Teamwork makes the dream work: Q&A with Pernod Ricard USA

Editor’s Note: Pernod Ricard USA is a finalist of the 2023 Best Client-Side Team award, a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. The winners of the awards will be announced on November 14 during a virtual celebration. To find out more about the awards, visit

The Pernod Ricard Insights team members are change agents, driving a shift to a consumer-centric model and elevating their role in decision-making. In their nomination for the 2023 Best Client-Side Team award, they demonstrated three key strengths: value, effectiveness and diversity. 

  • Value: The team helped pivot a supply-driven organization to demand-driven. They activated a new demand segmentation with strong strategic influence. They expanded brand insights coverage, and built new innovation and shopper teams. They created a new set of deliverables called “Discovery” to start the annual brand planning process.
  • Effectiveness: Pernod Ricard’s value is growing. The team’s demand segmentation activation shifted to a broader consumption pool, spreading brands across the demand map. That demand segmentation, doubled purchase intent and increased ROI +40%. Their insights helped launch Jameson Orange Whiskey, the No. 1 spirit innovation in 2022. They helped influence a retailer to dedicate more space to their canned cocktails.
  • Diversity: The Pernod Ricard Insights team piloted a new method to assess cultural relevance with multicultural consumers, which now drives creative decisions.

Anna Estlund, senior director of strategic insights at Pernod Richard USA answered some questions on behalf of the Pernod Ricard Insights Team. 

How do you balance teamwork with your individual tasks? 

Teamwork is critical to get broader perspectives that make our ideas better, and to work together to get to the heart of a strategic challenge. Teamwork is most important at the beginning phases of scoping a project, and at key milestones where decisions are made on next steps. We’re fans of using a divide and conquer approach so team members are empowered to own work streams and individual actions that propel us forward on a project. 

Beyond business projects like brand campaigns, we are also balancing teamwork and individual actions on insights team improvement. For example, we’ll brainstorm how we want to improve our team impact, and then divide and conquer so some team members own training and some own new partner exploration.

What would you say is your biggest hurdle as a team and how do you overcome it? 

Prioritization! We intentionally created demand for our insights and strategic partnership across brand, innovation and shopper marketing teams. However there is more work than we can handle as a team of 10 – so we take many steps to prioritize such as:

  1. Focusing on our biggest brands, innovation bets and shopper programs. 
  2. Creating simple 2-by-2 impact/effort grids to plan. 
  3. Having regular prioritization meetings with our marketing partners to understand their needs and adjust to a dynamic marketplace.

Do you have any tips for researchers looking to influence decision-making and connect with key stakeholders?  

Identify the decisions your stakeholders are making that have the biggest opportunity or risk to the business. Offer a perspective on how you can add value in that decision-making through insights synthesis, strategic consumer/shopper thinking and custom research. For example, we created a multi-phase, month-long immersive insights program to kick off annual brand plans, knowing it’s one of the most important strategic foundations that all brand decisions are built on.