In 1835, Samuel Colt patented the first modern five-shot revolver, Charles Darwin set foot in the Galapagos Islands, and a locomotive reached 100 km/hour for the first time. It was also the year in which Mark Twain was born and Francis II, the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, died.
Almost 185 years later, this Spanish multinational, one of the world leaders in the production and marketing of wines and spirits, decided that the time had come to (re)consider the position that a company born in the 19th century occupies in today’s digital environment. What opportunities are opening up and what threats are posed in the complex landscape of the digital economy? What does the concept of digitalisation imply for the company itself? What image does today’s consumer have of González Byass? An image that, for a long time, has been associated with the iconic Tío Pepe advertisement in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, which was unveiled back in 1935…
Currently, Gonzalez Byass deploys its commercial activity in more than 100 markets. Its more than 1,000 employees work at the headquarters in Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Chile, as well as in other subsidiary branches (Germany, China, the United States, etc.) The high level of dispersion of the organisation (both physical and operational) was, therefore, a significant factor to take into account when programming and executing any work action.
From the outset, we worked hand in hand with the management team and CEO of González Byass, as well as with a multidisciplinary and global team created by the company, coordinated with dedicated local teams in all Good Rebels offices.
The presence of Good Rebels’ basecamps in three of the four main markets in which Gonzalez Byass operates (Spain, United Kingdom, Mexico) was a decisive factor for the multinational company to entrust us with its digital redefinition plan. All of our basecamps would be involved in the work to understand and refine the local knowledge of a total of twelve brands in their portfolio. Their joint work would assemble the global development strategy, aimed at strengthening, supporting and optimizing operations, broadening the strategic vision and streamlining the coordination of local and global teams.
The work plan
Based on this approach, we defined a series of primary lines of work. Regarding the brand experience, the objective was to identify the messages transmitted by the different brands of the group on networks and digital channels: what kind of digital interactions were established with the reference public? Through what channels? With what image and message did they appear in the networks?
In terms of the audiences and communities, we monitored the digital positioning to find out who was talking about the group’s brands and what they were saying: what kind of digital audience does González Byass interact with? What is the buyer persona? Is it related to influencers?
In order to optimize the sales channels, we also evaluated which ecommerce platforms and channels worked best: where is the digital buyer and how do they find us? Are the brands marketed through own or third-party channels? Are the sales channels efficient?
Finally, we assessed the organisation’s suitability to cope with the competitive digital environment: how do the organisation’s internal processes work? Where do decisions come from? Are best practices and knowledge shared?
For five months, between January and May 2018, we accompanied González Byass in this process of complete digital assessment of its centenary brand, through personal interviews and workshops with local teams in five cities (Madrid, Jerez, Chicago, London and Mexico City).
For two days we conducted these workshops applying Design Thinking methodology, with the aim of extracting divergent thoughts and ideas (“What could we do?”) and turning them into concrete initiatives (“Let’s do this”). Likewise, we reinforced the commitment of the teams involved in the change, making them participants in the transformation process.
The workshops were complemented by a series of talks on the impact of digitisation, both from a practical and educational point of view (what is the impact of digitisation on the organisation as a whole?) and an inspirational one (why is digitisation good for employees and why is it good for the organisation?).
After the first evaluation, the truth is that we found a state of things that was far from the ideal models, mainly due to the scarcity (or complete absence) of internal communication, the dispersion of processes and procedures, and, in general, the lack of a genuine digital culture. Therefore, we designed a comprehensive plan of digital excellence in the field of brands, business and organisation, coordinating the various lines of work from Good Rebels.
Firstly, in order to unify the message and brand experience projected from any of the branches or markets, we created a series of common repositories to facilitate access to digital assets for all employees. We also established a series of marketing guidelines, creating a common labelling and campaign nomenclature system for all markets and centralising accounts to control investment and ROI.
To assess the local positioning of each of the group’s brands, we devised a digital performance indicator, based on the weighting of different metrics and factors. We also paid attention to the data, establishing guidelines for its capture and subsequent generation of operational dashboards, aimed at improving the results of marketing actions.
“We designed a comprehensive plan of digital excellence in the field of brands, business and organisation”.
Finally, at the organisational level, we recommended the creation of a digital specialist team, reporting directly to the CEO, which would for the first time act as a digital reference within the company. Also, from HR, we promoted the selection and configuration of an internal communication platform aimed at capturing and making digital knowledge flow.
In short, it was a work of foundation and consolidation of the digital experience, a necessary basis for at least another 185 years of success.