of being a truly consumer centric organization, Pernod Ricard must understand people at every stage of the consumer and shopper journey, including early on when they’ve only just started considering a product or are seeking one that resonates with their needs. Without an adequate solution, there is a danger of losing crucial data, as consumers are moving fast and all too often, traditional solutions can’t reach them in time. 

In addition, wealth of insight might remain undiscovered as classical methods tend to prompt and influence answers to an extent, and traditional social listening tools are unable to detect and classify weak signals. The sophistication of the Linkfluence social listening platform means Pernod Ricard is able to deep dive into unsolicited and spontaneous consumer conversations and, with context and sophisticated data structure, provide the business with real insights and actions.


Through their social activities, consumers tell us how, when and why they consume our products. In addition, the granularity of social data is a real asset. Quantitative methodologies help to identify (or confirm) major moments of consumption but we need to go further. Consumer centric businesses must be able to go granular and learn from micro moments shared by consumers online. This detail enables us to identify emerging occasions we were not aware existed.


Predicting demand and informing supply chain choices


All mentions of Pernod Ricard brands are segmented into moments of consumption. At the very basic level, this means we have a real time and ongoing overview of products which are most popular at certain times of day (lunch, "apero", dinner), occasions (festivals, clubs, at home), celebrations (weddings, birthdays, New Year’s) or national holidays (Cinco de Mayo, Saint Patrick’s, Labour Day). As consumers don’t only stress when but also focus on why and how they consume favourite products, Pernod Ricard is able to use the data to identify future flavour alternatives, cocktail options and drink combinations. As the data goes back to 2016, any seasonal fluctuations and impact on demand is easily predicted, informing the retail and supply chain choices. From when sour and refreshing combinations are most in demand to the popularity of dry cocktails in certain seasons, the team is able to track fluctuations and be more proactive.


Qualifying and prioritizing trends


The exploration of weak online signals is a cost effective way to quickly understand a trend’s potential to grow and go mainstream. Early analysis of the organic wines category enabled Pernod Ricard to identify barriers to entry, pain points and early interest in the product on both, global and local level. Examination of key differences between core markets, understanding major confusion factors for consumers around the world helped the organization to assess the opportunity early on, and fast.


“Ensuring consumer profiles are reflective of reality is simpler and more effective with social data. Lookalike online audiences enable Pernod Ricard to enrich existing profiles and plug knowledge gaps where necessary."


Remaining relevant and close to target audiences


Through detailed identification and selection of consumer profiles matching specific interest groups, Pernod Ricard is able to better understand its communities, going beyond where and what they drink. Identifying passion points but also other brands and organizations consumers associate themselves with offers the teams the knowledge they need to optimize performance, from partnerships and potential collaborations through to communication strategies. One of the ways we segment the audience is by thematic pillars, such as design, art, fashion, sports or business & society. Focusing on the different sectors exposes the key differences and uniqueness of each community.

Our audience exploration capabilities were put through the test when, as the Covid-19 pandemic stroke, Pernod Ricard needed to quickly understand the immediate impact on its core audiences. The bartender community has been hit hard by the virus and its implications. Social conversations led by the members of this tribe revealed major worries and prompted actions to help those affected. From reacting to government restrictions and seeking alternative income options to conversations about wellbeing and career longevity - Pernod Ricard was able to get closer to its core community at the time of crisis, simply by listening to the conversation real time.


Data at the heart of business


“To achieve real competitive advantage, we needed to ensure data is at the heart of everything we do. From marketing and consumer insights to IT, all departments must work closely together and leverage the power of data.”


Social intelligence helps to democratize insights, making data available in real time, consistent and relevant to all business divisions. To ensure buy in and maximise use, accessibility is key. Data must be seen as a single source of truth within the organization. 


Going beyond simplistic brand tracking, focusing on understanding category trends, supply chain challenges and audience behaviours at a community level have been at the core of Pernod Ricard’s approach to measuring its brands’ health. Their innovative ecosystem which tracks performance sees social data as a key component, enriching insights gained through traditional methodology. This intelligent approach allows to track and analyse data relevant across the organization.

Trust in data is a real challenge for many businesses and the only way to demonstrate the power of social intelligence is through reliable information. Data structuring and queries certification are vital.

Tracking brand and product mentions in isolation is limiting and reactive. Innovative businesses must find ways of incorporating their brand and wider business context in searches. It’s not only about excluding content that is obviously spam. It’s about an ongoing review of the beverage industry and incorporating topical phrases and keywords impacting performance (seasonal trends, political issues, welfare and economic factors). 


Social intelligence is revolutionizing market research


Many brands still don’t see AI-enabled social intelligence as a source which can fuel innovation and help to predict future behaviours, betting on traditional methods only. Pernod Ricard was one of the first in its industry to recognise the value of social data and ensure it’s the key component of its research process and how it gathers consumer insights. Whether on a basic level of measuring the success of campaigns and using the insights to improve the next initiative, or a sophisticated analysis of micro-trends discussed by consumers online, the findings give Pernod Ricard the ability to plan ahead and stay ahead.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, don’t hesitate to get in touch!