Should drink companies think in categories or in occasions?

Should drink companies think in categories or in occasions?
Photo by Olena Sergienko / Unsplash

Drinks companies think in categories (i.e. Rum, Gin, etc.).

Consumers think in occasions (i.e. lunch, aperitif, after dinner).Are team structures ready for the blurring of categories?

Not yet.


We are probably never going to see a "Director of after dinner" but there is a clear challenge to accommodate the "shelf war", even within the same company.
The harsh reality is that categories, driven by innovations and brand extensions stretch into each other's territory.
They end up fighting for:

  • shelf space (e.g. proliferation of craft brands)
  • consumer relevance (e.g. G&T during dinner?)

The result? They end up cannibalising each other.
If you don't create demand, you end up fishing in the same pond, thinking it is a new one, but on the other shore, there is your colleague fishing, too.
It all goes back to one simple aspect: KPIs
A holistic approach is required.
It's not enough to look at one Category / Brand team.

Are KPIs aligned across teams ?
Are they linked back to drive the total business objectives?

If you don't think it through, you might end up in the "short blanket" situation: if you cover your shoulders, you will uncover your feet.
Is your blanket the right size?

Unclear in-house, unclear in-market