Steps Fostering Innovation 
One step should be about making better sense of our directly engaged, earned and anonymous consumer data. This is certainly the way forward in establishing sustainable growth. By understanding our consumers better  what they like, their online behavior, and their preferred engagement we can craft the most relevant marketing campaigns and achieve the utmost cost per reach and conversion effectiveness. Furthermore, we can apply this understanding to innovation helping us construct the vision for future products and services.

"With the immense amount of data IoT enabled devices can generate, we can monitor our product and improve quality and brand loyalty"
At Beam Suntory, there is a lot of interest in marketing technologies, like data-driven decision making and programmatic advertisement purchasing. I recently read in a white paper from Teradata, a specialist in enterprise data, that 45% of marketers believe data is the most underutilized asset in the marketing organization. The report also noted, “Historically, marketers have been wary of implement-ing processes for fear of ruining the creative atmosphere.” But as marketers become accustom to the massive amounts of consumer data all around them, the idea of a data-driven process on marketing decisions how we collate, model and harvest data for insights is more and more appealing. If we dig a little deeper into this process, we have the ability to generate a universal identifier and enrich our data with third party data and consumer online behavior with offline transactions. With this information we can measure conversion through actual purchases, consequently improving the effectiveness of our marketing spends. Of course, we can’t craft marketing messages on an individual level, but nonetheless, this data-driven vision will give us the flexibility to target our consumers more precisely and help us build a path toward sustainable growth. 

Internet of Things for Food and Beverage Industry 
Like most industries, the Internet of Things is allowing the spirits industry to explore many untapped opportunities which were once thought inconceivable. With the immense amount of data IoT enabled devices can generate, there are new ways we can monitor our product and improve quality and brand loyalty. Here are a few examples: 

Follow the Bottle 
By making our bottle smart-equipped with sensors, IoT technology can help us get closer to our consumers by reporting on how our products are moved, sold and consumed. If we were to feed this information into our planning systems, this could drive continuous improvement in manufacturing and procurement planning. Additionally, with this technology, we could obtain a myriad of environmental and geological attributes affording us visibility on typical storage conditions and shelf positions which could drive better packaging innovations and minimize damage. 

Reduce Fraud 
In some markets, fraud can be problematic for spirits. IoT sensors could help detect bottle state changes, for example, when a bottle has been opened or emptied, which can help distributors and retailers verify the authenticity of the product before its imported or put on the shelf. This technology could also empower consumers allowing them to check the product’s authenticity, via the web or a mobile device, to ensure they’ve purchased a genuine Beam Suntory product. All of this can improve customer experience and loyalty in addition to reducing fraud attempts. 

These are just a few quick examples, but I think the possibilities of IoT technology are endless. As IoT evolves in tandem with near field communication, mesh networks capabilities will improve exponentially. Perhaps the day isn’t too far away when my bottle of fine Japanese whisky goes empty and a Yamazaki drone is at the door to drop off another one. Cheers!