Being consistent in his marketing strategy and promotional efforts, Edhi Sumadi has successfully hit the road on sales achievement in premium spirits and wines.
“There are two most important aspects in running the business of alcoholic beverages, which are structure and networking,” the commercial director of Pernod Ricard Indonesia remarks.
Pernod Ricard holds the marketing and distribution licenses for spirit brands such as Chivas Regal, Martell, Absolut Vodka, Wild Turkey and Jameson; and for wine brands like Jacob’s Creek, Montana and Mumm Champagne.
“As for Pernod Ricard Indonesia, our storehouse is in Singapore and we hold the license from this state-island. The reason why we are based in Singapore is owing to the country’s organized structure in dealing with alcoholic beverage industry,” Edhi explains.
Edhi is aware that it is not an easy task to market alcoholic beverages or products in Indonesia. Nevertheless, it is his duty to promote the company’s products to the targeted segment in Jakarta and other major cities in the archipelago.
Just like any other businesses, networking plays a crucial part in marketing a product. Not only does Pernod Ricard target nightspots in marketing its products, but the company has also built a good relationship with nightclubs and cafes, which account for 50 percent of total sales.
“As advertising alcohol products is considered next to impossible, our marketing efforts include building the awareness of our products through parties and sponsor-relevant events,” Edhi remarks.
Chivas Regal and Martell records Indonesia’s two highest sales figures. These two brands fall in the categories of whiskey and cognac, respectively. Whiskey and cognac are the only two categories of ‘brown spirit.’ Others like vodka, rum and tequila are considered ‘white spirit.’
“Both Chivas Regal and Martell have won the heart of mature drinkers, majority of whom are men. Meanwhile, the consumption of white spirit often relates to a trend. Wine is indeed unique. Some people enjoy drinking wine because it contains less alcohol and is also good for health. And I see a large number of people out there who treat wine as a way of appreciating the art of living. It’s an image, indeed,” Edhi remarks.
He also sees that selling alcoholic beverages is selling lifestyle. And lifestyle relates to image. “Whether it is brown spirit, white spirit or wine, consumers have their own reason to associate these drinks with their lifestyle. I personally like Chivas 18. In my opinion, this is the smoothest scotch whiskey. I also like Martell Cordon Blue. It has unique characteristic for a cognac owing to its subtle aroma of bouquet and vanilla. As for wine, Montana is one of my favorites.”
Graduated with an MBA from the University of Oregon, U.S. in 1994, Edhi has long been involved in the business of Food and Beverages. He worked for PT Nestle Indonesia from June 1995 to May 1996, during which he was in charge of marketing coffee. “In my perspective, marketing alcohol has more challenges. Unlike coffee, which you can find everywhere, alcohol has very segmented market. We can only sell liquor at places like hotels, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs.”
In June 1996, Edhi joined Seagram Indonesia as marketing manager. His impressive marketing efforts during his incumbency brought a record of Chivas Regal sales, from only 1,500 bottles to more than 10,000 bottles per year.
Seagram officially changed its name to Pernod Ricard on May 1, 2002 and Edhi has ever since contributed his high dedication in marketing the company’s products. Edhi’s marketing strategy to maintain brand awareness includes participating at events and parties in nightspots. There have been various events with different themes bearing the flags of brands such as Chivas Regal, Absolute, to name a few.
Despite his devotion to the business, the father of three still finds his leisure important. “I like to spend my spare time dining out with my family. We love to experience different cuisines, especially Thai food.”
Movie and music are other activities he also enjoys doing during his free time. He is into action movies. “I admire Mel Gibson for his great roles in his blockbuster movies. He is truly an unconventional actor. ”
Edhi enjoys listening to various genres, though he prefers pop classic in many occasions. “Music is something that has become an inseparable part of our life. Innovation has taken the music industry to different level. Living in today’s globalization, innovation is very crucial. Even in marketing our products, Pernod Ricard always has to be innovative.”
One of Pernod Ricard’s innovative strategies was naming an open lounge at Ritz Carlton, Pacific Place after one of the company’s products, Mumm Champagne.
Edhi perceives that the alcoholic beverage industry will face bigger challenges in the future. But he also believes that the market will flourish due to the fact that the industry contributes to cash driven hospitality businesses like restaurant, bar and nightclub.
By Aulia R Sungkar. Photography: Yudi P. Pratomo. Published in HighEnd, August 2010.