Diageo: Engaging with our staff on the issue of responsible drinking

Business in the Community Ireland

Company Description:
Diageo is Ireland’s number one drinks business with an outstanding collection of beer, wine and spirit brands. Diageo Ireland directly employs more than 2,300 people in operations around Ireland including Dublin, Belfast, Bushmills, Dundalk, Kilkenny and Waterford. We also contribute significantly to approximately 15,000 other jobs and invest in excess of €500m annually on materials, supplies and wages. Exports of our world famous Guinness and Baileys brands exceed €750m per year.

Business Issue:
Ensuring our work in promoting responsible drinking is understood by our staff.

Solution Applied:
In March 2007, we invited a cross-section of employees to participate in focus groups to examine Diageo’s efforts to promote responsible drinking, our approach to marketing and sponsorship, our partnerships with key external stakeholders and low-risk drinking limits. In response to the feedback we received, a communications campaign was devised north and south, called “Clear Thinking, Responsible Drinking”. A six week poster campaign and ‘ezine’ provided top-line information with links to other sources for more detail. A standard drink calculator was distributed to advise how many units are in popular drinks, with information on Employee Alcohol Policy, low-risk limits and the Diageo Marketing Code. A standard drink measure was given out to support staff to act as sensible hosts with a pamphlet and coasters containing tips for an evening out including designating a driver and using soft-drink ‘spacers’.

Company Benefits:

  • Ensuring staff have an understanding of what Diageo is doing at an industry, stakeholder and political level to lead in the promotion of responsible drinking.
  • Creating a better understanding of why responsible drinking approaches are critical in ensuring the sustainability of Diageo’s business in Ireland.
  • All staff now have key facts on alcohol consumption and drinking guidelines, public policy and industry initiatives.
  • Based on feedback from our staff, the company now has a better understanding of how to market our products.

Stakeholder Benefits:

  • Feedback to date has indicated that employees found the campaign and materials useful. In response to the campaign, a number of employees requested more information on talking to their teenage children about alcohol. This internal campaign can be used for other countries across Diageo’s global network, or for application by other players in the domestic and international drinks industry. According to Brian Duffy, Chairman of Diageo Ireland, “Diageo’s marketing code and employee alcohol policy are among the key initiatives that are critical to promoting a responsible drinking culture among all of the Company’s consumers and stakeholders”.
  • In a recent employee survey one employee commented: “I found that the information was presented clearly. I particularly liked the spirit measure, which I find very useful at home when measuring drinks, a great idea! I also liked the drinks wheel and was surprised by some of the information there, particularly around how small a standard drink of wine is!”

To communicate with a very diverse multi-site, multi-jurisdiction employee body.

Avoid information overload.

Departments Involved:
Corporate Relations

Solution Champion:
Jean Doyle, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, jean.doyle@diageo.com and Angela Smith, Corporate Social Responsibility Assistant, angela.smith@diageo.com