Inside Société Perrier: The Present and Future of a Content Strategy

For the past two years, Perrier has been working to win its groove back.

Synonymous with classy bubbly water for decades, Perrier wants to resonate with club, music, art, and culture aficionados — people who like a little fizz.

The company hired the Mirrorball agency in 2011 to devise a re-branding strategy that would pump the right kind of content to a fresh base of social consumers — people who would share the news, information, and features that Perrier produced.

Titled Société Perrier, the effort now spans nations. Perrier’s content is sourced from elite and sought-after scene-makers in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Mexico City, and Dubai — to name just a few.

On Feb. 7, three of Société Perrier’s content and social-media team members joined Shafqat Islam, co-founder and CEO of NewsCred, at Islam’s online-media company’s Manhattan headquarters. They spoke about content marketing, and about designing a strategy that works for a brand that’s going deeply lateral — as one might characterize a sparkling water company that wants to align itself with the concept of nighttime “hedonism”.

Starting with Jagger and Warhol: How to Understand Société Perrier

“To understand Société Perrier, you need to know about Perrier’s history with nightlife,” said Rana Good, global managing editor of Société Perrier. “Back in the ’70s and ’80s, the CEO of Perrier really liked to party. There’s all these pictures of Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol drinking Perrier. It had this nightlife connotation to it — a glamorous, aspirational nightlife connotation.”

But then, the swagger went flat, and the rock-star lifestyle to a large extent became the realm of other brands, other kinds of brands. Now, Société Perrier is bringing its bubbly back to the party.

Influencers: Where the Party Is

“We started off in social media with a very small team,” said Owen Murphy, the digital project manager at Mirrorball, “and it was actually through this Perrier program that we got into Web development and developed this whole editorial component around the events we were sponsoring.”

Mirrorball/Perrier selected bloggers that knew how to aggregate club listings and score interviews. What Société Perrier built, from the dance floors up, has turned into a worldwide team of engaged influencers.

“We enlisted a bunch of luminaries, or influencers, essentially, who really knew where the party was,” Murphy said. “They’re the creative class.”

Perrier is tapping the intelligentsia of the club scenes. It’s presenting its logo and brand concept alongside known quantities that can tell readers and users what’s cool before it’s cool.

“We try to find stories, cover bands and DJs,” said Good. “They aren’t mainstream, yet. That’s what we’re going for.”

Online and IRL: Campaign Measurements

Jeff Meltz, digital product manager for Mirrorball, turns that content into a conversation.

“Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, those are our sort of three bread-and-butter social-media sites,” Meltz said. He explained that Facebook highlights weekly events, festivals, artists and gallery nights upcoming. Twitter is the campaign’s day-to-day chat room between users and influencers, and Instagram is the “photographic evidence,” said Meltz. The parties, the street stuff, it all ends up there in visual form.

But how is this shaking out for Perrier? Is Société Perrier driving numbers and making fresh sales of the brand, out there in the real world?

“We have something called hotspots, which are venues in New York and L.A. and Miami, all around the world which sell Perrier,” said Good. “We promote those venues and also write about them and the client wants us to sell more Perrier at those venues and also get more venues to sell Perrier.”

Does it work? Good said yes. The promotion via the Société Perrier pages does result in higher sales of water. And so, just about two years in, Mirrorball’s client is still with the program. By their metric, the future of Société Perrier apparently looks bright.

As for that future, the team said that one key idea from Perrier’s past will be coming back.

“We are doing something this year with Andy Warhol,” said Murphy of a developing effort between Société Perrier and the Andy Warhol Foundation. So the original association may get a fresh fifteen minutes, yet.

Image by Flickr

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