Our Projects

Aiken PR

What we do


In Northern Ireland Diageo has a significant presence: a £44m facility at Mallusk which produces Baileys for the global export market, a bottling and packaging (G&ERTD) plant in east Belfast and its sales and marketing division which brings its direct workforce to 400 people.

However, Diageo recognises that being a good corporate citizen is vital to the long term success of its business and for the company, corporate citizenship means acting responsibly in everything it does – where its business impacts on society and the environment, how it governs the company and how it conducts itself in business. 

Aiken was tasked with establishing the barometer of where stakeholders sat in terms of awareness and understanding of Diageo’s economic footprint, corporate responsibility credentials and commitment to responsible drinking initiatives.  

Communication Objectives

  • Proactive approach with stakeholders
  • Minimise any controversy around license to operate
  • Maximise opportunities to raise awareness of Diageo in Northern Ireland, including how Bushmills, Bailey’s Global Supply and G&ERTD fits into Diageo’s Northern Ireland business.

Campaign Objectives

  • Educate stakeholders on Diageo NI
  • Explain Diageo’s role in the economic success of Northern Ireland.
  • Showcase Diageo NI’s role in the success of Diageo Globally
  • Ultimately, support business objective by positioning Diageo locally as the world’s leading drinks company

Strategy and Outputs

We suggested and introduced baseline research on current perceptions of Diageo which allowed us to track the success of the strategy over time and to adapt as necessary. 120 stakeholders were identified from the key target groups. The research identified that there was a significant gap in knowledge of Diageo’s contribution both to the economy and to the community. It was agreed that we needed to find a vehicle to inform as many stakeholders as possible in the most comprehensive way.   It was agreed that we would write, design and produce Diageo Northern Ireland’s first corporate responsibility report which would be issued to stakeholders with a personal letter from the Commercial Director according to their relevance to the issue, relative power, influence and their specific stance. 

In moving the strategy forward we were at all times cognisant of the inherent risk that the industry brings including a number of potential issues which could cause reputational damage to Diageo and which need to be carefully managed in order to minimise controversy. We developed a ‘live’ Q+A document which was updated on a regular basis and shared with the senior management team across all four Diageo facilities. 


400 stakeholders warmly received the report. A copy of the report was uploaded on to the intranet and hard copies left in staff rooms. Diageo Commercial Director received a number of positive letters from stakeholders welcoming the report and its contents. However, the real success of the report was opening doors to full scale engagement with stakeholders in order to build influence and understanding of Diageo in Northern Ireland.