Case Studies

Top-line summaries of recent Barfly projects.

The insights we unearth and recommendations we provide are designed to deliver genuine competitive advantage, de-risk investment and fuel growth for our clients’ portfolios. In addition, many of the innovations we test are yet to be commercially released, and so almost every Barfly project is highly confidential and bound by strict NDA. Therefore, we’re unable to share sensitive details about much of our work here in the public domain.

However, below are some carefully crafted and anonymous summaries from a selection of recent projects. They are purposely light in content, but will demonstrate the breadth of topic and scope that we can cover, along with our geographical reach.

The insights we unearth and recommendations we provide are designed to deliver genuine competitive advantage, de-risk investment and fuel growth for our clients’ portfolios. In addition, many of the innovations we test are yet to be commercially released, and so almost every Barfly project is highly confidential and bound by strict NDA. Therefore, we’re unable to share sensitive details about much of our work here in the public domain.

However, below are some carefully crafted and anonymous summaries from a selection of recent projects. They are purposely light in content, but will demonstrate the breadth of topic and scope that we can cover, along with our geographical reach.

Case Studies

Brand Stretch Validation

United States


Helping an iconic global brand stretch their trademark into a totally different category in order to compete with the heavily established brand leader.

One of the leading drinks companies needed to evaluate the opportunity to ‘brand stretch’ one of its leading trademarks into a new category.

Barfly initiated a Deep Dive exploratory with a number of US bartenders to interrogate the new proposed expression, breaking down all the various elements from provenance to concept, liquid and pack. Importantly, all these elements were further evaluated in relation to the existing category brand leader.

The resulting feedback was a strong endorsement of this new innovation, albeit with a crucial recommendation to out-execute the brand leader at all key distribution points. An essential part of the deliverables back to the client was a ‘sizzle film’ – a short three-minute, upbeat sales film for internal audiences only, bringing to life the sheer scale of the opportunity and levels of trade advocacy that such an innovation could bring.

The new expression is now being actively planned by the client as one of their lead ideas within the overall innovation pipeline.

Craft Lager Innovation Pilot

United Kingdom


Identifying how to connect more women with craft lager by testing a new innovation from one of world’s largest global brewers in a London pilot.

One of the world’s leading brewers developed a premium new-to-world craft lager, specifically designed to accommodate female palates, without alienating males consumers. Sold in a two-third pint glass only, versus the traditional pint serve, along with a super-premium price point, the proposition was designed to grab attention – but could it attract wallets too?

We ran a three-month pilot in six premium gastropubs in South London, with four accounts tested with a branded fount, and the other two listed on the T-Bars. The pilot also included filmed interviews with natural trialists and four waves of mystery shopping to track bartender advocacy and in-bar messaging resonance.

Alongside weekly rate of sale tracking for the test brand and all other draft beers, there were a number of additional experiments to identify the optimal launch package. These included price testing, different activation creative, alternative branded glassware concepts and food pairing activity.

Our debrief with the global innovation and insight teams was underpinned with films edited from interviews with the participating General Managers. Our consultancy spanned insight into source of volume, price elasticity, key purchase triggers, drinker typology, target occasions and advocacy drivers, amongst others. We provided “go/no go” recommendations on all elements of the proposition, along with an account segmentation strategy and brand truth hierarchy.

“As well as being very encouraged with the results of the test, plus the clarity of what we have to improve, I would like to say that I am very impressed by the quality of your debrief output. I found your use of well-edited videos, plus learning and conclusions for each section, made everything very clear and focused. I have sat through many a debrief over the years and would go as far as to say it was one of the clearest I have ever seen. So well done and thanks again.”

Global Director of Innovation

On-Premise Excellence Guide

Global


Developing a film-based excellence guide for a global spirits business, created to educate their sales and marketing teams around the world about the On-Premise and to then inform future strategies.

One of the world’s leading spirits manufacturers had identified a need to improve its approach to activating brands in the On-Premise. Fundamentally there was a requirement to better educate their insight marketing teams around the world about the unique dynamics of the On-Premise environment, to then enable them to make better commercial decisions.

Barfly was brought on to lead that re-education, through a five-city Deep Dive and Consumer Intercept package in London, Barcelona, Moscow, Sydney and Tokyo. The hours of filmed street-level interviews were then condensed into twenty stand-alone chapters, each providing filmed learning with accompanying conclusions, recommendations and creative thought-starters around each subject.

Topics covered how to secure bartender recommendations, winning in drinks menus, developing optimal advocacy programmes, creating commercial point of sale strategies and how to craft dynamic drinks strategies, amongst many others.

The excellence guide is now a mainstay of the business’ global approach to the On-Premise, leveraged around the world in all of its key markets.

Beer Cocktail Drinks Strategy

United Kingdom


Creating a dynamic drinks strategy for a global brewer to successfully take some of their leading brands into the beer cocktail space.

One of the world’s largest brewers had identified an opportunity to enhance the drinking experience for their consumers, and by doing so drive a greater rate of sale in the premium pub segment in the UK.

The ambition was simple - to create a range of beer cocktails for their top tier brands that would capture the imagination of consumers. All the serves had to be exciting to order, serve and consume, but also needed to be operationally viable, as well as simple and quick to make.

We undertook our established Drinks Strategy approach, engaging with creative bartenders across the UK to develop a range of dynamic serves. A structured workshop with the client then whittled down the long list of serves to a select few that we finally road-tested with General Managers of target accounts across London, using our Deep Dive service.

Albeit the client’s initial intention was to launch with a handful of serves, the calibre of the drinks created resulted in twice that number being launched in key accounts across London, supported by a heavyweight activation and training programme.

African Brand Stretch Pilot

Cameroon


Helping a powerhouse trademark break out of its traditional category through brand stretch innovation and, in doing so, fuel growth across Africa.

A leading spirits manufacturer needed to understand whether one of its leading trademarks had the potential to stretch into new categories to strengthen its position in Africa, and to what degree.

One new product stood out from the innovation pipeline and Barfly was brought in to run a two-month pilot in Douala, Cameroon, in eight accounts across both On and Off-Premise channels. Consumer Intercepts and an end-of-trial Deep Dive with the participating bar and store managers added qualitative richness and clarification to the weekly ROS data. Interrogation into pricing strategy, pack optimisation, liquid quality, activation concepts and a range of other mission critical topics ensured no stone was left unturned.

Exceptional rate-of-sale during the pilot has led to the client now planning the launch of the innovation across Africa, with Barfly working on additional new innovations targeting further growth across the continent.

On-Premise Trend Tracker

Europe


Delivering a film-based, European trend tracker for one of world’s leading drinks businesses to identify key On-Premise dynamics that would impact their future business.

The overarching objective of this project was to identify future trends in the On-Premise in order for the business to be the first to fully commercialise and capitalise on the opportunities they represent. In addition, we were required to identify where in their lifecycle the trends were, to assess current versus future dynamics.

The Deep Dive project saw us interview bartenders on film in multiple markets across Europe, feeding back a biannual debrief that brought to life relevant findings, conclusions and core recommendations. The work also included a presentation of each city’s drinks scene, including hot accounts, the hip areas, current versus future trends, key influences and all relevant implications to the business’ portfolio.

Each wave saw a new twist on the core discussion guide. For example, one wave involved us getting trade reactions to brands in the portfolio, bearing in mind the trends that had been identified. This helped clarify how well positioned (or not) each brand was in light of the incoming trends, ensuring they could futureproof the portfolio accordingly.

Rum Innovation Validation

United States


Informing the development of a new super-premium expression for a global rum, combining qualitative and quantitative street intelligence to advise on pack and liquid options.

The brief for this super-premium expression of an established rum brand was two-fold. Firstly, we were asked to inform a recrafting of the brand vision for the US market, as part of a future relaunch for the brand, as well as garner reactions to a new pack design. As part of this activity, we were also charged with unlocking some of the key trends impacting the category to ensure the new proposition was on-trend and well positioned for success.

The second phase of work was a quantitative taste test with 200 bartenders to identify a new liquid from a choice of three for the high-end variant.

The initial Deep Dive phase saw filmed interviews with bartenders from rum-forward accounts in both New York and Miami. Our resulting consultative debrief not only identified the key dynamics driving the super-premium rum category, but in addition put forward a revised brand truth hierarchy, a genuinely ownable product superiority claim, a proposed ritual to maximise rate of sale, and creative thought-starters on a POS strategy. The taste test, also run in New York and Miami to ensure all feedback was aligned, saw one stand-out liquid identified from the trio.

The new super-premium proposition has since launched and performs well in the region, having carved itself a unique positioning from the bartender insight and consultancy we delivered.

Brand & Category Deep Dive

Europe & United States


Helping an international drinks company to Deep Dive the history and current status of the vodka category, to inform a revitalised marketing strategy for one of its key brands.

An international drinks company required an in-depth study of the vodka category to understand its current health, challenges and opportunities (versus the current perceived wisdom).

This study was executed through 48 in-depth bartender interviews in London, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, St Louis, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Topics discussed with the trade panels spanned not only the category itself and views on the client’s vodka proposition, but also a detailed analysis on the other leading vodka trademarks and the resulting opportunity for the brand in question.

The study revealed new learning about the category which was used specifically to inform the relaunch of the company’s major brand in this sector. This learning was also used to underpin a liquid reformulation, a sharpening of the brand’s positioning, and to plot a new direction for the brand’s innovation agenda, on which Barfly continues to play an ongoing role.

Innovation Naming Strategy

Latin America


Helping one of the leading spirits companies name and test a new flavoured variant of one of their core brands in Latin America.

This company asked Barfly for help in naming one of their core regional brands which was due to launch a flavoured variant. The brief was to clearly communicate the flavour of the product without undermining the fundamental quality credentials and positioning of the core brand.

Barfly developed a series of potential names for the new variant, all of which delivered against a very tight brief, from which the client then picked the optimal names after a round of internal stakeholder feedback.

Barfly then took the leading ideas and discussed the various strengths and considerations of each name with a number of leading bartenders in Mexico City and Sao Paulo before making final recommendations to the client. The new brand is due to be launched in June 2019.

Adult Soft Drink Exploratory

United Kingdom


Helping a leading soft drinks company to understand the overall non-alcoholic drinks market and the future trends that will impact both their current range and future innovation strategy.

This global soft drink manufacturer asked Barfly for help in understanding the latest trends in the adult soft drink market in the UK and the implications from the findings on their future brand, innovation and commercial strategy.

Barfly undertook a Deep Dive in London talking to a broad range of bar professionals to understand their take on the growing non-alcoholic drinks sector, along with the status of the mixer market. One critical piece of the analysis was understanding the necessary success factors for a new entrant to the category, based on the hierarchy of needs from both a bartender and decision maker’s perspective.

One of the key insights was the lack of knowledge and bar innovation around this sector, despite the growing interest in low and no alcohol offerings. The work revealed the need to further educate the bartender of the growing opportunity that this sector offers. Additionally, it provided valuable learning around recent new competitor launches which in turn informed the company in launching their own craft mixer range.

Identifying Brand Stretch Permission

United States


Leading a brand stretch exploratory for a category leader to evaluate permission to play and win in other categories based on brand equity values.

One of the world’s leading drinks companies asked Barfly to evaluate the degree of permission for one of their key brands to stretch into other drinks categories, based on the brand’s DNA and consumer positioning.

This project involved deconstructing the brand’s DNA to understand the unique elements of the offering and then evaluate consumer and trade reactions to category stretch concepts and liquids.

Barfly employed its Drinks Buddies approach, combining in-depth filmed interviews with consumer groups of friends along with one-to-one bartender discussions, all captured in HD film. Additionally, Barfly conducted in-bar Consumer Intercepts to gain spontaneous reactions to these ideas within the appropriate account segments and drinking occasions.

The core outcome of the project was a short, medium and long term innovation pipeline for the brand, along with a series of brand guardrails to inform all future wok in the area.

Brand Equity and Innovation Analysis

United States


Validation of two brand variants for a category leading brand to evaluate positioning, activation ideas and their roles within the overall trademark.

One of the biggest questions for leading brands is understanding at what point to optimise variants and equally when proliferation leads to consumer confusion and brand equity erosion.

With this in mind, Barfly was asked to validate two very different variants for a highly successful category leader in the US. In both cases, the validation utilised in-depth consumer and bartender Deep Dives resulting in a strong endorsement of both ideas. Importantly, the recommendations addressed the role of each variant within the overall trademark, to include positioning, source of business and a drinks strategy.

Since launching, both variants are enjoying significant success true to their objectives and helping to secure the leadership position of the brand in question. In addition, by identifying clear ownable ‘space’ for each expression, the trademark has enhanced confidence to activate each appropriately, but also progress other new variants (currently in development).

Salience and Advocacy Deep Dive

United States & Europe


Helping one of the world’s most iconic spirit brands increase global on-premise salience and build sustainable bartender advocacy.

Barfly was approached to conduct several in-depth Deep Dives with bartenders to understand how to build lasting engagement with these highly influential individuals.

Interviews were conducted with bartenders in London, Berlin, New York and Los Angeles to initially understand some of the fundamental bartender challenges and motivations, to provide a context for their standpoint on brand engagement. From this knowledge base, Barfly then tested a series of brand communication ideas and new innovations to better understand how the brand could present itself in a more relevant and interesting way to this group.

As a result of this work, the client has successfully launched a series of new innovations, each of which has been developed to offer specific appeal to the bartending community and beyond.

Health and Well-being Exploratory

Global


Helping one of the leading drinks companies better understand the varying dynamics around Health and Wellbeing and its impact on bar professionals across the industry.

Barfly conducted 48 filmed in-depth interviews in London, New York, Shanghai, Bangkok, Lagos and Mexico City focusing on ‘hands-on’ bar professionals who had regular responsibilities in running and working bar shifts.

A range of subjects were interrogated from travel security, abuse and sleep deprivation to diet, exercise and beyond. Each of the various topics accommodated any local sensitivities to provide both a market and international perspective on this growing issue within the industry.

The output from this work provided rich filmed content to be used by the company to more effectively communicate with the bar professional community, and in so doing demonstrating their understanding of the current global on-premise dynamics and challenges.

Liqueur Drinks Strategy

Global


Growing a famous, established and leading liqueur, soon after it had been acquired by a new drinks business, via a comprehensive drinks strategy for all of its key international markets.

Barfly initially engaged a number of international ‘creative bartenders’ chosen for their understanding of the market and category in question, as well as their creativity and commercial awareness. These bartenders were fully briefed on the history of the brand, the current positioning and the specifics of which signature serve types required as part of an overall drinks strategy.

Each bartender executed the brief delivering a full rationale, recipe and a ‘how to serve’ film for each drink, including the correct garnish and glassware in each case. All these drinks were then evaluated against a number of agreed criteria in a client workshop with a leading list of winning drinks chosen at the end of the process.

Finally, and most importantly, each of these drinks were then ‘road-tested’ through in-depth filmed interviews with 32 bartenders in London, Paris, Ghent, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Toronto. This involved each of the bartenders making all of the proposed drinks and critiquing every element of the serve from a commercial and practical standpoint, as well as advising how the brand could best own each of the various creations.

The drinks strategy was successfully launched and remains a fundamental part of the new owners’ successful strategy in continuing to grow both volume and share for the brand.

Case Studies

Brand Stretch Validation

United States


Helping an iconic global brand stretch their trademark into a totally different category in order to compete with the heavily established brand leader.

One of the leading drinks companies needed to evaluate the opportunity to ‘brand stretch’ one of its leading trademarks into a new category.

Barfly initiated a Deep Dive exploratory with a number of US bartenders to interrogate the new proposed expression, breaking down all the various elements from provenance to concept, liquid and pack. Importantly, all these elements were further evaluated in relation to the existing category brand leader.

The resulting feedback was a strong endorsement of this new innovation, albeit with a crucial recommendation to out-execute the brand leader at all key distribution points. An essential part of the deliverables back to the client was a ‘sizzle film’ – a short three-minute, upbeat sales film for internal audiences only, bringing to life the sheer scale of the opportunity and levels of trade advocacy that such an innovation could bring.

The new expression is now being actively planned by the client as one of their lead ideas within the overall innovation pipeline.

Brand Stretch
Validation

United States

Craft Lager Innovation Pilot

United Kingdom


Identifying how to connect more women with craft lager by testing a new innovation from one of world’s largest global brewers in a London pilot.

One of the world’s leading brewers developed a premium new-to-world craft lager, specifically designed to accommodate female palates, without alienating males consumers. Sold in a two-third pint glass only, versus the traditional pint serve, along with a super-premium price point, the proposition was designed to grab attention – but could it attract wallets too?

We ran a three-month pilot in six premium gastropubs in South London, with four accounts tested with a branded fount, and the other two listed on the T-Bars. The pilot also included filmed interviews with natural trialists and four waves of mystery shopping to track bartender advocacy and in-bar messaging resonance.

Alongside weekly rate of sale tracking for the test brand and all other draft beers, there were a number of additional experiments to identify the optimal launch package. These included price testing, different activation creative, alternative branded glassware concepts and food pairing activity.

Our debrief with the global innovation and insight teams was underpinned with films edited from interviews with the participating General Managers. Our consultancy spanned insight into source of volume, price elasticity, key purchase triggers, drinker typology, target occasions and advocacy drivers, amongst others. We provided “go/no go” recommendations on all elements of the proposition, along with an account segmentation strategy and brand truth hierarchy.

“As well as being very encouraged with the results of the test, plus the clarity of what we have to improve, I would like to say that I am very impressed by the quality of your debrief output. I found your use of well-edited videos, plus learning and conclusions for each section, made everything very clear and focused. I have sat through many a debrief over the years and would go as far as to say it was one of the clearest I have ever seen. So well done and thanks again.”

Global Director of Innovation

Craft Lager
Innovation Pilot

United Kingdom

On-Premise Excellence Guide

Global


Developing a film-based excellence guide for a global spirits business, created to educate their sales and marketing teams around the world about the On-Premise and to then inform future strategies.

One of the world’s leading spirits manufacturers had identified a need to improve its approach to activating brands in the On-Premise. Fundamentally there was a requirement to better educate their insight marketing teams around the world about the unique dynamics of the On-Premise environment, to then enable them to make better commercial decisions.

Barfly was brought on to lead that re-education, through a five-city Deep Dive and Consumer Intercept package in London, Barcelona, Moscow, Sydney and Tokyo. The hours of filmed street-level interviews were then condensed into twenty stand-alone chapters, each providing filmed learning with accompanying conclusions, recommendations and creative thought-starters around each subject.

Topics covered how to secure bartender recommendations, winning in drinks menus, developing optimal advocacy programmes, creating commercial point of sale strategies and how to craft dynamic drinks strategies, amongst many others.

The excellence guide is now a mainstay of the business’ global approach to the On-Premise, leveraged around the world in all of its key markets.

On-Premise
Excellence Guide

Global

Beer Cocktail Drinks Strategy

United Kingdom


Creating a dynamic drinks strategy for a global brewer to successfully take some of their leading brands into the beer cocktail space.

One of the world’s largest brewers had identified an opportunity to enhance the drinking experience for their consumers, and by doing so drive a greater rate of sale in the premium pub segment in the UK.

The ambition was simple - to create a range of beer cocktails for their top tier brands that would capture the imagination of consumers. All the serves had to be exciting to order, serve and consume, but also needed to be operationally viable, as well as simple and quick to make.

We undertook our established Drinks Strategy approach, engaging with creative bartenders across the UK to develop a range of dynamic serves. A structured workshop with the client then whittled down the long list of serves to a select few that we finally road-tested with General Managers of target accounts across London, using our Deep Dive service.

Albeit the client’s initial intention was to launch with a handful of serves, the calibre of the drinks created resulted in twice that number being launched in key accounts across London, supported by a heavyweight activation and training programme.

Beer Cocktail
Drinks Strategy

United Kingom

African Brand Stretch Pilot

Cameroon


Helping a powerhouse trademark break out of its traditional category through brand stretch innovation and, in doing so, fuel growth across Africa.

A leading spirits manufacturer needed to understand whether one of its leading trademarks had the potential to stretch into new categories to strengthen its position in Africa, and to what degree.

One new product stood out from the innovation pipeline and Barfly was brought in to run a two-month pilot in Douala, Cameroon, in eight accounts across both On and Off-Premise channels. Consumer Intercepts and an end-of-trial Deep Dive with the participating bar and store managers added qualitative richness and clarification to the weekly ROS data. Interrogation into pricing strategy, pack optimisation, liquid quality, activation concepts and a range of other mission critical topics ensured no stone was left unturned.

Exceptional rate-of-sale during the pilot has led to the client now planning the launch of the innovation across Africa, with Barfly working on additional new innovations targeting further growth across the continent.

African Brand
Stretch Pilot

Cameroon

On-Premise Trend Tracker

Europe


Delivering a film-based, European trend tracker for one of world’s leading drinks businesses to identify key On-Premise dynamics that would impact their future business.

The overarching objective of this project was to identify future trends in the On-Premise in order for the business to be the first to fully commercialise and capitalise on the opportunities they represent. In addition, we were required to identify where in their lifecycle the trends were, to assess current versus future dynamics.

The Deep Dive project saw us interview bartenders on film in multiple markets across Europe, feeding back a biannual debrief that brought to life relevant findings, conclusions and core recommendations. The work also included a presentation of each city’s drinks scene, including hot accounts, the hip areas, current versus future trends, key influences and all relevant implications to the business’ portfolio.

Each wave saw a new twist on the core discussion guide. For example, one wave involved us getting trade reactions to brands in the portfolio, bearing in mind the trends that had been identified. This helped clarify how well positioned (or not) each brand was in light of the incoming trends, ensuring they could futureproof the portfolio accordingly.

On-Premise
Trend Tracker

Europe

Rum Innovation Validation

United States


Informing the development of a new super-premium expression for a global rum, combining qualitative and quantitative street intelligence to advise on pack and liquid options.

The brief for this super-premium expression of an established rum brand was twofold. Firstly, we were asked to inform a recrafting of the brand vision for the US market, as part of a future relaunch for the brand, as well as garner reactions to a new pack design. As part of this activity, we were also charged with unlocking some of the key trends impacting the category to ensure the new proposition was on-trend and well positioned for success.

The second phase of work was a quantitative taste test with 200 bartenders to identify a new liquid from a choice of three for the high-end variant.

The initial Deep Dive phase saw filmed interviews with bartenders from rum-forward accounts in both New York and Miami. Our resulting consultative debrief not only identified the key dynamics driving the super-premium rum category, but in addition put forward a revised brand truth hierarchy, a genuinely ownable product superiority claim, a proposed ritual to maximise rate of sale, and creative thought-starters on a POS strategy. The taste test, also run in New York and Miami to ensure all feedback was aligned, saw one stand-out liquid identified from the trio.

The new super-premium proposition has since launched and performs well in the region, having carved itself a unique positioning from the bartender insight and consultancy we delivered.

Rum Innovation
Validation

United States

Brand & Category Deep Dive

Europe & United States


Helping an international drinks company to Deep Dive the history and current status of the vodka category, to inform a revitalised marketing strategy for one of its key brands.

An international drinks company required an in-depth study of the vodka category to understand its current health, challenges and opportunities (versus the current perceived wisdom).

This study was executed through 48 in-depth bartender interviews in London, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, St Louis, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Topics discussed with the trade panels spanned not only the category itself and views on the client’s vodka proposition, but also a detailed analysis on the other leading vodka trademarks and the resulting opportunity for the brand in question.

The study revealed new learning about the category which was used specifically to inform the relaunch of the company’s major brand in this sector. This learning was also used to underpin a liquid reformulation, a sharpening of the brand’s positioning, and to plot a new direction for the brand’s innovation agenda, on which Barfly continues to play an ongoing role.

Brand & Category
Deep Dive

Europe & United States

Innovation Naming Strategy

Latin America


Helping one of the leading spirits companies name and test a new flavoured variant of one of their core brands in Latin America.

This company asked Barfly for help in naming one of their core regional brands which was due to launch a flavoured variant. The brief was to clearly communicate the flavour of the product without undermining the fundamental quality credentials and positioning of the core brand.

Barfly developed a series of potential names for the new variant, all of which delivered against a very tight brief, from which the client then picked the optimal names after a round of internal stakeholder feedback.

Barfly then took the leading ideas and discussed the various strengths and considerations of each name with a number of leading bartenders in Mexico City and Sao Paulo before making final recommendations to the client. The new brand is due to be launched in June 2019.

Innovation Naming
Strategy

Latin America

Adult Soft Drink Exploratory

United Kingdom


Helping a leading soft drinks company to understand the overall non-alcoholic drinks market and the future trends that will impact both their current range and future innovation strategy.

This global soft drink manufacturer asked Barfly for help in understanding the latest trends in the adult soft drink market in the UK and the implications from the findings on their future brand, innovation and commercial strategy.

Barfly undertook a Deep Dive in London talking to a broad range of bar professionals to understand their take on the growing non-alcoholic drinks sector, along with the status of the mixer market. One critical piece of the analysis was understanding the necessary success factors for a new entrant to the category, based on the hierarchy of needs from both a bartender and decision maker’s perspective.

One of the key insights was the lack of knowledge and bar innovation around this sector, despite the growing interest in low and no alcohol offerings. The work revealed the need to further educate the bartender of the growing opportunity that this sector offers. Additionally, it provided valuable learning around recent new competitor launches which in turn informed the company in launching their own craft mixer range.

Adult Soft Drink
Exploratory

United Kingdom

Identifying Brand Stretch Permission

United States


Leading a brand stretch exploratory for a category leader to evaluate permission to play and win in other categories based on brand equity values.

One of the world’s leading drinks companies asked Barfly to evaluate the degree of permission for one of their key brands to stretch into other drinks categories, based on the brand’s DNA and consumer positioning.

This project involved deconstructing the brand’s DNA to understand the unique elements of the offering and then evaluate consumer and trade reactions to category stretch concepts and liquids.

Barfly employed its Drinks Buddies approach, combining in-depth filmed interviews with consumer groups of friends along with one-to-one bartender discussions, all captured in HD film. Additionally, Barfly conducted in-bar Consumer Intercepts to gain spontaneous reactions to these ideas within the appropriate account segments and drinking occasions.

The core outcome of the project was a short, medium and long term innovation pipeline for the brand, along with a series of brand guardrails to inform all future wok in the area.

Identifying Brand
Stretch Permission

United States

Brand Equity and Innovation Analysis

United States


Validation of two brand variants for a category leading brand to evaluate positioning, activation ideas and their roles within the overall trademark.

One of the biggest questions for leading brands is understanding at what point to optimise variants and equally when proliferation leads to consumer confusion and brand equity erosion.

With this in mind, Barfly was asked to validate two very different variants for a highly successful category leader in the US. In both cases, the validation utilised in-depth consumer and bartender Deep Dives resulting in a strong endorsement of both ideas. Importantly, the recommendations addressed the role of each variant within the overall trademark, to include positioning, source of business and a drinks strategy.

Since launching, both variants are enjoying significant success true to their objectives and helping to secure the leadership position of the brand in question. In addition, by identifying clear ownable ‘space’ for each expression, the trademark has enhanced confidence to activate each appropriately, but also progress other new variants (currently in development).

Brand Equity and
Innovation Analysis

United States

Salience and Advocacy Deep Dive

United States & Europe


Helping one of the world’s most iconic spirit brands increase global on-premise salience and build sustainable bartender advocacy.

Barfly was approached to conduct several in-depth Deep Dives with bartenders to understand how to build lasting engagement with these highly influential individuals.

Interviews were conducted with bartenders in London, Berlin, New York and Los Angeles to initially understand some of the fundamental bartender challenges and motivations, to provide a context for their standpoint on brand engagement. From this knowledge base, Barfly then tested a series of brand communication ideas and new innovations to better understand how the brand could present itself in a more relevant and interesting way to this group.

As a result of this work, the client has successfully launched a series of new innovations, each of which has been developed to offer specific appeal to the bartending community and beyond.

Salience and Advocacy
Deep Dive

United States and Europe

Health and Well-being Exploratory

Global


Helping one of the leading drinks companies better understand the varying dynamics around Health and Wellbeing and its impact on bar professionals across the industry.

Barfly conducted 48 filmed in-depth interviews in London, New York, Shanghai, Bangkok, Lagos and Mexico City focusing on ‘hands-on’ bar professionals who had regular responsibilities in running and working bar shifts.

A range of subjects were interrogated from travel security, abuse and sleep deprivation to diet, exercise and beyond. Each of the various topics accommodated any local sensitivities to provide both a market and international perspective on this growing issue within the industry.

The output from this work provided rich filmed content to be used by the company to more effectively communicate with the bar professional community, and in so doing demonstrating their understanding of the current global on-premise dynamics and challenges.

Health and Well-being
Exploratory

Global

Liqueur Drinks Strategy

Global


Growing a famous, established and leading liqueur, soon after it had been acquired by a new drinks business, via a comprehensive drinks strategy for all of its key international markets.

Barfly initially engaged a number of international ‘creative bartenders’ chosen for their understanding of the market and category in question, as well as their creativity and commercial awareness. These bartenders were fully briefed on the history of the brand, the current positioning and the specifics of which signature serve types required as part of an overall drinks strategy.

Each bartender executed the brief delivering a full rationale, recipe and a ‘how to serve’ film for each drink, including the correct garnish and glassware in each case. All these drinks were then evaluated against a number of agreed criteria in a client workshop with a leading list of winning drinks chosen at the end of the process.

Finally, and most importantly, each of these drinks were then ‘road-tested’ through in-depth filmed interviews with 32 bartenders in London, Paris, Ghent, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Toronto. This involved each of the bartenders making all of the proposed drinks and critiquing every element of the serve from a commercial and practical standpoint, as well as advising how the brand could best own each of the various creations.

The drinks strategy was successfully launched and remains a fundamental part of the new owners’ successful strategy in continuing to grow both volume and share for the brand.

Liqueur Drinks
Strategy

Global

Case Studies

Brand Stretch Validation

United States


Helping an iconic global brand stretch their trademark into a totally different category in order to compete with the heavily established brand leader.

One of the leading drinks companies needed to evaluate the opportunity to ‘brand stretch’ one of its leading trademarks into a new category.

Barfly initiated a Deep Dive exploratory with a number of US bartenders to interrogate the new proposed expression, breaking down all the various elements from provenance to concept, liquid and pack. Importantly, all these elements were further evaluated in relation to the existing category brand leader.

The resulting feedback was a strong endorsement of this new innovation, albeit with a crucial recommendation to out-execute the brand leader at all key distribution points. An essential part of the deliverables back to the client was a ‘sizzle film’ – a short three-minute, upbeat sales film for internal audiences only, bringing to life the sheer scale of the opportunity and levels of trade advocacy that such an innovation could bring.

The new expression is now being actively planned by the client as one of their lead ideas within the overall innovation pipeline.

Brand Stretch
Validation

United States

Craft Lager Innovation Pilot

United Kingdom


Identifying how to connect more women with craft lager by testing a new innovation from one of world’s largest global brewers in a London pilot.

One of the world’s leading brewers developed a premium new-to-world craft lager, specifically designed to accommodate female palates, without alienating males consumers. Sold in a two-third pint glass only, versus the traditional pint serve, along with a super-premium price point, the proposition was designed to grab attention – but could it attract wallets too?

We ran a three-month pilot in six premium gastropubs in South London, with four accounts tested with a branded fount, and the other two listed on the T-Bars. The pilot also included filmed interviews with natural trialists and four waves of mystery shopping to track bartender advocacy and in-bar messaging resonance.

Alongside weekly rate of sale tracking for the test brand and all other draft beers, there were a number of additional experiments to identify the optimal launch package. These included price testing, different activation creative, alternative branded glassware concepts and food pairing activity.

Our debrief with the global innovation and insight teams was underpinned with films edited from interviews with the participating General Managers. Our consultancy spanned insight into source of volume, price elasticity, key purchase triggers, drinker typology, target occasions and advocacy drivers, amongst others. We provided “go/no go” recommendations on all elements of the proposition, along with an account segmentation strategy and brand truth hierarchy.

“As well as being very encouraged with the results of the test, plus the clarity of what we have to improve, I would like to say that I am very impressed by the quality of your debrief output. I found your use of well-edited videos, plus learning and conclusions for each section, made everything very clear and focused. I have sat through many a debrief over the years and would go as far as to say it was one of the clearest I have ever seen. So well done and thanks again.”

Global Director of Innovation

Craft Lager
Innovation Pilot

United Kingdom

On-Premise Excellence Guide

Global


Developing a film-based excellence guide for a global spirits business, created to educate their sales and marketing teams around the world about the On-Premise and to then inform future strategies.

One of the world’s leading spirits manufacturers had identified a need to improve its approach to activating brands in the On-Premise. Fundamentally there was a requirement to better educate their insight marketing teams around the world about the unique dynamics of the On-Premise environment, to then enable them to make better commercial decisions.

Barfly was brought on to lead that re-education, through a five-city Deep Dive and Consumer Intercept package in London, Barcelona, Moscow, Sydney and Tokyo. The hours of filmed street-level interviews were then condensed into twenty stand-alone chapters, each providing filmed learning with accompanying conclusions, recommendations and creative thought-starters around each subject.

Topics covered how to secure bartender recommendations, winning in drinks menus, developing optimal advocacy programmes, creating commercial point of sale strategies and how to craft dynamic drinks strategies, amongst many others.

The excellence guide is now a mainstay of the business’ global approach to the On-Premise, leveraged around the world in all of its key markets.

On-Premise
Excellence Guide

Global

Beer Cocktail Drinks Strategy

United Kingdom


Creating a dynamic drinks strategy for a global brewer to successfully take some of their leading brands into the beer cocktail space.

One of the world’s largest brewers had identified an opportunity to enhance the drinking experience for their consumers, and by doing so drive a greater rate of sale in the premium pub segment in the UK.

The ambition was simple - to create a range of beer cocktails for their top tier brands that would capture the imagination of consumers. All the serves had to be exciting to order, serve and consume, but also needed to be operationally viable, as well as simple and quick to make.

We undertook our established Drinks Strategy approach, engaging with creative bartenders across the UK to develop a range of dynamic serves. A structured workshop with the client then whittled down the long list of serves to a select few that we finally road-tested with General Managers of target accounts across London, using our Deep Dive service.

Albeit the client’s initial intention was to launch with a handful of serves, the calibre of the drinks created resulted in twice that number being launched in key accounts across London, supported by a heavyweight activation and training programme.

Beer Cocktail
Drinks Strategy

United Kingdom

African Brand Stretch Pilot

Cameroon


Helping a powerhouse trademark break out of its traditional category through brand stretch innovation and, in doing so, fuel growth across Africa.

A leading spirits manufacturer needed to understand whether one of its leading trademarks had the potential to stretch into new categories to strengthen its position in Africa, and to what degree.

One new product stood out from the innovation pipeline and Barfly was brought in to run a two-month pilot in Douala, Cameroon, in eight accounts across both On and Off-Premise channels. Consumer Intercepts and an end-of-trial Deep Dive with the participating bar and store managers added qualitative richness and clarification to the weekly ROS data. Interrogation into pricing strategy, pack optimisation, liquid quality, activation concepts and a range of other mission critical topics ensured no stone was left unturned.

Exceptional rate-of-sale during the pilot has led to the client now planning the launch of the innovation across Africa, with Barfly working on additional new innovations targeting further growth across the continent.

African Brand
Stretch Pilot

Cameroon

On-Premise Trend Tracker

Europe


Delivering a film-based, European trend tracker for one of world’s leading drinks businesses to identify key On-Premise dynamics that would impact their future business.

The overarching objective of this project was to identify future trends in the On-Premise in order for the business to be the first to fully commercialise and capitalise on the opportunities they represent. In addition, we were required to identify where in their lifecycle the trends were, to assess current versus future dynamics.

The Deep Dive project saw us interview bartenders on film in multiple markets across Europe, feeding back a biannual debrief that brought to life relevant findings, conclusions and core recommendations. The work also included a presentation of each city’s drinks scene, including hot accounts, the hip areas, current versus future trends, key influences and all relevant implications to the business’ portfolio.

Each wave saw a new twist on the core discussion guide. For example, one wave involved us getting trade reactions to brands in the portfolio, bearing in mind the trends that had been identified. This helped clarify how well positioned (or not) each brand was in light of the incoming trends, ensuring they could futureproof the portfolio accordingly.

On-Premise
Trend Tracker

Europe

Rum Innovation Validation

United States


Informing the development of a new super-premium expression for a global rum, combining qualitative and quantitative street intelligence to advise on pack and liquid options.

The brief for this super-premium expression of an established rum brand was twofold. Firstly, we were asked to inform a recrafting of the brand vision for the US market, as part of a future relaunch for the brand, as well as garner reactions to a new pack design. As part of this activity, we were also charged with unlocking some of the key trends impacting the category to ensure the new proposition was on-trend and well positioned for success.

The second phase of work was a quantitative taste test with 200 bartenders to identify a new liquid from a choice of three for the high-end variant.

The initial Deep Dive phase saw filmed interviews with bartenders from rum-forward accounts in both New York and Miami. Our resulting consultative debrief not only identified the key dynamics driving the super-premium rum category, but in addition put forward a revised brand truth hierarchy, a genuinely ownable product superiority claim, a proposed ritual to maximise rate of sale, and creative thought-starters on a POS strategy. The taste test, also run in New York and Miami to ensure all feedback was aligned, saw one stand-out liquid identified from the trio.

The new super-premium proposition has since launched and performs well in the region, having carved itself a unique positioning from the bartender insight and consultancy we delivered.

Rum Innovation
Validation

United States

Brand & Category Deep Dive

Europe & United States


Helping an international drinks company to Deep Dive the history and current status of the vodka category, to inform a revitalised marketing strategy for one of its key brands.

An international drinks company required an in-depth study of the vodka category to understand its current health, challenges and opportunities (versus the current perceived wisdom).

This study was executed through 48 in-depth bartender interviews in London, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, St Louis, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Topics discussed with the trade panels spanned not only the category itself and views on the client’s vodka proposition, but also a detailed analysis on the other leading vodka trademarks and the resulting opportunity for the brand in question.

The study revealed new learning about the category which was used specifically to inform the relaunch of the company’s major brand in this sector. This learning was also used to underpin a liquid reformulation, a sharpening of the brand’s positioning, and to plot a new direction for the brand’s innovation agenda, on which Barfly continues to play an ongoing role.

Brand & Category
Deep Dive

Europe & United States

Innovation Naming Strategy

Latin America


Helping one of the leading spirits companies name and test a new flavoured variant of one of their core brands in Latin America.

This company asked Barfly for help in naming one of their core regional brands which was due to launch a flavoured variant. The brief was to clearly communicate the flavour of the product without undermining the fundamental quality credentials and positioning of the core brand.

Barfly developed a series of potential names for the new variant, all of which delivered against a very tight brief, from which the client then picked the optimal names after a round of internal stakeholder feedback.

Barfly then took the leading ideas and discussed the various strengths and considerations of each name with a number of leading bartenders in Mexico City and Sao Paulo before making final recommendations to the client. The new brand is due to be launched in June 2019.

Innovation Naming
Strategy

Latin America

Adult Soft Drink Exploratory

United Kingdom


Helping a leading soft drinks company to understand the overall non-alcoholic drinks market and the future trends that will impact both their current range and future innovation strategy.

This global soft drink manufacturer asked Barfly for help in understanding the latest trends in the adult soft drink market in the UK and the implications from the findings on their future brand, innovation and commercial strategy.

Barfly undertook a Deep Dive in London talking to a broad range of bar professionals to understand their take on the growing non-alcoholic drinks sector, along with the status of the mixer market. One critical piece of the analysis was understanding the necessary success factors for a new entrant to the category, based on the hierarchy of needs from both a bartender and decision maker’s perspective.

One of the key insights was the lack of knowledge and bar innovation around this sector, despite the growing interest in low and no alcohol offerings. The work revealed the need to further educate the bartender of the growing opportunity that this sector offers. Additionally, it provided valuable learning around recent new competitor launches which in turn informed the company in launching their own craft mixer range.

Adult Soft Drink
Exploratory

United Kingdom

Identifying Brand Stretch Permission

United States


Leading a brand stretch exploratory for a category leader to evaluate permission to play and win in other categories based on brand equity values.

One of the world’s leading drinks companies asked Barfly to evaluate the degree of permission for one of their key brands to stretch into other drinks categories, based on the brand’s DNA and consumer positioning.

This project involved deconstructing the brand’s DNA to understand the unique elements of the offering and then evaluate consumer and trade reactions to category stretch concepts and liquids.

Barfly employed its Drinks Buddies approach, combining in-depth filmed interviews with consumer groups of friends along with one-to-one bartender discussions, all captured in HD film. Additionally, Barfly conducted in-bar Consumer Intercepts to gain spontaneous reactions to these ideas within the appropriate account segments and drinking occasions.

The core outcome of the project was a short, medium and long term innovation pipeline for the brand, along with a series of brand guardrails to inform all future wok in the area.

Identifying Brand
Stretch Permission

United States

Brand Equity and Innovation Analysis

United States


Validation of two brand variants for a category leading brand to evaluate positioning, activation ideas and their roles within the overall trademark.

One of the biggest questions for leading brands is understanding at what point to optimise variants and equally when proliferation leads to consumer confusion and brand equity erosion.

With this in mind, Barfly was asked to validate two very different variants for a highly successful category leader in the US. In both cases, the validation utilised in-depth consumer and bartender Deep Dives resulting in a strong endorsement of both ideas. Importantly, the recommendations addressed the role of each variant within the overall trademark, to include positioning, source of business and a drinks strategy.

Since launching, both variants are enjoying significant success true to their objectives and helping to secure the leadership position of the brand in question. In addition, by identifying clear ownable ‘space’ for each expression, the trademark has enhanced confidence to activate each appropriately, but also progress other new variants (currently in development).

Brand Equity and
Innovation Analysis

United States

Salience and Advocacy Deep Dive

United States & Europe


Helping one of the world’s most iconic spirit brands increase global on-premise salience and build sustainable bartender advocacy.

Barfly was approached to conduct several in-depth Deep Dives with bartenders to understand how to build lasting engagement with these highly influential individuals.

Interviews were conducted with bartenders in London, Berlin, New York and Los Angeles to initially understand some of the fundamental bartender challenges and motivations, to provide a context for their standpoint on brand engagement. From this knowledge base, Barfly then tested a series of brand communication ideas and new innovations to better understand how the brand could present itself in a more relevant and interesting way to this group.

As a result of this work, the client has successfully launched a series of new innovations, each of which has been developed to offer specific appeal to the bartending community and beyond.

Salience and Advocacy
Deep Dive

United States and Europe

Health and Well-being Exploratory

Global


Helping one of the leading drinks companies better understand the varying dynamics around Health and Wellbeing and its impact on bar professionals across the industry.

Barfly conducted 48 filmed in-depth interviews in London, New York, Shanghai, Bangkok, Lagos and Mexico City focusing on ‘hands-on’ bar professionals who had regular responsibilities in running and working bar shifts.

A range of subjects were interrogated from travel security, abuse and sleep deprivation to diet, exercise and beyond. Each of the various topics accommodated any local sensitivities to provide both a market and international perspective on this growing issue within the industry.

The output from this work provided rich filmed content to be used by the company to more effectively communicate with the bar professional community, and in so doing demonstrating their understanding of the current global on-premise dynamics and challenges.

Health & Well-being
Exploratory

Global

Liqueur Drinks Strategy

Global


Growing a famous, established and leading liqueur, soon after it had been acquired by a new drinks business, via a comprehensive drinks strategy for all of its key international markets.

Barfly initially engaged a number of international ‘creative bartenders’ chosen for their understanding of the market and category in question, as well as their creativity and commercial awareness. These bartenders were fully briefed on the history of the brand, the current positioning and the specifics of which signature serve types required as part of an overall drinks strategy.

Each bartender executed the brief delivering a full rationale, recipe and a ‘how to serve’ film for each drink, including the correct garnish and glassware in each case. All these drinks were then evaluated against a number of agreed criteria in a client workshop with a leading list of winning drinks chosen at the end of the process.

Finally, and most importantly, each of these drinks were then ‘road-tested’ through in-depth filmed interviews with 32 bartenders in London, Paris, Ghent, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Toronto. This involved each of the bartenders making all of the proposed drinks and critiquing every element of the serve from a commercial and practical standpoint, as well as advising how the brand could best own each of the various creations.

The drinks strategy was successfully launched and remains a fundamental part of the new owners’ successful strategy in continuing to grow both volume and share for the brand.

Liqueur Drinks
Strategy

Global

Case Studies

Brand Stretch Validation

United States


Helping an iconic global brand stretch their trademark into a totally different category in order to compete with the heavily established brand leader.

One of the leading drinks companies needed to evaluate the opportunity to ‘brand stretch’ one of its leading trademarks into a new category.

Barfly initiated a Deep Dive exploratory with a number of US bartenders to interrogate the new proposed expression, breaking down all the various elements from provenance to concept, liquid and pack. Importantly, all these elements were further evaluated in relation to the existing category brand leader.

The resulting feedback was a strong endorsement of this new innovation, albeit with a crucial recommendation to out-execute the brand leader at all key distribution points. An essential part of the deliverables back to the client was a ‘sizzle film’ – a short three-minute, upbeat sales film for internal audiences only, bringing to life the sheer scale of the opportunity and levels of trade advocacy that such an innovation could bring.

The new expression is now being actively planned by the client as one of their lead ideas within the overall innovation pipeline.

Brand Stretch Validation

United States

Craft Lager Innovation Pilot

United Kingdom


Identifying how to connect more women with craft lager by testing a new innovation from one of world’s largest global brewers in a London pilot.

One of the world’s leading brewers developed a premium new-to-world craft lager, specifically designed to accommodate female palates, without alienating males consumers. Sold in a two-third pint glass only, versus the traditional pint serve, along with a super-premium price point, the proposition was designed to grab attention – but could it attract wallets too?

We ran a three-month pilot in six premium gastropubs in South London, with four accounts tested with a branded fount, and the other two listed on the T-Bars. The pilot also included filmed interviews with natural trialists and four waves of mystery shopping to track bartender advocacy and in-bar messaging resonance.

Alongside weekly rate of sale tracking for the test brand and all other draft beers, there were a number of additional experiments to identify the optimal launch package. These included price testing, different activation creative, alternative branded glassware concepts and food pairing activity.

Our debrief with the global innovation and insight teams was underpinned with films edited from interviews with the participating General Managers. Our consultancy spanned insight into source of volume, price elasticity, key purchase triggers, drinker typology, target occasions and advocacy drivers, amongst others. We provided “go/no go” recommendations on all elements of the proposition, along with an account segmentation strategy and brand truth hierarchy.

“As well as being very encouraged with the results of the test, plus the clarity of what we have to improve, I would like to say that I am very impressed by the quality of your debrief output. I found your use of well-edited videos, plus learning and conclusions for each section, made everything very clear and focused. I have sat through many a debrief over the years and would go as far as to say it was one of the clearest I have ever seen. So well done and thanks again.”

Global Director of Innovation

Craft Lager Innovation Pilot

United Kingdom

On-Premise Excellence Guide

Global


Developing a film-based excellence guide for a global spirits business, created to educate their sales and marketing teams around the world about the On-Premise and to then inform future strategies.

One of the world’s leading spirits manufacturers had identified a need to improve its approach to activating brands in the On-Premise. Fundamentally there was a requirement to better educate their insight marketing teams around the world about the unique dynamics of the On-Premise environment, to then enable them to make better commercial decisions.

Barfly was brought on to lead that re-education, through a five-city Deep Dive and Consumer Intercept package in London, Barcelona, Moscow, Sydney and Tokyo. The hours of filmed street-level interviews were then condensed into twenty stand-alone chapters, each providing filmed learning with accompanying conclusions, recommendations and creative thought-starters around each subject.

Topics covered how to secure bartender recommendations, winning in drinks menus, developing optimal advocacy programmes, creating commercial point of sale strategies and how to craft dynamic drinks strategies, amongst many others.

The excellence guide is now a mainstay of the business’ global approach to the On-Premise, leveraged around the world in all of its key markets.

On-Premise Excellence Guide

Global

Beer Cocktail Drinks Strategy

United Kingdom


Creating a dynamic drinks strategy for a global brewer to successfully take some of their leading brands into the beer cocktail space.

One of the world’s largest brewers had identified an opportunity to enhance the drinking experience for their consumers, and by doing so drive a greater rate of sale in the premium pub segment in the UK.

The ambition was simple - to create a range of beer cocktails for their top tier brands that would capture the imagination of consumers. All the serves had to be exciting to order, serve and consume, but also needed to be operationally viable, as well as simple and quick to make.

We undertook our established Drinks Strategy approach, engaging with creative bartenders across the UK to develop a range of dynamic serves. A structured workshop with the client then whittled down the long list of serves to a select few that we finally road-tested with General Managers of target accounts across London, using our Deep Dive service.

Albeit the client’s initial intention was to launch with a handful of serves, the calibre of the drinks created resulted in twice that number being launched in key accounts across London, supported by a heavyweight activation and training programme.

Beer Cocktail Drinks Strategy

United Kingdom

African Brand Stretch Pilot

Cameroon


Helping a powerhouse trademark break out of its traditional category through brand stretch innovation and, in doing so, fuel growth across Africa.

A leading spirits manufacturer needed to understand whether one of its leading trademarks had the potential to stretch into new categories to strengthen its position in Africa, and to what degree.

One new product stood out from the innovation pipeline and Barfly was brought in to run a two-month pilot in Douala, Cameroon, in eight accounts across both On and Off-Premise channels. Consumer Intercepts and an end-of-trial Deep Dive with the participating bar and store managers added qualitative richness and clarification to the weekly ROS data. Interrogation into pricing strategy, pack optimisation, liquid quality, activation concepts and a range of other mission critical topics ensured no stone was left unturned.

Exceptional rate-of-sale during the pilot has led to the client now planning the launch of the innovation across Africa, with Barfly working on additional new innovations targeting further growth across the continent.

African Brand Stretch Pilot

Cameroon

On-Premise Trend Tracker

Europe


Delivering a film-based, European trend tracker for one of world’s leading drinks businesses to identify key On-Premise dynamics that would impact their future business.

The overarching objective of this project was to identify future trends in the On-Premise in order for the business to be the first to fully commercialise and capitalise on the opportunities they represent. In addition, we were required to identify where in their lifecycle the trends were, to assess current versus future dynamics.

The Deep Dive project saw us interview bartenders on film in multiple markets across Europe, feeding back a biannual debrief that brought to life relevant findings, conclusions and core recommendations. The work also included a presentation of each city’s drinks scene, including hot accounts, the hip areas, current versus future trends, key influences and all relevant implications to the business’ portfolio.

Each wave saw a new twist on the core discussion guide. For example, one wave involved us getting trade reactions to brands in the portfolio, bearing in mind the trends that had been identified. This helped clarify how well positioned (or not) each brand was in light of the incoming trends, ensuring they could futureproof the portfolio accordingly.

On-Premise Trend Tracker

Europe

Rum Innovation Validation

United States


Informing the development of a new super-premium expression for a global rum, combining qualitative and quantitative street intelligence to advise on pack and liquid options.

The brief for this super-premium expression of an established rum brand was twofold. Firstly, we were asked to inform a recrafting of the brand vision for the US market, as part of a future relaunch for the brand, as well as garner reactions to a new pack design. As part of this activity, we were also charged with unlocking some of the key trends impacting the category to ensure the new proposition was on-trend and well positioned for success.

The second phase of work was a quantitative taste test with 200 bartenders to identify a new liquid from a choice of three for the high-end variant.

The initial Deep Dive phase saw filmed interviews with bartenders from rum-forward accounts in both New York and Miami. Our resulting consultative debrief not only identified the key dynamics driving the super-premium rum category, but in addition put forward a revised brand truth hierarchy, a genuinely ownable product superiority claim, a proposed ritual to maximise rate of sale, and creative thought-starters on a POS strategy. The taste test, also run in New York and Miami to ensure all feedback was aligned, saw one stand-out liquid identified from the trio.

The new super-premium proposition has since launched and performs well in the region, having carved itself a unique positioning from the bartender insight and consultancy we delivered.

Rum Innovation Validation

United States

Brand & Category Deep Dive

Europe & United States


Helping an international drinks company to Deep Dive the history and current status of the vodka category, to inform a revitalised marketing strategy for one of its key brands.

An international drinks company required an in-depth study of the vodka category to understand its current health, challenges and opportunities (versus the current perceived wisdom).

This study was executed through 48 in-depth bartender interviews in London, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, St Louis, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Topics discussed with the trade panels spanned not only the category itself and views on the client’s vodka proposition, but also a detailed analysis on the other leading vodka trademarks and the resulting opportunity for the brand in question.

The study revealed new learning about the category which was used specifically to inform the relaunch of the company’s major brand in this sector. This learning was also used to underpin a liquid reformulation, a sharpening of the brand’s positioning, and to plot a new direction for the brand’s innovation agenda, on which Barfly continues to play an ongoing role.

Brand & Category Deep Dive

Europe & United States

Innovation Naming Strategy

Latin America


Helping one of the leading spirits companies name and test a new flavoured variant of one of their core brands in Latin America.

This company asked Barfly for help in naming one of their core regional brands which was due to launch a flavoured variant. The brief was to clearly communicate the flavour of the product without undermining the fundamental quality credentials and positioning of the core brand.

Barfly developed a series of potential names for the new variant, all of which delivered against a very tight brief, from which the client then picked the optimal names after a round of internal stakeholder feedback.

Barfly then took the leading ideas and discussed the various strengths and considerations of each name with a number of leading bartenders in Mexico City and Sao Paulo before making final recommendations to the client. The new brand is due to be launched in June 2019.

Innovation Naming
Strategy

Latin America

Adult Soft Drink Exploratory

United Kingdom


Helping a leading soft drinks company to understand the overall non-alcoholic drinks market and the future trends that will impact both their current range and future innovation strategy.

This global soft drink manufacturer asked Barfly for help in understanding the latest trends in the adult soft drink market in the UK and the implications from the findings on their future brand, innovation and commercial strategy.

Barfly undertook a Deep Dive in London talking to a broad range of bar professionals to understand their take on the growing non-alcoholic drinks sector, along with the status of the mixer market. One critical piece of the analysis was understanding the necessary success factors for a new entrant to the category, based on the hierarchy of needs from both a bartender and decision maker’s perspective.

One of the key insights was the lack of knowledge and bar innovation around this sector, despite the growing interest in low and no alcohol offerings. The work revealed the need to further educate the bartender of the growing opportunity that this sector offers. Additionally, it provided valuable learning around recent new competitor launches which in turn informed the company in launching their own craft mixer range.

Adult Soft Drink
Exploratory

United Kingdom

Identifying Brand Stretch Permission

United States


Leading a brand stretch exploratory for a category leader to evaluate permission to play and win in other categories based on brand equity values.

One of the world’s leading drinks companies asked Barfly to evaluate the degree of permission for one of their key brands to stretch into other drinks categories, based on the brand’s DNA and consumer positioning.

This project involved deconstructing the brand’s DNA to understand the unique elements of the offering and then evaluate consumer and trade reactions to category stretch concepts and liquids.

Barfly employed its Drinks Buddies approach, combining in-depth filmed interviews with consumer groups of friends along with one-to-one bartender discussions, all captured in HD film. Additionally, Barfly conducted in-bar Consumer Intercepts to gain spontaneous reactions to these ideas within the appropriate account segments and drinking occasions.

The core outcome of the project was a short, medium and long term innovation pipeline for the brand, along with a series of brand guardrails to inform all future wok in the area.

Identifying Brand Stretch Permission

United States

Brand Equity and Innovation Analysis

United States


Validation of two brand variants for a category leading brand to evaluate positioning, activation ideas and their roles within the overall trademark.

One of the biggest questions for leading brands is understanding at what point to optimise variants and equally when proliferation leads to consumer confusion and brand equity erosion.

With this in mind, Barfly was asked to validate two very different variants for a highly successful category leader in the US. In both cases, the validation utilised in-depth consumer and bartender Deep Dives resulting in a strong endorsement of both ideas. Importantly, the recommendations addressed the role of each variant within the overall trademark, to include positioning, source of business and a drinks strategy.

Since launching, both variants are enjoying significant success true to their objectives and helping to secure the leadership position of the brand in question. In addition, by identifying clear ownable ‘space’ for each expression, the trademark has enhanced confidence to activate each appropriately, but also progress other new variants (currently in development).

Brand Equity and Innovation Analysis

United States

Salience and Advocacy Deep Dive

United States & Europe


Helping one of the world’s most iconic spirit brands increase global on-premise salience and build sustainable bartender advocacy.

Barfly was approached to conduct several in-depth Deep Dives with bartenders to understand how to build lasting engagement with these highly influential individuals.

Interviews were conducted with bartenders in London, Berlin, New York and Los Angeles to initially understand some of the fundamental bartender challenges and motivations, to provide a context for their standpoint on brand engagement. From this knowledge base, Barfly then tested a series of brand communication ideas and new innovations to better understand how the brand could present itself in a more relevant and interesting way to this group.

As a result of this work, the client has successfully launched a series of new innovations, each of which has been developed to offer specific appeal to the bartending community and beyond.

Salience and Advocacy Deep Dive

United States and Europe

Health & Wellbeing Exploratory

Global


Helping one of the leading drinks companies better understand the varying dynamics around Health and Wellbeing and its impact on bar professionals across the industry.

Barfly conducted 48 filmed in-depth interviews in London, New York, Shanghai, Bangkok, Lagos and Mexico City focusing on ‘hands-on’ bar professionals who had regular responsibilities in running and working bar shifts.

A range of subjects were interrogated from travel security, abuse and sleep deprivation to diet, exercise and beyond. Each of the various topics accommodated any local sensitivities to provide both a market and international perspective on this growing issue within the industry.

The output from this work provided rich filmed content to be used by the company to more effectively communicate with the bar professional community, and in so doing demonstrating their understanding of the current global on-premise dynamics and challenges.

Health & Well-being Exploratory

Global

Liqueur Drinks Strategy

Global


Growing a famous, established and leading liqueur, soon after it had been acquired by a new drinks business, via a comprehensive drinks strategy for all of its key international markets.

Barfly initially engaged a number of international ‘creative bartenders’ chosen for their understanding of the market and category in question, as well as their creativity and commercial awareness. These bartenders were fully briefed on the history of the brand, the current positioning and the specifics of which signature serve types required as part of an overall drinks strategy.

Each bartender executed the brief delivering a full rationale, recipe and a ‘how to serve’ film for each drink, including the correct garnish and glassware in each case. All these drinks were then evaluated against a number of agreed criteria in a client workshop with a leading list of winning drinks chosen at the end of the process.

Finally, and most importantly, each of these drinks were then ‘road-tested’ through in-depth filmed interviews with 32 bartenders in London, Paris, Ghent, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Toronto. This involved each of the bartenders making all of the proposed drinks and critiquing every element of the serve from a commercial and practical standpoint, as well as advising how the brand could best own each of the various creations.

The drinks strategy was successfully launched and remains a fundamental part of the new owners’ successful strategy in continuing to grow both volume and share for the brand.

Liqueur Drinks Strategy

Global

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Nick Dudley-Williams, Managing Partner

Email: nick@barfly.pm | Call: +44 (0)7811 350591