Sip & Share: Liquid Ideas

sip_share_logo_finalSurprisingly, catching up with an old friend and speaking with a fellow marketing professional have more things in common than you may think. Themes like storytelling, laughter and creativity are frequent elements but the quintessential through line in these chats is the beverage.

“Let’s grab coffee” or “Want to catch up over a beer?” are open invitations for discussion. No matter the time of day, the location or occasion, friends, colleagues or business partners alike can find a reason to meet up for a chat and a beverage. It’s safe to say that HB embraces this social tradition: from a hand-crafted pour over coffee in the morning to a cold IPA or a glass of red wine in the afternoon, we’re not picky.

The HB team values the global IPREX network and the amazing wealth of knowledge and industry expertise it offers. We’d like to shine the spotlight on some of our fellow IPREX partners and we think there’s no better place to start than with our friends down in Australia at Liquid Ideas!

Liquid Ideas was established in 2000 as a wine-centric PR agency, and quickly established itself as Australia’s leading specialist PR agency for the wine industry. Today, Liquid Ideas is a unique creative communications agency working for all sorts of brands, with offices in Sydney and Melbourne

Jemma LeeLast week we caught up with Jemma Lee, an account director at Liquid Ideas. She just celebrated her fourth anniversary at the agency so she had a ton of great insight to share. Some fast facts: Jemma loves what she does, has done lots of interesting work with her clients (like launched a brewery) and enjoyed her time in Boston at the Global Leaders Conference two years ago where we met.

HB Agency: What’s life like at Liquid Ideas?

Jemma Lee: Life at Liquid Ideas is pretty sweet. We are a team of about 25 and we seem to work well at that size. There’s enough people to talk to but we can still operate as a small, nimble business. We’re located in Alexandria, Sydney which is a stone’s throw from the airport.

Our “normal” week involves an all-agency “work-in-progress” meeting on Tuesday mornings and every other week we take a current affairs quiz. The quiz can be about anything from the media to politics to booze and every topic in between. There’s usually about 35 questions and it keeps us on our toes and pushes us to keep learning.

Sometimes the questions seem irrelevant but Stu (Stuart Gregor, our founder and creative director) is a big believer that knowledge is never irrelevant.

We generally work on client teams of about 3 or 4 people but it’s always with different people so we’re able to collaborate and learn from our colleagues.

In terms of culture – we trialled pet day and that didn’t work. We have EPIC cakes for everyone’s birthday – not the gross kind from the supermarket. We pop bubbles at every opportunity and have done 101 classes on just about everything (last month’s was cheese, next month is Greek wine.) Seriously, nothing is irrelevant.

HB: Liquid Ideas was founded in 2000 by Stuart Gregor as a wine-focused agency. Can you tell us a little more about the agency’s history and how it evolved to work with other consumer and lifestyle brands?

JL: Stu saw a gap in the marketing industry and filled it. He’s probably the best person to speak to the original shift, but I guess it is all really about the lifestyle. You don’t drink wine at home alone – you drink it with friends, at restaurants, with food, at bars, watching sport – so our expertise in wine translated to food and easily into social occasions.

In 2012 we had a big year, which shifted the dial quite a bit for us. We won Singapore Airlines and Kellogg’s – an airline and an FMCG giant. This was a big culture shift and really made other brands stand up and notice our little old wine PR business, Liquid Ideas. Since then, we’ve been working with many different brands, we’re now lucky enough to work with the entire roster of Unilever deodorants: Lynx, Rexona and Dove men!

HB: What types of companies are you currently working with?

JL: We’re lucky to have a great mix of clients at the moment. From Unilever brands like Dove Men, Continental and others, to wine brands like Arras, Hardys and Taylors and other beverage brands such as Carlton Draught, Kopparberg and Four Pillars gin; to travel and retails brands like Singapore Airlines and Aussie Farmers Direct.

HB: The consumer market is heavily saturated, how does your team make your clients stand out?

It is. We take each brief on its merits and think about its audience and their passion points. We have done a lot of brand partnerships really successfully – they allow you to tap into an audience with a credible association.

They’re all different but in the end we always think about the three things you need: interesting content, a purpose and authenticity. It’s the magic trio.

HB: Liquid Ideas’ A-Z services page is impressive! Can you tell me a little more about a few of them? Perhaps Trade Relations and Seeding?

JL: Sure thing! We do a lot of trade relations but it’s most common for our beverage clients. We are a big believer that our job is to influence the influencers and it’s important to note that influencers aren’t always the media or bloggers. The trade are a really important influencer for a brand or company. So we host events for the trade, we do a lot of trade media relations, we present initiatives to our clients which incentivise the trade to get on board with a campaign.

Seeding our products—getting them into the hands of the right people—is something we do a lot of. We partner with other brands and agencies who align with our brands and target the same audiences and give them our product to give to their guests. It is a really cost effective way to increase the visibility of your product.

HB: Because your team specializes in consumer brands, specifically alcohol, do you feel like you have more events to manage?

JL: In general, we do a lot of events! Not just for our beverage clients either but for all clients. In fact, just last month we did an event for Lynx, we launched their new range for 25 style media and bloggers.

We do tend to have a lot of events for our beverage clients because the overall idea is to recreate the environment in which you want it consumed. It is the best way to communicate your brand message!

HB: Because of age restrictions around alcohol, how do you help your clients market to different age groups? Do you ever run into issues managing situations?

JL: We have to be really careful about marketing to younger audiences in everything we do. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, our language, which events we seed at… we have to make sure our audience demographic is a majority over 25y/o so we uphold responsible marketing practices.

In terms of issues management, we’re constantly focused on how to properly market to minors and we’re hyper-aware of alcohol sponsorships in sport. I’m sure it’s similar in the States, but the Australian government, consumer groups and us too are very conscious of the effect alcohol advertising can have on minors during sporting events and we’re careful to not draw a line between alcohol and sport in the youth’s perspective. It is a big public issue, and one that needs to be managed responsibly in the way we execute our campaigns.

Liquid Ideas Team xmas 2014

 For more information about Liquid Ideas please visit or check them out on Twitter at @LiquidIdeas.

About Mower Boston

Boston's Mower office is a full-service technology marketing, PR and branding agency. Our B2B stories illustrate projects and campaigns in a variety of markets and media that range from local impact in Boston and New England to global proportions.


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