Working at Rémy Cointreau since April 2018
Current position: Senior Brand Manager, Cointreau
Based in New York
3 key skills to work in your team?
1. Passion – not only does it motivate us individually, but it is also incredibly energizing to be around other people who are passionate about what they do.
2. Ability to self-start – it’s possible for essentially anyone to have a great idea and take the steps to bring it to life. It’s unlikely anyone is going to give you a roadmap or a to-do list; it’s on you to take the initiative.
3. Attention to detail – as a marketer, you need to zoom out and zoom in, see the big picture but make sure you nail the small things.
Senior Brand Manager
What does the role of Senior Brand Manager entail?
For the past two years, I’ve been the Senior Brand Manager for Cointreau in the Americas. In this role, I work with my team to drive the brand marketing strategy for Cointreau in our market with a focus on media, PR/social, and partnerships. In a nutshell, my job has been to take the Cointreau global brand platform and campaign and roll that out in the most effective, relevant way in our market. It means that I’ve needed to be highly in tune with our client to make sure the brand breaks through and plays a meaningful role for that person.
I’m excited to share that I’ll be moving on to a new adventure very soon – starting next week, I’ll be leading The Botanist in the Americas as Brand Director.
How did the Covid-19 crisis impact your daily tasks and the Cointreau brand in the US?
While I miss many aspects of working together in person, our team has been able to operate very well remotely during COVID-19. (We have IT to thank for that!)
Rémy Cointreau is big enough to have a portfolio of amazing, world-class brands to work on but small enough to stay nimble and focused on bringing ideas to life. At some companies, ideas can be inhibited by process – too many layers of leadership, too much focus on internal presentation – but that isn’t the case at Rémy.
The crisis has introduced a lot of change and uncertainty which has had us managing our marketing plans very closely. In some cases, we’ve gone back to the drawing board several times to make sure that what we communicate is appropriate for the moment. It’s made me thankful that our team and our partners are so nimble and have been able to swiftly pivot in the changing environment. Despite the challenges, Cointreau has had an incredible run during this time. The US has a strong – and recently, exploding – cocktail market and Cointreau has a cocktail platform to match it. We’ve seen momentum build over the past few years, but the brand’s performance in the last few months has been unprecedented. While spirits overall is growing, Cointreau is pacing 3X the category – growing triple digits. We are outperforming key competitor Grand Marnier and recently gaining more share than Aperol. E-comm has taken off during this time and Cointreau is the #1 Rémy Cointreau brand on Drizly, the primary e-comm platform in the US.
What is the best thing about your job?
There are lots of aspects I love about my job, but one is the opportunity to work on such an iconic brand like Cointreau. We’ve invested strategically in the brand over the past few years and have witnessed significant growth as a result. Cointreau has had a special place in the US for a long time – it’s at the heart of The Margarita, the #1 cocktail in our market – but right now it’s in a particularly exciting, relevant position with clients. I love being able to challenge myself each day on how to continue to drive the brand in our market.
Moving forward, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work on The Botanist which has such a strong link to terroir and incredible potential to grow in the Americas region.
Joining a new industry
What is it like to work in the spirits industry compared to your previous experiences?
I came to Rémy Cointreau from the beauty industry, where I was at L’Oréal for six years. There are some key similarities between spirits and beauty. To start, both industries have some of the most coveted, exciting brands to work on. There are similarities with the business drivers and marketing mechanics. As a result, you have people cross over between industries – a few of my teammates have beauty backgrounds. Those factors made for a pretty natural transition.
There are differences where it comes to the products we work on. In beauty, there is a huge focus on innovation: you constantly roll out new launches, new shades, and new packaging. For a marketer, it becomes a lot of launch and portfolio management. In spirits, particularly at Rémy, we’re focused on a few products that have long, storied histories – in some cases, products that are hundreds of years old. This allows us to really focus on building our brands and telling their stories rather than always looking to the next best thing. Our innovation lies in the storytelling and how we continue to build brands that transcend trends.
Above all I think the difference is where it comes to culture: the one big thing I heard about spirits before I made the move was that it is a “people” business. That’s true of the industry but particularly of Rémy. You feel the value of people on all sides of the business, from the presence of the master distillers and blenders behind the spirits to the attention to our clients who buy the brands. We’ve all heard the “spirits bring people together” angle, but it’s more embedded in the Rémy culture than just that.
Building a career at Rémy Cointreau
You are relatively new in the organization, can you recall your onboarding?
I remember feeling very impressed by the level of preparedness for my onboarding, from my manager to HR to the overall organization.
Upon arrival, I had all my introduction meetings already set up in my calendar. My company cell and credit card had already been set up. I arrived right before our annual region-wide meeting, where my manager introduced me and another new member on my team to the whole organization. I couldn’t have asked for a smoother onboarding.
How you feel you have evolved in 2 years+?
I feel lucky to have learned from my incredible team and colleagues over the past two years. There have been proud moments (I won “employee of the year” for the Americas last year, which was a humbling high point!) but there certainly have been challenges and learnings too.
I believe that no matter how much you grow, there can always be more growing to do. I’m excited to move into a new role on a new brand to continue the journey.
Aislinn is now Brand Director for The Botanist in the United States.