Customer Experience

First Look: Inside Diageo’s Tech-Infused Collaboration Center

Lisa Johnston
a person smiling for the camera

Alcohol beverage company Diageo opened a high-tech Collaboration Center that’s leveraging data and analytics to educate its customers and partners about today’s shifting consumer behavior patterns.

The 17,000-square-foot facility, located in Stamford, CT, is an invite-only experience for the No. 36 consumer goods company to share data, insights, trends and technologies with its customers, distributors and agency partners.

Steve Wallet, Diageo VP, category, shopper and e-commerce, said the Collaboration Center was established out of a desire to create a meeting experience where people can “come together in partnership to think freely, innovate, brainstorm and feel unrestricted to take risks and come up with incredible new ideas.”

Claudia Schubert, Diageo president U.S. spirits and Canada, further described the Collaboration Center as a “gamechanger,” adding that it will transform the way the company shares insights.

“We are focused on being consumer-centric and leading the industry in insight generation and leveraging data,” she noted.

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Visits can be customized and personalized for each group and tailored to their individual business needs, a Diageo spokesperson told CGT. The expectation is that they’ll leave the Collaboration Center with a better understanding of the macrotrends shaping society, the alcohol beverage category, and consumers’ evolving needs, as well as ideas on how to apply these insights to provide enhanced and innovative experiences for their own customers.

As part of this, the facility taps into Diageo’s proprietary suite of data tools and predictive analytics, as well as third-party resources including Nielsen and IRI, in order to help partners better understand these trends. The insights featured throughout the center are also dynamic and customized to the business needs and strategic challenges of the visitors, the spokesperson noted.

The Collaboration Center is comprised of eight rooms that demonstrate industry concepts using a range of analog and digital technologies.

Visitors can take part in two different types of educational experiences: “See It” uses immersive technology to share trends and insights around disruptive forces shaping society, while “Live It” provides simulated examples from different purchasing occasions and consumer touchpoints, including the home, bar and store.

This facility is housed on the spirit company’s Stamford office grounds, which opened in 2020, and is expected to provide its North America Innovation Lab with more collaboration opportunities. There are also resident mixologists on site to educate visitors on emerging trends.  

Diageo, which includes such brands as Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Ketel One and Casamigos in its portfolio, will also offer virtual reality tours for those who can’t experience the Collaboration Center in person — a feature the company prioritized in its development. Thanks to HTC virtual reality technology, guests can visit the space, meet with Diageo employees in their own store environments, and have follow-up meetings — all with VR.  

Diageo also operates an Experience Center in London, and the company is using learnings from that facility to maximize the potential of the Collaboration Center. For example, with the London facility, Diageo learned that keeping content fresh and updated quickly is a must given the constantly changing category.

“We took that as an opportunity with the space in Stamford and made sure it was tech-forward, with 80-90% of the content digital so we can update it quickly and in real time,” said the spokesperson.

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