Marketing People: Elizabeth Sheehan
One of the biggest growth categories within the lucrative soft drinks market in recent years has been energy and sports drinks. Never before have consumers been faced with such a wide choice.
Despite this, Lucozade still remains the top-selling energy drink, as Elizabeth Sheehan of the Japanese-owned Lucozade Ribena Suntory tells John McGee.
Describe your role with Lucozade Ribena Suntory.
When the Japanese drinks company Suntory bought the Lucozade and Ribena brands from GSK in 2014, I joined the leadership team to set up the new company.
As a part of the management team for Ireland I lead a team of eight skilled and talented marketers. In Ireland we are responsible for growing the Lucozade brands, including Lucozade Energy, Lucozade Sport and Lucozade Zero, as well as the Ribena and Orangina brands on the island of Ireland.
More recently, we have also launched new brands – Merchant’s Heart Spirit Enhancer and True Nopal Cactus Water.
What are the key trends within the energy and sports drink market?
There are two consumer trends driving the categories – busy lives and health.
Both categories are in growth based on the human truth that people need a little help getting through their busy lives – from maximising their daily tasks to hydrating for sports and activities.
But consumers have also been clear – they want drinks with lower sugar content. The zero sugar and low calorie varieties, on all of our brands, answer this consumer need.
On our core brands we’ve also been steadily reformulating our products for a number of years. Now we’re taking it to a whole new level and reducing the sugar in Lucozade Energy by 50pc but still containing glucose at a level to provide the pick-me-up people want.
We took the decision to reduce sugar in our drinks because it’s what our consumers have been asking for – drinks with less sugar that still taste as great.
How competitive is the marketplace in which you operate?
Soft drinks has always been a highly innovative and competitive category with lots of brands coming and going.
There are lots of new entrants capitalising on the health trend and our challenge is to stay relevant in this evolving category. This is ultimately what drives us to pursue the new and ensure our brands are future-fit.
What are your key challenges as a marketer?
Our key challenge, and one that we relish, is to ensure that we fully, and deeply understand our consumers – in a truly human way. We always need to remain grounded and appreciate that consumers have multiple brand experiences, every moment of their busy day.
We also need to ensure we continue to find ways to stand-out and innovate at the point of purchase in-store.
As a member of the management team it is one of my priorities to deliver performance for the company, but all marketers need to be commercially and financially astute and ensure that our work is driving the total company P&L, and ultimately the business performance.
Sunday Indo Business