Bacardi handed its creative business to BBDO in 2015. The resulting long-term partnership is in part due to the low attrition of the agency's team, according to the brand's global creative excellence director.
Laila Mignoni, who joined the drinks brand in 2014, said while awards and a global footprint are important in agency partners, retaining creative talent helps develop a familial relationship that ultimately leads to better work.
“We need new ideas and we new ideas every year, they just have to be consistent within the brand and platform,” Mignoni said at The Drum’s Agency Acceleration Day in New York. “The agency knows it by heart. [Not having a rotation] gives them the freedom to provide new ideas that are on-brand, on-position and on-strategy.
“The team is the key thing. It's more about them than it is the name on the door,” said Mignoni, adding that party-like Bacardi lifestyle should hopefully keep agency members “as excited as possible” to work with the brand.
Before joining Bacardi, the marketer spent nearly 10 years at agencies, which has given her a different perspective on the client-agency dynamic.
“I'm not a client; I'm a brand partner,” Mignoni said. “We're as accountable to the agency as they are to us.”
The international spirits brand consolidated its accounts under Omnicom four years ago, handing creative to BBDO and media to OMD. Mignoni said the procurement team leads six-month reviews of PR, tech and experiential agencies for smaller, local activations.
Mignoni said the first thing Bacardi looks at when finding new agency partners is diversity.
“Very often we get into rooms and it's like you don't understand who we're selling to. [Diversity] is really a reflection of our consumers, and also it's a reflection of our team,” said Mignoni.
“We'll always push back…. It comes from us. The more it's demanded by brands, the more agencies have to follow through as well.”
Mignoni said Bacardi wants to stay loyal to BBDO, so it rarely engages with other creative agencies. The door is open, though, for smaller cultural partners and tech agencies, especially as Bacardi figures out its voice strategy.
“It's a very difficult area to have a creative voice that's not just Alexa's voice. We really haven't cracked it or know where it's going to go,” said Mignoni. “We go to CES every year and go, ‘Where do we start?’”