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Keenan Harris shares how Jack Daniel’s uses collaboration as a marketing tool

The Shoe Surgeon and Keenan Harris (Photo credit: Steed Media Group)

Keenan Harris is a seasoned marketing and sales manager working in the wine and spirits industry. He currently serves as the senior multicultural marketing manager for Brown-Forman in the United States and Canada. Rolling out spoke with Harris about marketing for the Jack Daniel’s brand.

How do you use collaboration as a marketing strategy?

Collaboration helps broaden the consumer reach of Jack Daniel’s and of course recruitment is critical to our growth strategy. From core consumers to occasional consumers to potential new consumers — we look at entities and brands with complementary values to ours, but with possibly different audiences.

Share a case study that involved collaborating with talent or other brands that connected to your brand’s goals.

Our partnership with the Shoe Surgeon really connected with [our] brand’s goals as we were in the process of defining what basketball lifestyle looked like for Jack Daniel’s when we began working with him. We first collaborated for NBA All-Star Weekend 2018 in Los Angeles with a custom sneaker he created that was inspired by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey. This collaboration garnered significant media attention and overwhelming interest from the sneakerhead community, so we committed to expanding the partnership and continue to do so today.

How important are diversity and cultural authenticity to your marketing, branding, and community relations strategies?

Jack Daniel’s is a 150-year-old brand, so there is a rich history and storytelling is a key ingredient to brand building for us. Therefore, we understand and embrace that telling authentic stories through an authentic lens is key to creating an emotional connection with the brand and its associated campaigns.

What two marketing campaigns have you supported as a brand manager that created cultural moments, offered key business insights and achieved brand objectives?

Jack Honey Art, Beats – Lyrics and Gentleman Jack Spirituous. AB+L is an unapologetically Black art show and music exhibition which we have supported for 12 years and is currently celebrating its 15th anniversary. The execution of a program for that long is clearly a milestone and has created unforgettable memories and connections for the brand.

Spirituous is a program in its second year that was designed to uplift, acknowledge and simply celebrate women on International Women’s Day. The opportunity to support the equality of women was such a worthy cause to build a signature initiative around and we look forward to the national rollout of the 2020 campaign.

How does your brand use influencers, and what role do they play in your marketing strategy?​

We seek influencers that are already fans of the brands, or in Jack’s case “Friends of Jack” as we call them. We recognize that an influencer’s network and reach is their currency, and we want to support their goals just as they help support ours. We also ensure that our core values align and that the influencer is the right fit for a program versus a means to drive impressions.