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CMO50 #26-50: Paul Gloster

  • Name Paul Gloster
  • Title CMO
  • Company Lyre's Spirit Co
  • Commenced role July 2019
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 25 staff, 6 direct reports
  • Industry Sector International beverages
  • 2020 ranking New to CMO50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    When non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ company, Lyre’s Spirit Co, was launched in Australia in 2019, the founding team knew success depended on Lyre’s mission to lead change in entrenched social and cultural drinking behaviours around the world – quite a tall order.

    “Very quickly it was clear we had to ‘change the way world drinks’, so this became our purpose,” says  CMO Paul Gloster.

    The original strategy concentrated on bars, clubs and restaurants with a conventional 700ml bottle. Bartenders were to be the main path for consumers to try Lyre’s cocktails and mixed drinks… but lockdowns closed that channel and demanded new plans. 

    Gloster quickly learned to react to what he saw as a brave new world out there”.

    In May 2020, he led an initiative to expand into two new pack formats - smaller 200ml bottles and 250ml ready-to-drink cans - in response to this fundamental market shift. Lyre’s was then not yet a year old but Gloster knew an alternative format strategy, bold innovation and agile, true-to-purpose communications were all needed for to recruit drinkers. The 700ml format was still relevant for dedicated cocktail bar experts who make their own drinks at home and the smaller packs made it easier for those who’d normally have “drinks made for them”. The expanded range added incremental volume to the Lyre’s business.

    Gloster says the clarity of Lyre’s marketing goals quickly became the cornerstone for its entire organisational purpose.

    “Championing adoption and influencing change at all levels is now embedded across our globally dispersed, remotely working, cross-functional team,” says Gloster.  

    Not only has this been critical in bringing about organisational change beyond the CMO function, but the clear purpose extends to external equity fundraising efforts.

    “During the pandemic, this has been a key point of difference in attracting investment funds as we demonstrate a highly aligned purpose and attractive proposition,” says Gloster.

    The purpose is woven throughout Lyre’s corporate culture from internal meetings to shareholder updates and it’s delivered organisational change by aligning purpose beyond the marketing function. Another cultural factor shone a light for Lyre’s team during the pandemic.

    “Trust and empowerment have been vital for the whole team,” says Gloster. “We all have the attitude that we are grown-ups and working towards a clear common objective has greatly helped navigate Lyre’s through the pandemic"

    Gloster says demand for Lyre’s has been high although not all new markets exhibit the same degree of maturity. 

    “Rolling out a global one-size fits all marketing approach neglects local market nuances, wastes precious start-up resources and risks long-term growth,” says Gloster.

    Instead, Lyre’s developed a bespoke data-driven insight tool that compares opportunities across multiple markets to inform plans and drive pursuit of rapid, sustainable market leadership. This approach mapped an informed growth path and screened opportunities to realise local market insights and pace. 

    “Lyre’s now has global unified insight and a common language to align market selection and activation,” Gloster says. “This improves our marketing and customer engagement from our messaging, our mix, NPD, activation and even to selecting the right distribution partner in each market.”

    Customer-led thinking

    Lyre’s’ Booze-free month’ campaign was launched a fortnight ahead of Dry July 2020,  and again this year, to raise numbers of people drinking Lyre’s, and encourage them to commit to a non-alcoholic month – helped by a week’s packaged variations. The message is that only Lyre’s wide range of non-alcoholic drinks could offer different drinks for all 31 days. 

    The omni-channel campaign used continual engagement, a dedicated social media community and influencer content to drive positive motivation both on- and off-premise with packs including recipes, menus, POS. 

    “The results have been phenomenal,” says Gloster, “This year saw a three-fold increase in participation and drove 73 percent retention.  Not only that, but consumers who had previously participated in the campaign delivered a 18 per cent higher average order value. It’s been critical to cement the behavioural change Lyre’s is leading.”

    Commercial acumen

    Two years on, Lyre’s is now a global brand, having expanded from 200 outlets in Australia to over 9,000 points of purchase worldwide. Its marketing team, grown from four employees to over sixty people in fifty countries, has set up the business for long-term sustainable growth. 

    Five cornerstone documents have been created to ensure that each and every market is onboarded rapidly. For efficiency and lower production costs, approved assets have been made available to each market via a digital asset management system. 

    A ‘self-serve’ model in each market gives access to materials 24/7 - and the global team no longer works across multiple time zones.  Campaigns for global use enable new markets to choose activations to drive velocity within new distributions. 

    “Lyre’s can scale marketing activities quickly and deliver consistent brand touchpoints wherever our product is available,” says Gloster. “It enables us to remotely bring new markets and partners up to speed quickly - 50 new countries in two years.”

    “The system is also a way for trends, insights and data to be shared across markets – so the way Lyre’s is changing how the world drinks in one market can be quickly adopted into another - and drive triple-digit growth.”


    Lyre’s had created a team of twelve brand ambassadors around the world … yet without being able to physically visit a venue or indeed sample a drink, this talent could have been wasted. They pivoted to digital activities across the emerging world of at home or ‘in-premise’ consumption to give one-on-one ‘mixology’ classes via Zoom for any of Lyre’s ecommerce customers – anywhere. 

    “All countries took part and mixology classes were a critical for engagement,” says Gloster. “The sessions garnered massive insights into our consumers and what they were looking for in Lyre’s and participants are three times more likely to repurchase from Lyre’s. 

    Gloster sees opening up new channels of communication as charting new paths for brands to be effective, and he’s gratified by interaction among Lyre’s loyalists.

    “When someone in Kentucky or Berlin, or Berry, NSW, has created a drink using Lyre’s that pushes the experience … it’s a really satisfying moment. “

    People and culture

    With the onset of the pandemic, local distributors were reducing, not expanding their portfolio. To create growth in the face of this, Gloster revised Lyre’s planned Australian route-to-market using distributors. He built a direct B2B sales team to obviate the need for a third-party distributor at all. They built a supply chain and sales capability with additional hybrid brand ambassador-and-sales roles.  

    “Since mid-2020, this focused, inspired sales team has grown our Australian business from 200 customers to over 2,500 by working closely to win key accounts the previous distributor could never secure,” he says.   

    “We harnessed the pure collective instinct of the team to work together at pace to solve issues under challenging environments … performance was so important to survival.”

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