Bacardi – Rise of Web 2.0 and social media

Bacardi is responsible for brands such as the eponymous Bacardi, Eristoff and Dewar’s scotch drinks. Currently, the company has separate websites for each of these brands – they have decentralised their online media presence. However, the company has recently revised its online strategy; this would be considered part of the control and review stage of strategic marketing planning. They plan to move their marketing spend away from managing individual websites and to instead allocate 90% of their online marketing budget towards Facebook.

This move towards a centralised, or more concentrated marketing effort, shows that the company has responded to recent technological change. Possibly through a PEST analysis, Bacardi have come to identify the emergence of Web 2.0 that has major implications for online marketing. This has allowed internet users to create and share content, and is what social media sites, like Facebook, exploit.

Namely, internet users spend more and more of their time interacting with each other. Hence, their own websites are gaining fewer visitors; while, at an increasing and more significant pace, social media platforms are receiving more hits. Thus, it becomes more cost-effective to allocate their marketing resources to purely social media. I like to think of this as a kind of ‘digital rationalisation’.

One can induce that Bacardi used this information and compared it to their marketing audits, which outline a firm’s marketing activities. This can then form the basis for a SWOT analysis. With any strategy, strengths and weaknesses must be matched to opportunities and threats. Evidently, Bacardi’s weakness was an inefficient website system and changing technological trends – the rise of Web 2.0 – was a threat. However, the strategic marketing process has allowed them to respond to the external environment; and thus, turn their weakness into a strength.

Utilising social media is more beneficial than simply reducing the overheads of running a firm’s websites. Unlike Bacardi’s own websites, which a primarily based off Web 1.0 principles, social media, which utilises Web 2.0 developments, allows consumer to business and consumer to consumer online marketing. The former allows customers to seek out Bacardi; as consumers spend more time on social networking sites, they are more likely to find them through Facebook, for instance. While the latter allows consumers to share and distribute online material with other customers – something which would not be possible without Web 1.0.

Although I agree that firms such as Bacardi should respond to external threats by viewing them as opportunities, in reality it may be the case that Bacardi are merely responding to their competitors – as opposed to being pragmatic and thinking for themselves. See one of my earlier posts about Heineken here. Like Heineken, Bacardi have also made the mistake of trying to adopt a social media marketing approach but have simply only focused on Facebook. This is a sign that the company is lacking innovation and intuition – two critical success factors that are imperative in online marketing.

A better approach would be to use a wide range of social media platforms, while ensuring they are interlinked and consistent with one another.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi, great topic.

    At the very end you mentioned crucial thing: Social Media Optimisation. This is one of the most important things when implementing social media strategy, and especially when allocating marketing budget to online marketing tools. Without it – all strategies just will not be as effective as they could be. Nonetheless, it take a smart marketer and techsavvy person to do that. SMO blends with SEO(search engine optimisation), the ultimate goal for every brand existing in the internet – to be easily found and suggested.
    However, to abandon website is not that good idea. Better – integrate it with social media and make it useful, still keeping visitors flow. Facebook will die eventually someday, or something better will arise eventually someday too, so to build up good website (private space and not dependant on third-party space) is secure and wise in long term views.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment! I really like what you said about the website being a long-term investment. Really insightful stuff.

      Thanks

      Reply

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