There are not many spirit brands that can boast a brand academy. Absolut believed it was an essential component of the brand’s equity and had built a unique corporate and brand immersion program in which to deliver content and experience. The Absolut Academy was seen as more than a training resource. It was the brand’s cultural engine room infusing the spirit and knowledge of Absolut into the company’s ecosystem.
However, despite serving the business well the brand had evolved into new areas that were seen as not adequately covered by the academy. Digital, music and global cultural elements required new approaches, new formats for communication and a more powerful strategic focus behind Absolut’s future vision. The program now also had a more focused strategic purpose. It was increasingly seen as instrumental in inspiring the company’s external creative agencies to deliver ever more ambitious and disruptive media and promotional ideas.
Scandinavian values were ubiquitous within the organisational culture of Absolut’s brand owners. Many of these cultural values had found their way into the Absolut brand and had become enshrined in the brands heritage and its view on the world. Our role included the uncovering and codifying of these often unspoken values including them within the scope of the academy’s communication remit.
Our research involved us acquiring a deep understanding of the craftsmanship that drives the brand’s premium quality. Everything from its use of only a specific grade of Swedish wheat to its unique apothecary inspired bottle. We spoke to designers, factory workers, farmers, management and agencies. Everyone who touched the brand. Our insights and understanding of organisational nuances were a key milestone in the project’s journey.
What started as a limited 6 month brief, grew to encompass the full strategic development of internal communications and training. Our work included the creation of Absolut culture films, academy syllabus, training materials, brand engagement guidelines and the curation of their brand image library.
As a result of the project, the Absolut academy was able to strengthen its strategic role in the business influencing the internal ethos and communication style of the business.