Rolling Out

Alaina Long discusses working to market new Ciroc flavors

The VP of marketing for Combs Spirits shares her expertise in compelling campaigns

Alaina Long is the VP of Marketing at COMBS SPIRITS under the banner of Combs Global, where she oversees the joint venture of Cîroc Vodka and DeLeón Tequila with Diageo North America Inc. With an extensive background in the spirits industry, she is well-versed in leading the brand’s strategic vision, activation plan, and business development while working alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Long shared her daily responsibilities, her expertise in marketing campaigns, and a sneak peek into Cîroc Vodka’s newest flavor.

When it comes to your day-to-day, what are your responsibilities?

A typical day for me could be waking up with my baby at 6 am. I’m a new mom, [so] I’m getting him ready for the day. I try to get in a little workout and a little food before I turn on my laptop around 8:30 a.m.  Then there could be a sponsorship call,  or I could be writing creative briefs, looking at our supply with our partner to see if markets are softer and stronger, or I could be in a quarterly business review assessing performance … brainstorming with Mr. Combs and his creative team. So, there is no typical day-to-day.

What are the ingredients that make a captivating consumer campaign?

A lot of people see the glitz and glam but they don’t see the back end. So, I feel like to have a really compelling campaign it has to be rooted in data.

You have to first understand your customer. What are their passion points? Where do they prefer to drink their beverages? What are their interests and what things inspire them? All of those insights are going to help you to lay the foundation for a great campaign, which is also a great story. Now in addition to that, we have the mastermind of Mr. Combs, who is the king of marketing. So, to work alongside him, see how his brain works, and how he comes up with campaigns is a whole other conversation that we could talk about. But it’s really marrying those insights along with someone who has the eye and knack for innovation. You need both in order to create campaigns that are compelling.

What are some ways you all are promoting the newest flavor?

Mr. Combs is the mastermind when it comes to marketing. He is responsible for this innovation, the key contributor, the person who’s really owning the flavor innovation, and so every new innovation and launch that we come out with – his hands are all in it. From the name to the inspiration, [and] the flavor from the tasting.

We’ve literally sat in three, four, maybe even five tasting samplings with him to nail the liquid perfectly. So, he’s really the key behind this innovation. The latest –  just in time for the summer is — honey melon. It has beautiful packaging, a beautiful green and gold bottle, it’s very light and refreshing. Again, it’s right on top for the summer [so] I want to encourage everyone to try it on the rocks. Try [it] with a little prosecco. We like to call it the Elevator 75. It’s great for brunch and it’s great for dinner at home. It’s great when you’re out on a night in the town, but it’s really crisp and refreshing.

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