Head of Marketing
Stoli Group

Nik Keane is Head of Marketing for the Stoli Group’s ultra-premium brands. He was brought in by the CEO to transform and accelerate performance of the Stoli Group globally, building a portfolio of luxury brands which requires developing capability, marketing strategy and executional excellence. Keane is focused on leading the development and scaling our whiskey, rum, agave and gins as well as further acquisitions. Collaboration with distributors and gaining support from customers is key. The business is privately owned and the incentives to transform performance are similar to Private Equity. He has a track record in international marketing in both turning round and accelerating performance and has driven brands at both mainstream and luxury price points at different levels of scale and therefore budgets via distinctive positioning executed with creative flair that gets them noticed, drives engagement and in turn sales. His track record in building brands in culture with forward thinking media and digital content drives effective and efficient results. Keane believes the best work has disproportionate economic impact versus good stuff which often doesn't really move the dial.


CMO COUNCIL: What factors contribute most to your success?

KEANE: “Think different” to quote the famous ad. My high curiosity about how people and things work, plus a bit of neurodiversity helps me come to the table with a fresh perspective to solve challenges. Being in the business in service of profitably helping consumers and customers is a great start point which can get lost within internal meetings and is always good to come back too.


CMO COUNCIL: Where do you focus most of your time, attention, and brainpower on a day-to-day basis?

KEANE: Insight. There is always more to do than you could cover in 24 hours. So how do you decide? Always trying to elevate up into what is the real issue blocking greater success, and what is the insight that might unlock it is key. Then allocating disproportionate time/resources to crack it. Sometimes it is not strictly a marketing problem – it does not matter. Lean in to help solve for the biggest challenge as a team player.


CMO COUNCIL: What market shifts and trends are impacting customer and competitive dynamics in your industry?

KEANE: We live in interesting times. For some industries we can now look back at the Covid period as a time of increased demand. These industries are now working their way through a correction back to the historical trend lines. Consumer confidence is at best fragile and there is a risk of joining the race to the bottom to prop up sales despite higher input costs. Understanding inflation is key as the costs of Covid need paying for. Historically low inflation for most of the last 30 years has meant that many people have not had to deal with higher inflation in their careers. It is more sticky and has more consequences on people and business than the blip many forecast. The cost of capital and therefore inventory levels people want to hold is squeezing lots of business - and consumers are realizing the prices don’t go back to where they were and are poorer. Margins are tightening and many asset values are eroding. The good news is it is same for everyone – and you can still win share and grow.


CMO COUNCIL: What are some of the secrets to better collaboration with peers in the C-suite and lines of business?

KEANE: I don’t think it is a secret, but understanding peers’ objectives, getting it right under the P&L, and becoming best friends with the CFO is key. Understanding just “talking in marketing speak” isn’t going to work. You need to be able speak more than your “language”. It is also critical if you want to move into a CEO role.


CMO COUNCIL: How well have you and your marketing team adapted to the virtualized work environment and what have you learned?

KEANE: There are pros and cons with virtual work. Most studies conclude that some office time together is key. As a small business we have found there are lots of good people who don’t/cannot move back to the likes of NY/London/Singapore, etc. They aren’t in a location to come back 3 days a week so are either pushing back or resigning. We have managed to find and hire amazing people in remote locations at a cost beneath a big city salary. It is a win/win. It does mean we get hardly any in person time – but great people with experience find a way to make it work.


Download CMO Compensation Report

Premium Content

Premium Membership

If you are a registered CMO Council member, upgrade to a Premium Membership. Not only will you gain access to this report, you will also gain access to over 300 full data reports and studies. Premium membership delivers access to all reports, the CMO Council Insight Center and the private mentorship community, CMO+.


Library Subscription

If membership is not the right fit, a library subscription provides access to the reports and content you value. As a subscriber, you will gain unlimited access to all CMO Council content, including over 300 reports, executive summaries and white papers as well as unlimited access to thousands of data points and articles in the curated Insight Center.


Member and Subscriber Login