- Diageo opened a 17,000 square-foot facility called the Diageo Collaboration Center, per a company announcement. Located on the company's site in Stamford, Connecticut, the center will invite customers, distributors and agency partners to use the spirits marketer's trove of data and analytics resources to explore marketing opportunities and challenges facing the industry.
- The new facility aims to promote collaboration between Diageo's partners. Features include two zones visitors can walk through: "See It," which illustrates the trends and insights emerging out of topical forces changing society; and "Live It," which simulates those findings through examples taken from possible purchasing occasions, including the home, bar and store.
- The Diageo Collaboration Center is the company's latest investment in its partnership portfolio, and reflects an alcohol industry that, despite experiencing significant growth over the past year, faces a raft of data-centered challenges through the next. Diageo operates two other technology-driven facilities: its Innovation Lab also in Stamford, Connecticut, and Experience Center in London.
Diageo's new Collaboration Center sees the marketer both capitalizing on recent industry growth as well as preparing for an uncertain future. As more people stayed at home during the pandemic, alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants skyrocketed, experiencing 24% growth over the last year, according to Nielsen data cited by NPR. Overall, the alcohol industry saw increased sales as consumers drank more. And while the rise in retail-bought alcohol seems to be waning, sales inside bars and restaurants are expected to surge as more Americans become vaccinated and COVID-related restrictions ease up.
At the same time, Diageo is also keeping an eye on a looming threat to the marketing of its brands: the deprecation of third-party cookies and other data-related changes taking place. With Apple having already implemented its Identifier for Advertisers update and Google planning to phase out cookies within the year, time is running out for marketers to develop alternatives to target consumers. One possibility gaining increasing interest is second-party-data, which requires collaboration between businesses — such as that promoted by the Diageo Collaboration Center — to succeed.
Effectively a think tank for Diageo's partners, the center will offer access to the alcohol marketer's trove of data and analytics tools to aid in developing solutions. It will also encourage collaboration through a highly technical visitor experience, hoping to spark creativity with its "See It" and "Live It" zones, resident mixologists and virtual reality (VR) technology. In this respect, Diageo is hoping to build a sufficient complement to its research-and-development-minded Innovation Lab next-door.
Diageo's new facility is also in line with targets set by its Society 2030 initiative, according to the press release. Society 2030 calls for a significant increase in ethnic and gender representation in Diageo's employment staff, as well as the implementation of sustainable and eco-friendly business practices, among other goals. The company's commitment to this plan reflects a growing sentiment amongst Gen Z and millennial consumers who prefer to buy from and are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, according to a 2020 study by First Insight.