Bacardi’s Nim De Swardt: Generation Stereotypes Are ‘Nonexistent’ When You Have The Power Of Location

Forget 'marketing to Millennials' and build relationships — on both the national and local level — instead.

Bacardi’s Nim De Swardt is tasked with understanding the mobile consumption patterns of Millennials, but the Global Millennials Manager is quick to remind that marketing to individuals is actually the key — and location data is is instrumental in getting there.

“The main point is really that I think location is defining who we are,” De Swardt said, following a presentation at xAd’s On Location event. “And so, no matter what generation we are — whether we’re Millennials, whether we’re Gen X, whether we’re Baby Boomers — generation stereotypes are nonexistent when you have the power of location and mapping behaviors.”

GeoMarketing: As you said, there’s a lot of hype around “marketing to Millennials,” but as important as the demographic is, it’s key to not lose sight of the fact that Millennials are still individuals. As a brand with such a long history, how do you approach reaching the newest generation and generating loyalty to Bacardi?

Nim De Swardt: Interestingly, I think there are quite a few beautiful parallels to what we’re doing internally as a company and how this generation acts externally. It’s really about collaborative initiatives and harnessing the power of a community. We’re natural collaborators. We want to contribute. There’s a great book that Seth Godin wrote called Tribes, and he basically says, “say no to the status quo” and build something new.

All that is to say that I think brands need to not be afraid to adapt and pivot and change, because this consumer is rapidly changing. Also, a great thing is that, with tools like location intelligence and what location data has the potential to do, we have the ability to target the Millennial demographic — and everyone, really — on a very individual level. Location is [critical] to building that one-to-one relationship. Like you said, we have to remember that they’re not just one stereotype; they’re the largest and most diverse generation to date.

In your session, you talked about making an impact both globally and locally. How do you think about national-to-local marketing at Bacardi? How do you take a brand that is so recognized globally or nationally and really drive sales at local stores? 

I’d like to talk about the project that I’m working on, because I think it’s a great example of going from global to local and back.

What we are planning to do is to mark 5,000 locations in 50 U.S. cities, and these 50 cities have been selected based on their high rate of drink driving incidents. The goal is to work at the local level to prove that location data and intelligence can actually assist in preventing the amount of drink driving incidents.

The great thing about the potential of location intelligence — [beyond] simply ad targeting — is the ability to truly capture the moment. In this case, when we think about drinking and driving, it really comes down to that moment of decision. We are essentially trying to influence behavioral change.

How do you do that at the moment of the decision? How do you actually work to impact that social change?

Historically, Bacardi has always been involved in multiple corporate social responsibility efforts. We already have “champions drink responsibly,” but in terms of leveraging the potential of data, this has never been done before. That’s why we’re experimenting with working in communities, targeted messages, et cetera.

That’s one unique use case, but the main point is really that I think location is defining who we are. And so, no matter what generation we are — whether we’re Millennials, whether we’re Gen X, whether we’re Baby Boomers — generation stereotypes are nonexistent when you have the power of location and mapping behaviors.

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Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.