Me and My Brand: Laura Pearce on Cîroc Vodka

With top quality spirits increasingly dominating consumer choice, it is time to trade up for better profits – and there is nowhere better to begin than with the classic formulation of a premium vodka, says Laura Pearce, Category Marketing Director Vodka, Rum & Tequila at Diageo, GB

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Laura Pearce

Can you please give an overview of your brand? 

Cîroc is a premium vodka filled with flavour and style, that brings celebration toevery occasion. Cîroc is distilled five times from fine French grapes by Master Distiller Jean-Sébastien Robicquet at the historic Distillerie de Chevanceaux in the South of France. Cîroc vodka was launched in 2003 and the portfolio now boasts a range of innovative variants.

How is your brand currently performing? 

Cîroc is a brand typically associated with celebratory occasions due to its commitment to a fun-loving and playful lifestyle. The big night in occasion is of great importance, especially in recent months and the significance of premium choices to enjoy at home is key. Cîroc fits to this occasion and is a key brand for both retailers and customers.

The core demographic for Cîroc are experimental, fun-loving, curious, fashion forward and hold luxury in high regard. Cîroc’s share of total vodka sales typically spikes during Christmas across the impulse channel [Nielsen], and there’s a real opportunity for retailers to showcase premium and super premium ranges on shelfthis festive season. Flavours are also a key driver of brand appeal and differentiation, particularly among Cîroc buyers in the convenience sector.

How is the premium spirits market currently performing? 

Super-premium spirits value share has recently grown across the total off-trade, up by 17.2 per cent in volume and 14.6 per cent in value, MAT Actual Volume % Chg YA The super-premium vodka category is up by 10.2 per cent in volume and 11 per cent in value [CGA Nielsen Reserve Report]. Premiumisation really is the trend that is definitely here to stay.

How are you supporting your brand & NPD? 

We are constantly developing NPD and innovative liquids in line with consumer trends. As well as tapping into key moments for some of our limited edition launches, for example, in the lead up to Christmas we appeal to the gifting and celebratory moment, and we also offer new expressions for wider seasonal moments. Another recent launch was limited-edition Cîroc Watermelon, a variant introduced just before summer – many of our launches coincide with key calendar moments and seasonal occasions.The beautiful packaging also is sure to be a staple at any celebratory occasion, or makes for the perfect gift.

How important are independent retailers to your brand? 

Independent retailers are key for Cîroc – a third (34 per cent) of convenience shoppers exclusively shopped for Cîroc via the convenience channel in the last six months and 20 per cent of shoppers who bought Cîroc only considered buying Cîroc in convenience [Incite Research]. Cîroc convenience buyers usually visit an outlet with a clear idea that they’re going to buy Cîroc – most typically, as it is a brand associated with celebratory and “big night in” occasions, consumers will seek Cîroc in their local independent stores that are local to them or in nearby independent stores, making it easier to cater to that occasion.

What trends are occurring in the sector? 

The vodka category is strongly driven by innovation.Pushing vodka into the spotlight are also factors including flavour innovation and brands responding to changing consumer tastes and lifestyle habits. Cocktails are also very popular with consumers and vodka is hugely versatile in the sense that it can be enjoyed in many ways – whether it be part of an intricate serve, or simply enjoyed with soda water and a fresh garnish. It makes it an easy “go-to”, especially for the at-home occasion where people can experiment and create their own cocktails. We’ve also seen significant growth within the flavour category in vodka, with flavoured vodka +26 per cent YOY and non-flavoured vodka + 10 per cent YoY [MAT Nielsen to 03.10.20 Value Sales – Total off trade].

Describe your brand in three words…

Celebratory, innovative, playful!