Team Hennessy: Building Product Awareness Online & Offline with New Influencer Program

This was originally posted on WOMMA’s All Things WOMM blog on December 4, 2014.

What typically comes to mind when revamping an influencer program? Usually it’s finding advocates with high reach that also care about your brand. When Hennessy US sought to design an influencer program, they pushed the needle by coming up with a new approach. Moet Hennessy USA Digital Marketing Director Montana Triplett and Social@Ogilvy Account Director Madeline McCaul presented how they formed a team of 14 brand ambassadors, called Team Hennessy, to increase online and offline product awareness and push sales.


First, Hennessy took a deep dive into their target market, Hispanic and African American males age 21-35, and where they needed to be to move beyond tactics and launch a breakthrough campaign. Not only did they conduct extensive research around their target market, they also looked at their competitive set including vodka and tequila brands.

The research pointed to two main problems: 

  1. People saw the brand as conservative and old-fashioned
  2. With its strong taste, there was a misconception that it cannot be a mixed drink


Trying to appeal to a new generation of ethnic drinkers and increase consideration among super premium spirit drinkers, within this new target, required rebranding. The new target wanted advertising that would mean more than just a product; it needed to be a theme. That’s when the breakthrough idea was born, “What’s Your Wild Rabbit?,” pushing the limits of one’s potential.

In order to be affective with the consumer, Hennessy needed to challenge them. They went beyond the traditional, “influence the influencer,” and found influencers who embodied the wild rabbit spirit and who could also drive tactical sales. This became their new influencer model:

In order to have an actionable influence on the business, each influencer has to have relationships with club owners, has to get the product on shelves (each influencer has sales goals) and has to be great content promoters inside and outside the club.

To find the perfect match, Hennessy also shadowed every potential influencer for three things:

  1. Were they good hosts?
  2. Could they get people into the clubs and buy bottles?
  3. Could they pull themselves together after a night of drinking and work the next day?


Hennessy ended up with a team of 14 influencers – 14 ongoing channels to distribute content through. On any given night Team Hennessy is inviting celebrities and influencers to the clubs and taking pictures that show off the product lifestyle as well as selling bottles. The next day, Team Hennessy can take that content and share it on social media in their voice.

That kind of never stop, entrepreneurial spirit resulted in:

  • 4.2k events
  • 249.9k consumed samples
  • 433k drinks sold
  • 27.9k bottles sold
  • 500M media impressions generated
  • 565k social media posts generating 38M impressions
  • 4.2% brand growth from 2012 to 2013

The importance of not only driving influence online but being at the ground level where your consumers are, is how Hennessy earned impactful results. Offline and online influence also requires a personality that meshes well with your brand, a person with the right relationships and a strong work ethic. Having all four elements is key for finding the best influencers for your brand.


Social Matters 2014 Presentation Recap

Written by Candace Ngok, Regional Digital Strategist at Social@Ogilvy Hong Kong. 

This year’s Social Matters Hong Kong took place at the height of the Occupy Central movement, making the topic of how social media matters taking centre stage more fitting than ever.

The story so far: what we learned at Social Matters

The event kicked off with Zach King talking about how he made it as a globally renowned Vine star. At the start of his talk, he shares his latest video on Instagram – a 15-second Instavideo he made just the night before in Hong Kong. 19 minutes in, he takes his phone out of his pocket to check how many likes the video has gotten, not surprisingly, 13,000 in 19 minutes. But it’s not good enough. He can, and has done, better. For most of us digital marketers, 684 likes per minute is what content dreams are made of; but his sense of disappointment sets the tone of the morning perfectly:  great content isn’t something that happens by chance. Far from it. Content creators are going to great lengths to make their content the best it can be for their audiences.   The game has changed. So as brands, advertisers and creators, how do we change with it?

#1 Fail better

Samuel Becket famously said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Coca-Cola’s Pratik Thakar is on Samuel’s page, and you should be too. We’re programmed as humans to want to succeed, but successful content doesn’t necessarily come first time. It’s a process; trial and error. As Pratik says, “If I expanded on our failures, I’d be here for a week”.

Let’s face it, nobody wants to tell the boss that their idea didn’t work. So how do you fail well?

  1. “Try fast, fail fast, if it works, scale it up”. Coke lives by this rule. Take risks through incubation and test ideas in one market before going big
  2. Zach King doesn’t do fails. If his content doesn’t get as many likes as it should, he reads the comments, finds out what’s wrong, re-edits and reposts later on. The lesson? Don’t be afraid to be bold about your desire to create content that people want
  3. Take a long-term view of content. Make it a science. This allows you to experiment

#2 Saturation, Saturation, Saturation

Welcome to generation hard-to-please. And we’ve only got ourselves to blame. As advertisers and brands, we’ve seen channels multiply, we’ve seen our audiences adopt three screens at once. And we’ve bombarded them with content. The result? A highly demanding audience, with advanced bulls**t detectors.

As today’s speakers talk about reaching our audience, what they want and don’t want, how to make them happy, I can’t help but conjure up an image of a grumpy toddler at feeding time. We’re trying to get them to eat, they need to be fed, but for some reason they don’t want the hyper-nutritious mush we’re trying to stuff down their throats. They’re distracted and reject it, until, that is, we pretend the spoon is an aeroplane and, ouila, they ‘open wide’. For content marketers, it’s much the same conundrum (minus the mush). How do we dress up content and make it into something the audience wants. How do we entertain them?

  1. Listen as you publish, says Alex Light from Vice. And respond to your audience, all the time. And King says the reason he’s here today is down to the commenters, who keep coming back for more.
  2. This generation doesn’t understand advertising, says Light. Make your language visual, and your content interactive. It’s all about image and video
  3. Talk to a culture, not to an audience, says Pratik Thakar. What’s more, don’t be afraid to be niche. As long as your consistent, people will keep coming back, whether you’re a brand, creator or publisher  

#2 Be less adult, more child 

Zach King shared three ground rules for content creation: make it clean, make it contagious, but most of all, make it appeal to people’s inner child, make them curious. And for Coke’s Pratik Thakar, content marketing is a playground.

But despite the swings and promise of frolics, playgrounds are scary places, and there’s always a kid who’s ready to steal your lunch and your friends. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can be a challenge to convince a company, and the powers that be, to be playful with their budget. So how do we embrace our inner children to unlock great content marketing, without forgetting the stuff that matters?

  1. Calculate the cost and impact of content creation will help you gain support for your ideas internally, says Coca Cola
  2. Persuade. Open as many doors as you can inside the brand, find the stories in as many places as possible, and the company will start to buy into content. This makes it easier to grow the potential of the content machine. Nissan’s Dan Sloan
  3. Create content that you love. Play with your content. See what works, what doesn’t. Build on it and learn. This gives you the freedom to create content that works better each time.

The second half of the day saw a shift from content-based strategy to a distribution and platform-based discussion. Ken Hong, General Manager of Sina Weibo Strategy Marketing, argues that consumers are not just demanding better stories, but also greater digital functionality, and more ways to share content and to connect with their networks. It is, indeed, consumers who are forging ahead social innovation and it is the consumers who are changing how brands and advertisers define their success.

ROI, as many speakers discussed on Day 2 of Social Matters, is no longer the key indicator; some would even go as far as saying the journey of brand stories begin with the audience, not your business goals/objectives. What is the story your brand is telling? How is it being told? Does it connect with your audience and add value to their lives? There was a unanimous emphasis on the value of an excellent story. From Zach King’s 6-second Vines, to Hironao Kunimitsu 3-10-minute Gumi gaming sessions, to Brian Buckner’s 80 episodes of True Blood, the experts in the room agreed that when stories begin with the audience, it becomes easy to engage their attention and create mindshare. A thoroughly engaged audience will become a compelling and advantageous media source for the story being told.


For more insights and recaps from Social Matters Hong Kong, check out our content hub at

Missed anything? Don’t worry, presentations from the speakers can also be viewed on

Social@Ogilvy Social Media Week 2013 Schedule – #SMWOgilvy

Events in Four Cites

New York

February 19th

Panel title: Mocial RX: Leveraging Mobile & Social in Healthcare

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Summary: Health discussions have moved beyond a single screen and one-on-one exchanges. Mobile and social — what some call “Mocial” — is all about a new platform of on-the-go device and broader discussion. From geofencing to quantified self to the second screen, this lively exchange explores how “our networked life” influences behavior change, removes barriers, and adds value to connected communities.

  • Buddy Scalera, SVP, Interactive Content & Market Research, Ogilvy CommonHealth
  • John Nosta, EVP, Senior Strategist, Ogilvy CommonHealth
  • Andrea Hackett, Account Supervisor, Digital Strategy, Social@Ogilvy

Panel title: Pharma & Social: Better Apart?

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Summary: The social health space continues to rapidly evolve, pivoting to serve new needs and voices faster than most pharmaceutical companies are used to acting.  Patients, caregivers, even doctors seem to do just fine taking advantage of existing forums to discuss their health concerns. Is there room for in the social sphere for prescription drug brands? Mixed views and industry case studies fuel a provocative discussion on whether and how Pharma can truly add value to these already active conversations.

  • Chris Cullman, VP, Digital Strategy, Ogilvy CommonHealth
  • Scott Friedberg, Director, Digital Strategy, Ogilvy CommonHealth
  • Andrew Teie, Senior Digital Strategist, Ogilvy & Mather

Panel title: The Social Engagement Hub: Re-Imagining The Contact Center As A Critical Marketing Tool

Time: 2:30pm – 4:00pm

Location: Advertising & Marketing Hub JWT NYC

Summary: Consumer demands for a new kind of relationship with the companies they buy from has changed how we manage customer relationships: forever.

In this session, Joshua March (CEO and Co-Founder of Conversocial), Evan Shumeyko (CRM Engagement Practice, Ogilvy), Michael Brito (Social Business Strategy at Edelman Digital) and Alon Waisman, Social Media Operations Manager at GoDaddy) discuss The Social Engagement Hub: How do marketing departments and contact centers need to evolve and restructure to deliver the best experience over social channels? Good customer service becomes your marketing strategy when the consumer is king.

  • Marketers, Social Media Managers and Customer Service Directors can join us to discuss:
  • How to build a Social Engagement Hub to bring stakeholders together
  • Why C-Level management should get behind Social Customer Service
  • How pro-active social customer service can revolutionize the contact center of the future
  • Success stories of companies offering unified and coherent customer engagement through social media.

February 20th

Panel title: A Conversation with David Karp, Founder of Tumblr: Brands Connecting Inside the Index of Passions

Time: 10:30am – 11:30am

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: Join us as for a candid conversation with David Karp who has created one of the fastest growing communities of people sharing what they care about most. How can brands participate in Tumblr with meaningful brand or business impact and how do we do it without spoiling the beauty of Tumblr? Join Social@Ogilvy’s John Bell as he asks David Karp about his vision for brands and Tumblr.

  • John Bell, Global Managing Director, Social@Ogilvy

Panel title: The Rise of the New Community Manager: A Discussion with Ford, Whole Foods, iHeartRadio, and Ogilvy on the New Brand Role

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00 pm

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: As more and more brands commit to Facebook, Twitter, and other social communities, the stakes of managing millions of fan relationships is rising. Increasingly the job of the community manager is evolving to a more complex and even senior role. Join Social@Ogilvy and hear from those in the trenches and those shaping how brands are managing fans and customer relationships. What are the new skills of the community manager? How will they fit into traditional organizations?

Panel title: The Live Google+ Jam with Caterpillar: How to exploit Google+ to its Fullest

Time:  1:30pm – 2:30pm

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: Is it plumbing or is it search? Is it Hangouts or Communities? Stop all the hype and anti-hype. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and demonstrate just how brands can use Google+ today and tomorrow. We’ll be working through a LIVE session with Google+, Caterpillar and Social@Ogilvy to create the prototypical, full-out program for the world’s leading B2B brand – Caterpillar. It will be fast-paced, messy and insightful.

  • Gemma Craven, Executive Vice President, Social@Ogilvy
  • Dan Schreibstein, Vice President, Social@Ogilvy
  • Kevin Espinosa, Social Media Manager, Global Marketing Services, Caterpillar
  • Deitra Mara, Head of Social Solutions, NA, Google

Panel title: The Future of Social Customer Care

Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm:

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: Participate in a LIVE demonstration with Social@Ogilvy showcasing the next model of engaging social customers with meaningful dialogue, structure and cross-platform integration. You’ll want to attend if you have encountered any problems like these:

  • Are your customers putting service requests on a Facebook page that’s controlled by the marketing team so customer service reps can’t respond?
  • Is it impossible to keep up with spikes in social media activity?
  • Do you need to learn how to transition from a 1:1 response to a 1: many?

To participate, you can start in the weeks before the event using hashtag #SMWOgilvy to propose topics and challenge the panel with the questions our industry is currently facing in social customer care. We’ll work with select panel members and a few participants who will be plucked from the audience to interact with this engaging exploration of the science of social, digital strategy, and technology

  • Evan Shumeyko – Director, North  American CRM & Customer Engagement at OgilvyOne Worldwide
  • Jeff Simmermon – Director of Digital Communication, Time Warner Cable
  • Phil Blum – Social Media Customer Care Manager, Time Warner Cable
  • Dave Evans –  VP, Social Strategy at Lithium Technologies
  • Rebecca Lieb – Digital Advertising and Media Analyst at Altimeter Group

Panel title: Marketing Without Words

Time: 6:00pm – 10:00pm

Location: Stollway Event Space, 250 West 39th Street, NYC

Consumers are increasingly communicating with brands using images, not words. Visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram offer exciting opportunities for marketers to create emotional connections with consumers, driving greater discovery, clicks, and revenue. On February 20, during Marketing Without Words: Social Engagement Through Imagery, industry thought leaders from social’s most successful brands and agencies (speaker lineup below) will come together to discuss the future of social media and how they’re leveraging Pinterest and Instagram to grow their audience, form stronger relationships with consumers, and drive serious revenue.

  • Kristin Fernholz, Managing Partner, Fashmark
  • Kate Gold, Social Media Director, Food Network
  • Jamie Gutfreund, Chief Strategy Officer, The Intelligence Group, CAA
  • Adam Hirsch, SVP, Emerging Media & Technology, Edelman Digital
  • Irfan Kamal, Senior Vice President, Social@Ogilvy
  • Summer Krecke, Director of Content Strategy, Digital Brand Architects
  • Jon Lombardo, Social Media COE, Leader, General Electric
  • Danielle Trencher, Senior Social Media Manager, Meredith Inc.
  • Farryn Weiner, Director of Social Media, Worldwide, Michael Kors

February 21st

Panel title: The Gif That Keeps on Giving

Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm

Location: Helen Mills Theater, 137-139 W 26th Street NYC

Summary: Since adding some of the first animation to websites of the 80’s and 90’s, the animated Gif has enjoyed a renaissance in the age of Social Media. Emphasizing simple wit rather than flashy technology, animated GIFs have also become increasingly popular with advertisers. Our presenters will look at brands’ and agencies’ use of animated gif advertising and ask what’s next for this resilient medium.

Panel title: Masterclass Community Management 3.0 – The Evolution the Most Dynamic Role in Marketing

Time:  2:00 – 3:15pm


SMW Global HQ – NYC

125 West 18th Street

New York, NY 10011

Summary: Calling all community managers! It’s one of the most dynamic roles in the marketing industry, and as the social media landscape continues to evolve, so do the community manger’s responsibilities and required skills. This interactive class, led by two of Social@Ogilvy’s community management experts, will focus on “Community Management 3.0” – the new job description, new and common challenges, industry leaders putting it to practice, real-life scenarios for discussion and more to prepare you to take your brand to the next level.

  • Ashley Hurst, Director of Business Development & Account Director, Social@Ogilvy
  • Dhara Naik, Account Supervisor, Social@Ogilvy

Panel title: The British Pub Quiz Hosted by Chingwag

Time: 6:00 -7:30pm

Location: Ogilvy & Mather Theater

Summary: The famous, or should that be infamous, British Pub Quiz, dive deep into your brain to fish out those gems of knowledge, you know you once knew, but can’t remember how. Updated especially for SMWNYC, this quiz, hosted by Chinwag, is a chance to pit your social media wits against the crowd with a few British-themed brainteasers to win the title of social media brainbox. It’s a networking event, a workshop, a seminar and a bit of fun all-rolled into one with a few drinks to oil the wheels. It’s a chance to meet, mingle and get-to-know the group of Brits taking part in the Digital Mission to SMWNYC, a group of the UK’s leading digital startups and agencies, looking to launch and expand in New York. There’s prizes for the winning teams and a chance to enjoy a drink, test your brain power, meet, chat and connect, so come on down and join the Brits in one of our favorite past times.

February 22nd

Panel title: Contextual Awareness – What Is The Future of Social Intelligence?

Time: 2:30 – 4:30 pm

Location: Business and Entrepreneurship Hub at Bloomberg

731 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY 10022

Summary: How can social data make you and your phone smarter? How do apps such as Google Now (& Google Glass) easily take disparate data sources and help enhance your life? How does all this information make your life more efficient? The panel will discuss what current solutions exist as well as what is to come and what’s the timeline.

  • Gemma Craven, Executive Vice President, Social@Ogilvy
  • Stuart Tracte, Account Director, Social@Ogilvy
  • Brett Martin, Co-Founder & CEO, Sonar
  • Greg Wester, EVP Business Development, GM Research, Mobile Posse
  • Wesley Barrow, Co-Founder, Nomi


February 18th

Panel title: Hyperlocal: The key success factor of the web of tomorrow?

Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Location: Palais Brongniart – Petit Auditorium – Paris

Summary: Connect together two people thousands of miles away, as initially appeared to be the greatest achievement of the internet. Anyway, today the web allows each user to know the right plan restaurant at the corner of the street, the essential information of the football club of his neighborhood or that of his friends walk within 30 meters. Finally, hyperlocal has become a very strong trend of Web 2.0. This dimension is particularly important now for social networks trying to provide relevant information to their users. The hyperlocal did he become the niche social web of tomorrow? Is it enough to be hyper to be relevant to users?

  • Moderator: David Mennesson, Director Tellmewhere
  • Rasmus Michau, Founder,
  • Natalie Rastoin, Managing Director, Ogilvy France
  • Raphael Chenol, Head & Tablets New Media, Mobility Services Directorate, PagesJaunes
  • Jerome Léger, Founder Admoove

February 21st

Panel title: Crisis communication in the event of social media

Time: 2:00pm – 2:45pm

Location: Palais Brongniart – Petit Auditorium – Paris

Crisis communication has always existed. Nevertheless, the emergence of the internet and social media in particular has upset its fundamentals. They have indeed brought the crisis communication in a temporality much narrower and require today unprecedented responsiveness to the risk of mistakes. Social media should they be media communication around a crisis? How to manage the immediacy while keeping the mastery of this communication?

Eric Maillard, Directeur Général, Ogilvy PR

Panel title: Social CRM: real communication tool or customer service?

Time: 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Location: Palais Brongniart – Petit Auditorium – Paris

Historically limited by the media (mail, telephone…), the customer relationship is under going a revolution with social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and forums are all means of expression for dissatisfied customers. Brands are now faced with new forms of interaction with their customers and prospects through social platforms for the new generation. What are the challenges of social CRM? What practice sand tools used are they different from traditional CRM? What are the best practices?

Washington DC

February 22nd

Panel title: It’s Not Just About Likes: Measuring the Effectiveness of Social Media

Time: 9am – 10am

Location: Ogilvy Washington DC

Summary: Generating great content and engaging social media conversations can be exciting, but does it affect the behavior of your target audience? Is all of your social media activity resulting in your desired actions? In this session we’ll take a look at a framework for measuring social media efforts to gauge their effectiveness at creating real behavior change, not just engagement.

Panel title: Juggling Social Media Across Cultures

Time: 11am – 12pm

Location: Ogilvy Washington DC

Summary: Take a dozen social platforms, multiply by distribution technologies, add in multiple languages and then divide by cultural differences both subtle and overt and you’ve got a social media manager with a heart attack. Join Ogilvy, Noor, the World Bank, USAID and more to calculate the keys to success.

Panel title: Transportation in a Shared Economy

Time: 2pm – 3pm

Location: Ogilvy Washington DC

Summary: The Taxicab Commission is battling Uber, a public bicycle rental service is changing the face of city streets and any mobile developer with a few hours to spare can use free public data to build an app to compete with Metro’s. What does public transportation look like now that the public — and not the city — is firmly in charge?

Panel title: Show, Don’t Tell: The Rise of the Visual Web

Time:  4pm – 5pm
Location: Ogilvy Washington DC

Summary: With the rapid popularity of Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, 2012 was a breakout year for visual content marketing. As social audiences access more and more social content through mobile devices, consumption habits trend toward succinct content with strong imagery and design. Learn how to make a picture worth a thousand words — and figure out how to cut through the legalese of those Terms of Service (ahem, Instagram…) and learn who really owns and can profit from the pictures you post.


February 20th

Panel title: What makes great social?

Time: 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Summary: There is much debate about what drives memorable social media marketing. Is it an idea built on a social insight? A social campaign that drove sales? An experience that leveraged the latest platform? Join three social brand managers as they unveil the secret ingredients that drive social for their brands. Networking event to follow the session.

Digital CMO Summit: What makes an Entrepreneur?

Although it was a few weeks ago, my mind is still buzzing with learnings from the 2011 Digital CMO Summit, which I had the opportunity to attend in New Orleans with John Bell. This unique event was not only filled with hands on learning and compelling content, but brought together some of the most innovative brands for a two day summit. More to come on that in my next post.  While I was at the summit, I had the opportunity to meet some truly inspiring and interesting people – who not only breathe social – but know how to apply it to a entrepreneurial spirit to fuel really smart ideas among the vibrant New Orleans community. Meet Chris Schultz, President of Voodoo Ventures. We briefly sat down with Chris who shared his passion for creativity and the importance of entrepreneurship in New Orleans, especially Post-Katrina.

Chris is a co-founder of Launch Pad, a collaborative workspace in downtown New Orleans that is home to more than 60 startups in the Big Easy.  He created Launch Pad Ignition, the first seed accelerator on the gulf coast, and part of the Techstars Network and the Startup America initiative.  The list goes on: He also co-founded TribeCon, a conference about leveraging online communities to create offline change and mentors young entrepreneurs in the community in addition to building his own companies. You can see part of his interview with us in the video below:

Continue reading Digital CMO Summit: What makes an Entrepreneur?