Belvedere CMO Sustainably Shaking Up the Spirits Industry

Headshot of Nadine Dietz

What’s a refreshing marketing cocktail consist of? “Equal parts brand truth and consumer truth,” shared Billy Paretti, CMO of Belvedere Vodka at Moët Hennessy. Shaken, not stirred.

I sat down with Billy on the latest episode of CMO Moves to discuss how the premium vodka brand is “Made With Nature” and how this brand truth was the inspiration behind Belvedere’s new multilayered campaign platform that consists of striking cinematography, impactful CSR pledges, and an innovative new product reinforcing the brand’s new commitment. In between his sharing of brand learnings and consumer insights, Billy also shared his own tips of the trade regarding internal communications and how important it is to give people the benefit of the doubt.

According to the latest campaign, Belvedere is created from rye, pure water, fire, and nothing else.  “The campaign is really bringing our intrinsics to life in a very emotive arresting format. Often, as you see in our category, brands market in a lifestyle format, not an intrinsic product related format, at least not within the super premium category. We really wanted to show why Belvedere is honestly as fantastic on the inside as it is on the outside.”

“What we found from the research that we did when we asked specifically about Belvedere, consumers who drink Belvedere or those who are aware of it know that Belvedere is a premium vodka. They think it’s packaged beautifully, they think it’s very high end, but they can’t tell you why. So we wanted to bring the liquid benefit to life so people can understand that we are really an exceptional, super premium vodka that is made with the most simple ingredients that is built with the utmost integrity. And it still imparts exceptional taste.”

The campaign was built long before the pandemic hit, but the team firmly believes it makes sense now more than ever and will really connect with consumers. Bringing the campaign further to life is Belvedere’s corporate social responsibility pledge to be zero waste by 2025. The team is adamant about looking at their carbon footprint very carefully and ensuring they deliver the most exceptional results in the most responsible way. “We understand we are a spirits company. We understand that we manufacture things. We understand that we have a footprint, but it’s really about doing better until you can do your best and doing things in a mindful format.”

Billy credits his team’s success with internally making sure everyone believes in and feels connected to the brand’s platform. “We need to all be, let’s say, participants and influencers within the organization to move this initiative forward.”

We talked about the importance of having the right people on the team and what to do in a situation where a team member is not the best fit. “I think it’s really important and fair as professionals and as humans to give each other the benefit of the doubt and to learn how the situation can be addressed in a variety of ways.  Sometimes it’s a more complicated route to a better way of operating, but I think it’s fair. I’ve had fantastic mentors in my working history and I’ve also had terrible leadership. I’ve learned to work around that and I’ve always wanted to have a certain type of manager or leader over me. So I try to be that person for my team.”

Tune into this week’s CMO podcast to find out more about Billy’s Belvedere journey and the brand’s all natural campaign launching this month. Nadine Dietz is chief community officer at Adweek and host of the CMO Moves podcast.