We caught up with Henrietta Reed, the Brand Manager behind PIMM’S Sundowner.

PIMM’S Sundowner has recently been launched in GB. We spoke to Henrietta Reed, PIMM’S Senior Brand Manager, about the launch of this innovation as well as her Diageo journey.

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Henrietta joined Diageo on the Marketing Graduate Programme 6 years ago and is now the Brand Manger to our iconic PIMM’s brand. Whilst starting out on the Marketing Graduate Programme, she has experiences roles across Commercial, HR and Marketing during her time at Diageo.

What has your Diageo experience been like since joining to your current role now?

What I have enjoyed about Diageo from the very beginning is the level of responsibility and autonomy you get. In each of my roles, I have been given the freedom to deliver my objectives whilst knowing that support is there if I need it - for me this is really motivating. Naturally, there’s also the exciting fact that you get to work on brilliant brands and projects that you see come to life physically when you’re out in supermarkets, bars or even watching TV on your sofa!

Tell us more about your current role as Senior Brand Manager?

My current role provides me with a variety of experience. From being responsible for the brand marketing of one of our iconic British brands, PIMM’S, through to managing the launches of our pioneering new innovations such as Gordon’s and Tanqueray 0.0% Alcohol Free. This means that for me, a typical day in the “office” could be spent doing anything from shooting a new marketing campaign to discussing the pricing and promotion strategy for an innovation. The breadth of a brand marketing role at Diageo means you are constantly upskilling yourself as you take on projects that cover all aspects of consumer marketing.

PIMM’S Sundowner has recently launched. Explain how this came about and what it’s been like behind the scenes to get this to launch and into consumers hands?

My role on PIMM’S is to continue in the footsteps of our innovative founder, James Pimm, and ensure that we offer consumers compelling reasons to drink PIMM’S during their catch ups with friends. In building the PIMM’S marketing strategy, we identified an opportunity in the growing ‘early evening’ occasion, where consumers are looking for delicious tasting and visually disruptive spritz serves and we knew that PIMM’S could offer this with PIMM’S Sundowner. Working on PIMM’S Sundowner has been a truly cross functional effort with many people across the business working collaboratively to get the product into consumers and customers hands for this summer. My role in particular has been to ensure that people in GB see and hear about PIMM’S Sundowner, and that when they do, they know what it is, how to drink it and where they can purchase it. If you’re reading this now and you don’t yet know this, then I haven’t done my job right!

What are the most exciting and challenging aspects of launching innovation?

Working on an innovation launch gives you the end-to-end experience across consumer marketing which is invaluable as a marketer. However, what I find the most exciting is the early stages where you are working with your Innovation and Supply leads to craft the concept - brainstorming different flavours, ingredients, liquid colours and names until you land on the perfect product. Like all projects, there are many hurdles that crop up when launching innovations, particularly when stepping into relatively unknown categories such as alcohol-free spirits. Launching Gordon’s 0.0% and Tanqueray 0.0% taught me to think creatively beyond my existing experience and encouraged me to really probe the consumer insights in order to unlock brilliant creative work that successfully positioned the product with consumers.

What role do innovations play in your own career as well as affect business performance?

For me personally, working on innovation has been a great way to quickly develop my marketing skills. In launching a new product, you get exposure to pretty much every process there is behind brand building, from consumer research through to activation in store, so it acts as a bit of a pressure cooker on your development. It is also a great way to get exposure and build your network across the business, as launching a new product is only successful if you work effectively with your peers across different functions who you might not work with in your day-to-day brand marketing role.

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