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Impact Seminar: Mukherjee On Purposeful Marketing, Chaplin On Charity Efforts

October 12, 2021

Speaking at the recently held 45th Annual Impact Marketing Seminar, industry leaders Ann Mukherjee and Wayne Chaplin took on related topics that have become only more vital over the past year and a half: purpose-driven marketing and giving back through charitable contributions.

Declaring that “Purpose is the new digital,” Mukherjee, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard North America, defined purpose as what a company or brand stands for and against. She used Absolut’s “Sex Responsibly” initiative as an example of how a specific spirits brand can embrace a purpose.

“We spoke up for a disenfranchised group of people—women—and put a spotlight on an issue that no other brand would, or could, touch,” she said. “The result? Our consumers are buying into—and buying—Absolut again, translating into 12-month value growth of 2.5% according to NABCA. Authentically believing in and acting on this issue is good purpose and good business.”

Mukherjee pointed out how companies can move forward through what she called the drivers of industry purpose: data, demand, and diversity. Data transparency, she said, allows companies to react to consumer and market needs; demand involves addressing consumers from all demographics; and diversity means companies themselves should reflect the world as it is, boosting their recruitment of underrepresented groups.

Wayne Chaplin, CEO of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, picked up on similar themes in his speech entitled “The Many Benefits of Charity Marketing.” Giving back, Chaplin asserted, is at the core of the drinks business. “What makes the heart of hospitality beat so strongly is that it’s based on collaboration, shared values, and teamwork between suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers,” he said.

Chaplin highlighted some of Southern Glazer’s charitable partnerships, pointing to efforts like the Bacardi Center of Excellence and Scholarship Endowment at the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Beam Suntory and Southern Glazer’s joint $1 million donation to the United States Bartenders Guild during the pandemic, Constellation’s $100 million investment in black and minority-owned brands, and Diageo’s $10 million of support directed to America’s historic black colleges and universities, among other industry initiatives.

Southern Glazer’s has also spearheaded charitable giving through the South Beach and New York City Wine and Food Festivals. “Together these events have raised nearly $60 million for their respective charitable partners, and this does not include the millions of dollars raised to support bar and restaurant employees with Covid relief,” Chaplin said. “In addition to the annual festivals, in 2021 we hosted a virtual fine wine and spirits auction in partnership with Shanken and Barstool Sports, to raise more than $1.6 million for restaurant relief.”

Southern Glazer’s will continue building on that charitable legacy looking ahead, including with a new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative at the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. That effort will include educational programming, academic research, career pathing and recruiting, mentoring and scholarships, and employee training, as well as a Southern Glazer’s endowed DEI professor at the school. Capping it all off, Chaplin announced a new Marvin and Hazel Shanken DEI Scholarship aimed at increasing diversity in the drinks industry. Beginning with a $250,000 donation from Southern Glazer’s, the scholarship salutes the couple’s more than $50 million in charitable contributions to various causes over the years. “I ask each of you in the audience today to join us in supporting this initiative to show that we are a unified industry and that we are stronger when we act together,” said Chaplin.—Shane English

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