Brand Management at Imperial Brands

Case study

Imperial manages an international brand portfolio across more than 160 countries, and needs to be able to respond fast to both competitive threats and new opportunities. The solution was SM@RT - an application that provides fast feedback on the competitive situation; globally, regionally and in each market, by combining information on the consumer sales of Imperial's brands versus competitors' brands.


The initial SM@RT application would replace a proprietary solution from a data broker with something that was faster, more efficient and better aligned with Imperial users’ needs. The application would use consumption data from a number of different data brokers across the globe on volume, value, share of market, share of segment, distribution, retail price, and coverage.

SM@RT would go on to become the central repository for market data and include all central internal and external reporting (e.g. for Investor Relations, Monthly Reporting, Quarterly Business Review, and Corporate Planning)

Delivering the Vision

A fast analytical engine is used to present a shared model to the many business users across the organization; a model which faithfully reflects their understanding of the market dynamics.  This is then actively queried to gain insights about what is happening in the marketplace; insights that can be widely shared between the 200 users across sales, marketing, and brand management functions at the group, region, and market levels.

The technologies used are those on which Imperial had standardized. Routine reporting from the application is handled by Microsoft Reporting Services. Panorama NovaView is the analytical front end.  Microsoft Analysis Services is the analytic engine. The back-end is SQL Server with Kalido and SQL Server Integration Services.

The SM@RT application continues to evolve with enhanced reporting and new measures and detail of product flows. The latest phases incorporate; Latest Estimate, Outlook and Business Plan volume and share data; additional data sets for taxation and P&L – with full taxation and P&L calculations to come; enhanced pricing calculations; corporate standard exchange rates; additional attributes and hierarchies and managed reports; and further alignment of common terminology.

Thorogood designed and built this analytical and reporting application and continues to support, maintain and enhance it from its practice in Bangalore, India.

Market-related information on market shares, volumes, and retail prices is available more quickly and is more easily accessed. It allows convenient cross-company comparisons, for example of brands and product segments. It frees users from routine tasks so they can concentrate on value-added analysis.

Feedback from a user survey shows how positively the solution has been received:

I am very excited about this new tool, as it exactly delivers what I need in my role

and the Imperial team  also value the relationship with Thorogood:

The work relationship is very professional; reactions to our requests happen quickly and the approach to work is thorough. You showed clearly that you wish to understand our business requirements