- Start now by auditing and diagnosing your brand or organization’s biggest consumer identity pain points.
- Find allies internally and externally so you’re building this future together.
- Test, test, and test some more so you’re positioning your brand for the day when the world does change.
National beverage giant Molson Coors has always dedicated itself to being a brand that “people want to hang out with” by creating and maintaining lasting consumer relationships. But as the industry’s reliance on older data collection practices faces obsolescence and stricter government oversight, many brands are proactively starting to think now about the consumer value exchange for building their first-party data.
Join Amobee on Thursday, December 17 for an exclusive AdWeek webinar, “Future-Proof Your Consumer Data Strategy: A Framework for 2021 and Beyond.” Register Now
In our interview with Megan Sullivan, Senior Manager of Precision & Digital Marketing, here are some of the internal and external innovations the Molson Coors team underwent to stay ahead of changes in the consumer identity and privacy landscape as they began building toward a stronger, more independent future.
How did you break your reliance on third-party data sources?
About a year ago, we started investing in more technology that let us collect data from promotions, brewery tours, and other consumer-facing experiences. It was a matter of changing our promotional mechanics in order to make them data rich and data-enabled on the backend. While it will be some time before we’re completely broken from our reliance on external data, we got a jumpstart by shifting our mindset and employee culture and making sure that data collection is prioritized, encouraged, and celebrated.
What is the Molson Coors value exchange with consumers and prospects?
Data is a game of reciprocity. You have to give something in order to get something back, and Molson Coors is very well positioned to do this. We’ve always been focused on attracting new legal-age drinkers as well as people who drink our products across all walks of life. It was really just a matter of making sure that data collection was reciprocal so we could learn how to make our consumer activations stronger, and also make sure we were building relationships with consumers beyond just that one touchpoint.
This past fall, Miller Lite ran an activation called “Cantenna” that featured a beer can as a digital antenna that allowed cord-cutting, cord-never consumers to stream live NFL games in their homes. Miller High Life ran a “Backyard Dive Bar” campaign where we brought a dive bar to one lucky winner’s backyard, complete with a bar shed, bar stools, and Miller High Life on tap.
In another example, Coors Light created a “Hit Refresh” campaign that enabled a limited number of winners who were suffering from Zoom fatigue the opportunity to go on a real-life vacation to their chosen Zoom background when the world opens up again. So we’ve discovered many opportunities where we can grow from being a data-light brand to providing a more strategically balanced consumer value exchange.
What are some of the measurement challenges you faced?
Finding a common identifier. Cookies were a really good fallback because they exist across many of our providers and partners in the ecosystem. When we realized they were no longer sufficient because of changes in privacy laws and that we needed to come up with better solutions, we had a lot of partners say, “Use our tool. Use our system.” But it was becoming very patchwork. We needed a solution that enabled consistency across all of our buys and media plans, and across our entire portfolio. So we turned to some of our largest and most strategic partners like Amobee to help us unify our cross-channel and cross-partner media investments so they could all be measured with the same denominator. LiveRamp’s IdentityLink has been our primary test into this space and we’ll continue to pilot other solutions.
How can other brands prepare for a very different advertising ecosystem?
At the beginning of our consumer identity journey, we started networking with individuals who we knew were smart thought leaders in this space. We also networked with a lot of other brands who were in a similar position so we could understand what they were doing and how they had cracked the identity code. We also met with a lot of organizations and ultimately leaned really hard on key strategic partners to make sure that their pipeline was going to match our needs and our vision of how we wanted to future-proof our identity strategy.
What are some first steps for getting on the right identity path?
- Audit yourself and diagnose your biggest pain points as a brand and an organization. Identify where your gaps are and how you’re going to solve for those gaps. At Molson Coors, we have an internal working group that meets frequently and includes people from all ends of the company to make sure we’re well represented at the table as we’re building this future together.
- Find allies internally and externally who can help support large organizational change. This includes getting buy-in from executive leadership and executive sponsors as well as peers and cross-functional teams such as privacy, legal, and investment teams.
- Identify external partners. For Molson Coors, this was where Amobee played a big role. We’re really good at making beer, not technology, so we needed a partner to help us bring our vision to life.
- Test, test, and test. Our testing framework started out on the aggressive side and now we’ve scaled back to where we’re managing tests in a very controlled environment. Testing doesn’t have to be daunting, and it doesn’t have to be world-changing, but you do need to start positioning your brand for the day when the world does change.
How has this massive industry and societal shift changed Molson Coors?
Consumer-centricity and personalization have become bigger topics than ever before for Molson Coors, and there are things that we’re bringing to the very top of our internal organization to hopefully influence change across more than just our digital marketing, but also how we’re doing business across the entire advertising ecosystem.
Join Amobee on Thursday, December 17 for an exclusive AdWeek webinar, “Future-Proof Your Consumer Data Strategy: A Framework for 2021 and Beyond.” You’ll hear from Molson Coors’ Senior Manager of Precision & Digital Marketing, Megan Sullivan; Forrester Research’s VP, Principal Analyst, Joanna O’Connell; and our Chief Strategy Officer, Philip Smolin, on how to future-proof your identity strategy. Register Now
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