How to Grant a strategic omnichannel proposition

The global pandemic brought travel and travel retail to an abrupt standstill. With growing uncertainty around what travellers’ behaviour would look like post-Covid, William Grant & Sons needed an omnichannel strategy to help understand, navigate and capitalise on the new, uncharted territories within the world of global travel retail (GTR).


While the pandemic was unprecedented, change in GTR is not. Fast-paced innovation has always been essential for brands wanting to keep up with increasingly discerning, time-poor travellers. Over the decades, we’ve seen and driven incredible transformation in the channel. To us, this challenge was no different. Our knowledge of existing frameworks paired with plentiful new research informed a marketing methodology to help the drinks brand take off again.


Our primary research and astute category insights revealed which pandemic-related changes to travel would be short-lived, and which were here for the long haul. Just as COVID-19 touched people’s lives beyond travel, smart brand communications would have to reach further too. To connect with travellers in the airport, William Grant needed an omnichannel strategy to span a longer passenger journey, connecting pre- and post-travel.


Airports and in-store activations all look the same, no matter what country they’re in. Terminals were disconnected from the countries and cultures they were part of; distracting and homogenous in equal measure. To connect with and inspire preoccupied travellers sooner, William Grant needed a broader, more integrated strategy. After all, a traveller’s journey doesn’t start in duty-free, in the boarding queue, or even in the taxi on the way to the airport. The journey begins the moment they book their flight. Capitalising on this real-world revelation led us to a world of sharp activational thinking for the brand.


No two countries are the same, so William Grant’s tactics shouldn’t be either. We identified key regional touchpoints in four territories: Asia, the Middle East, Europe and China, then translated our GTR strategy to speak to travellers in each domestic market. Our strategy informed a new direction for their marketing budget too. No more getting lost in-store: we embraced e-commerce from local retailers, geo-targeted ads and click-and-collect lockers to get William Grant seen by travellers at every step of their journey.


Our strategic omnichannel proposition gave William Grant a valuable category-specific tool for a post-Covid world. Our shrewd thinking guided global brand planning workshops, our robust research armed them with real-world insights about their customers, and our strategy led to a total reassessment of the shopper journey so they could be confident all future global retail activations are grounded in insight, and focussed on travellers.