Worldwide drinks group uses Exterity to deliver its brand image around stylish new offices
SABMiller is one of the world’s largest brewers, with a brewing presence in over 40 countries across four continents; a portfolio of strong brands and market leading shares in many of the countries in which it has brewing operations. Outside the USA, SABMiller plc is one of the largest bottlers of CocaCola products in the world. When the company announced plans to invest £30 million to promote its key brands in the UK, a new operating company, Miller Brands UK, was established that would manage the sales, marketing and distribution of its key drinks brands including Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzuro, Miller Genuine Draft and Castle Lager.
For the company to be successful, SABMiller realised that its brands must be seen as a lifestyle ‘must have’ and the products portrayed as ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’. The company set about changing its image to appeal to the young, aspirational 20-somethings, with SABMiller’s advertising, direct marketing, public relations and promotions all reflecting these new messages. The company also wanted its employees to be exposed to the images and to help create what became known as the ‘wow factor’.
“Having one network was crucial to our overall aim of creating a spectacular office. We did not want to have to deal with loads of cables and wires. We wanted clean lines. By running everything from a single infrastructure, we could minimise the number of leads and could help save the company substantial amounts of money, as this is a more cost effective way to run a network.”
In anticipation of the new investment in the UK, SABMiller set about looking for new offices. Not only would the office have to house the new staff that were currently being recruited, but they wanted a building that would reflect their new brand values and clearly protray to employees, partners and visitors that SABMiller is an exciting company and a great place to work. “
"The old offices were horrible,” explained Roger Chappé de Léonval, IT Manager for SABMiller. “They were a dark and dingy, shared office space that did not reflect our corporate image or brand.” The search for new offices led SABMiller to a run-down 1980s-style building in Woking, Surrey. Although the building was unattractive on the outside, it was the perfect location and space for SABMiller. The building was completely gutted and redone in a style that was in keeping with new company image. The building is now bright and airy, has lots of open and communal areas and certainly has that ‘wow’ factor.
A central part of creating the ‘wow factor’ was getting the network and AV systems behind the scenes right. SABMiller wanted to have one single infrastructure, so put in a completely new network, which would run its IT, telephone system as well as AV (audio visual).
“Having one network was crucial to our overall aim of creating a spectacular office,” explained, Roger. “We did not want to have to deal with loads of cables and wires. We wanted clean lines. By running everything from a single infrastructure, we could minimise the number of leads and could help save the company substantial amounts of money, as this is a more cost effective way to run a network.”
Traditionally, all AV is piped into a building using coaxial cabling, which is expensive to maintain and slow to deploy. Furthermore, it requires a completely separate system and could not run off a single infrastruture network, which was a prerequisite for SABMiller.
SABMiller turned to its trusted AV supplier, AuDeo for help. AuDeo had previously worked with SABMiller in their old offices so understood the company and its needs. As luck would have it, at that time, AuDeo had started to work with Exterity, a Scottish based company who specialise in network AV.
“We knew straight away that Exterity would be the ideal solution,” explained Kevin Wilson, Managing Director, AuDeo. “All the other network AV products were difficult to use and had heavy back-ends, where as Exterity’s system is a simple ‘plug and play’ solution.”
Before moving into the offices, SABMiller commissioned a one day trial of Exterity's encoders, media players and TVgateways, which together would enable the distribution of multimedia material such as video, TV and DVDs through the network.
“One day was more than enough for initial test,” explained Roger. “The product is so simple and easy to use that we knew straight away that this was going to be the product for us.” To get internal buy-in, Roger presented the product to the building team. Feedback from the team was very positive, so AuDeo and Exterity were given the green light to start deployment.
“We knew straight away that Exterity would be the ideal solution. All the other network AV products were difficult to use and had heavy back-ends, where as Exterity’s system is a simple ‘plug and play’ solution.”
In just two days AuDeo and Exterity rolled out the Exterity solution. Working together the two companies simply extended SABMiller’s Ethernet network to include Exterity’s TVgateways, enabling terrestrial and broadcast feeds to be streamed across the network. Exterity media players were then installed to allow any display device, such as televisions and plasma screens, to be connected directly to the network for direct and easy access to all available digital media.