Perhaps the best indication that culture is the center of everything at Bacardi is the employees themselves.
Only they’re not called employees.
At Bacardi, they’re Primos, which means “cousins” in Spanish.
“We’re not employees, and we’re not just co-workers,” said Natasha A. Schoultz, Corporate Communications Specialist. “We’re family. Our philosophy is that when you’re working so closely together, you begin to truly care about one another. In families, you work together to overcome any challenges.”
A primary role of the communications team is to amplify that sense of family at Bacardi, the world’s largest privately held spirits company that has more than 7,000 employees across the globe. At the recent Summit by Dynamic Signal, Schoultz was on stage explaining how they help reignite the unique culture of a family-owned business that’s been around for more than 157 years.
“We’re making sure that we communicate all of the unique things at Bacardi – and there’s a lot worth celebrating,” Schoultz added. “This helps instill a sense of pride in our Primos. We all spend so many hours a day at work. Bacardi has worked hard to create a fun and open atmosphere. The result is people here really do love where they work.”
Family is one of three cultural pillars known informally as the “3Fs” – Fearless, Family, Founders.
(The last one is shorthand for “founders mentality” and making decisions as if the company were your own.)
The internal communications team of five infuses those values into how they manage the ONE Bacardi platform, which is powered by Dynamic Signal. ONE Bacardi is the company resource hub. It serves as the intranet, the place for HR information and other policies, and anything else Primos need to get their work accomplished.
But it’s also where they learn about the introduction of new products around the world, cool things other Primos are doing, and even cocktail recipes. ONE Bacardi connects everyone and captures the sentiment of enjoying their work – together.
“Bacardi has this fantastic culture where they really do believe: ‘We’re all one family,’” said Kimberly Ayala, a Customer Success Manager at Dynamic Signal. “ONE Bacardi is so much more than just a portal for information. It’s where they celebrate their awards and accomplishments and highlight the great things their Primos are doing. They make it such fun.”
For instance, they’re using video to create engagement.
Bacardi recently launched a series called “On the Road with Mahesh,” where CEO Mahesh Madhavan is interviewed by Primos beyond the C-suite during his travels. Another video feature presents brand news with a twist. An editor of a popular men’s lifestyle magazine interviewed heads of different Bacardi brands at different local bars, asking questions, like, ‘What’s your favorite cocktail?’”
“A lot of companies put these great leaders in glass boxes behind closed doors, and they’re not accessible,” Schoultz said. “We’re able to encourage our leaders to show their expertise and inspire our people. That personalization also shows that these brilliant executives are just like us and that we all have the same commonalities.”
Another way the team builds that sense of family culture is simply by the tone of internal communication.
“We try very hard to simplify our messaging and be informal while also maintaining a professional voice,” she added. “That helps people connect with what we’re saying. We try to be conversational – like we’re explaining something to a friend over a Bacardi cocktail.”
In other words, they communicate like family.
Position: Corporate Communications Specialist at Bacardi. In addition to its famous rum, Bacardi is the umbrella company for more than 200 brands and labels, including PATRÓN tequila, GREY GOOSE vodka, and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin.
Home: Born and raised in Miami
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida
Favorite Movie: “Say Anything”
Favorite Book: Harry Potter series. “When the book first came out, Harry Potter was the same age I was. So, I literally grew up with him. I re-read them every couple of years, and it’s just phenomenal writing. It’s amazing how they can hold the attention of both children and adults at the same time.”
Favorite App on Her Phone: Instagram
First Job: Clerk at PacSun
Fun Fact No. 1: She has two rescue cats, Percy and Matilda
Fun Fact No. 2: She won a billboard contest in the fifth grade for the local hospital. “The slogan we were given was ‘Listen to Your Kids.’ So, I drew people, and the parents had really big ears.’ My mom still has a cutout framed somewhere.”
Three People She Would like to Share a Drink With: Steven Spielberg, Anna Wintour, and “my paternal great-grandfather who I never met and supposedly worked for the CIA.”
Superpower She Wished She Had: “I would like to tele-transport, so I could go to more places quicker.”
Follow: @omgoshnatash and @bacardilimited1862 on Instagram
Five Questions with Natasha
What’s the benefit of attending Summit?
“I went last year, and I loved meeting so many people from different industries who were working with the same tool to make their companies better. You walk away with so many ideas. It might not always be the right time for those ideas at your company, but they’re always in the back of your mind. At some point, you might have a solution ready for a problem that doesn’t even exist yet.”
Why do you like Summit?
“I personally love networking. I love meeting everyone and hearing what their stories are and why they love what they do so much. When that happens, you walk away really inspired.”
Why is comms so important at organizations?
“Communications is very employee-minded. We’re always thinking about what’s best for the company. Transparency and open communication help instill trust and a shared understanding of what we need to accomplish as a business. Communications has a special skill set to put things in context and always make people feel comfortable about what they’re learning. It helps connect people and create a sense of one team.”
What would be an example at Bacardi?
“We’re currently working with our IT team to downplay their technical jargon so that everyone understands what they’re trying to say. For example, they use ‘end user’ all the time. Let’s be honest, 85 percent of the company doesn’t understand what an ‘end user’ is – when it’s actually them. So, we’re there to say, ‘Why don’t you just say Primos instead?’”
How does the ONE Bacardi platform have a positive impact?
“ONE Bacardi is a great tool because it serves as a resource for all of our different company initiatives and programs. It also highlights our news in a really visual way. All of our Primos can engage with it by just clicking a button. ONE Bacardi also lets our Primos be company ambassadors by being able to share select information with their social networks with a click of a button.”