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Diageo plc is the world’s leading premium drinks business, with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits, wine and beer. With approaching 200 brands in its portfolio, and production, management and distribution that stretches across 180 countries, it’s imperative for the company to keep a tight rein on its brand assets.

Diageo recognised this challenge back in 2002 launching a specific Brand Asset Management programme.

“We knew from the outset that this would be much more than Digital Asset Management,” explained Programme Manager, Nic Lund. “We needed to take a far more holistic approach to change the way we worked both within Diageo and with our third party suppliers who all contribute to the creation, evolution and maintenance of our assets.

“We managed the programme from within Global Procurement, but from the start it drew together a cross functional team including Marketing, Legal and Information Services as well as ourselves.”

One of the key elements of the programme was the requirement for an asset library – an enabling tool to focus the changes around. So the team set about creating the Diageo SmartLibrary.

From the beginning, the objectives for SmartLibrary were clear. Diageo needed an online library of great brand materials that marketers and agencies around the world could access when they needed them. The great value for Diageo was that it would ensure timeliness and brand consistency – and significantly reduce the cost of asset distribution.

“In a business as large and complex as ours, IP is a central issue, and we recognised that one of the great strengths that SmartLibrary would bring us would be far greater ability for us to track and control our intellectual property and usage rights for the assets created for Diageo by our third party partners.”

The Challenges:

The team faced four core challenges in bringing the Brand Asset Management programme to fruition. These were:

1. Finding the right technology solution and provider to work in partnership with Diageo
2. Internal change management to align geographically dispersed brand teams and functions
3. Agencies providing brand assets for upload; and
4. Ensuring the content in the Library had clear usage rights.

“It took quite a while, significant financial investment, a massive internal team effort and a change in culture in the way that both we and our third party partners worked, but we now believe we’ve overcome all of the challenges and have an enviable and innovative solution in place,” Nic stated.

“The initial version of Diageo SmartLibrary enabled us to establish the fundamentals of Brand Asset Management. However, we achieved a real step-change in usage and content when, in partnership with VYRE, we developed and implemented the enabler that brought the programme to life: the Diageo SmartBrand portal.

Anatomy of the SmartBrand Portal:

The portal includes a number of core modules. These are:
• SmartLibrary – this is a central store of brand identity, advertising and all other marketing communications used within Diageo. The library has an advanced permissions matrix and usage rights management capability that enables effective control of materials to users across the world.
• SmartApprove – an online marketing approval tool, enabling compliance with the Diageo Marketing Code and creative standards
• SmartVisibility – a tool to enable the design and production process for Point of Sale and value-added packaging solutions, with a focus on adapting centrally created standard items.
• SmartSpace – a brand information and knowledge sharing area, aimed at improving the sharing of best practice executions across Diageo
• SmartTransfer – an easy- to-use uploading tool for agencies, with online confirmation of usage rights.

“VYRE have been invaluable to us in creating the portal. They understood our needs and worked with us to come up with a technological solution that fits our culture and made it far easier for our third party partners to comply with our needs.”

Return on Investment:

The Diageo Brand Asset Management programme is one of the largest and most complex asset management programmes undertaken, bearing in mind the high number of brands it includes, the continual variation on brand assets and the wide span of territories in which the company operates. Unsurprisingly, this was neither a cheap nor quick process to get right, as Nic explained:

“There were three areas of initial investment: our Internal resource – the cross functional project team created to manage the first phase of the project; our external legal resource, engaged to ensure that terms and conditions, contracts and ways of working were in line with best practice; and the technology selected to create SmartLibrary.

“Due to the relatively high start up costs in legal and internal resource during the initial ‘discovery phase’, this investment has taken almost four years to pay back. However, we feel the relatively long pay-back time has been worth it since we’ve achieved an extremely robust approach to intellectual property and usage rights management, from which Diageo will benefit for a long time to come.

“Now, there are three areas of ongoing investment: first, there’s our internal resource. We have a central team in global marketing procurement, with a wider virtual team across brands, functions and geographies. We have also appointed a number of third party asset management companies, aligned by brand and geographies, to support the management of our assets, metadata taxonomy, file formats and so forth.

“Finally, we’ve continued to invest in technology. In fact, in September 2007, SmartBrand got a significant upgrade providing a new look and feel that makes the most of the new technology available from VYRE.

“The SmartBrand tool is dynamic, and we will continue to incorporate new functionalities where they’re appropriate and aligned to Diageo’s requirements.

“Our final on-going cost is the annual hosting and support charges for the services provided by VYRE.”

The Benefits:

Diageo would not have undertaken such an investment if the organisation couldn’t see tangible benefits ensuing. The cost benefits are clear, and are bolstered by wide ranging additional benefits.
“In terms of costs,” Nic continued, “these are derived from elements we can actually demonstrate we have taken out of the business. Primarily these are from two areas:

• The cost of potential duplication of creative materials in markets; and
• The cost of CD distribution for materials.

“By tracking the volume, type and onward usage of downloads from the tool, we can accurately estimate the actual costs avoided in the business. We’ve benchmarked with agencies and local markets to verify our assumptions made in estimating the benefits, so that we can quantify the cost saving.

“But we’ve also identified a number of additional benefits, although we’re not currently estimating the financial benefit of these.”

The additional benefits include:

Intellectual Property and usage rights management
• Making users aware of where and how an asset can be used
• Making best use of system functionality to prevent downloading when not appropriate to the user’s profile

Brand Consistency and quality
• Ensuring executions have consistent brand identity across markets
• Ensuring the use of high quality brand assets in executions

Process Efficiency
• Improving speed to market
• Approval workflow requirements

Process compliance
• Ensuring compliance with the marketing approval process
• Archiving requirement for tracking of approvals
• Purchase and negotiation of usage rights

Search and Spin (internal/agency sharing of best practice)
• All of the tools drive the search and spin agenda – from creative ideas, execution methods, best practice and of course brand assets.

“During 2007, and continuing in 2008, we’ve seen significant growth in asset volume, market coverage, site activity and downloads with the estimated cost benefits running annually at a 1:5 payback on the ongoing investment,” Nic added.

“We’re forecasting that the growth will continue and we hope to drive that payback ratio towards 1:10 over the next 12 months.

“With the tools and technology now available, the potential exists to derive even more benefits by enabling and improving the creative and production workflows within Diageo and our third party partners.

(side matter)

SmartBrand Success:

“Our innovative approach to Brand Asset Management plays an increasingly pivotal role in supporting Diageo’s marketing activities. The SmartBrand portal has delivered a significant increase in re-use and adaptation of our core brand assets, thus making our A&P spend go further in our markets and giving greater global brand consistency.

The portal is now helping to ensure that our marketing materials are appropriate for our local markets by enabling their approval against internal and external codes of practice. The flexibility and capability of the VYRE Unify platform has enabled us to meet the demanding business requirements across multiple geographies, brands and internal functions”

Mike Mirrlees – Global Category Director

“Without question, SmartBrand is the best rights management tool I have ever come across. The SmartLibrary module clearly spells out the IP rights we have and those we don’t which means substantially less risk of accidentally mis-using an asset and being sued. The clarity of IP rights, combined with the powerful permissions controls delivers an enviable solution. And coupled with that, the SmartApprove module provides a great and easy to use workflow to ensure that all of our executions are reviewed and approved against our marketing code, a code we take very seriously as a business.”

Stuart Casey - Senior Counsel IP


Media contact:
Sally Bratton, Bratton PR
+44 (0)1296 394000
sally.bratton@brattonpr.com


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