The HEINEKEN company is the world’s most international brewer, with more than 250 brands in over 70 countries. Its flagship beer brand, Heineken—along with its competitors—faces the challenge of competing in a category that’s mature and overcrowded in certain markets, while engaging a highly expectant audience. In spite of challenges, Heineken’s brand value has risen 14 percent this year.
Creativity is one of the HEINEKEN company’s founding principles. The communication challenges that Heineken faces as a global alcohol brand inspire more innovative thinking. This was demonstrated at the Cannes Lions in 2015, where HEINEKEN became only the second company to be awarded the Creative Marketer of the Year award twice.
The Heineken brand is centered on innovation, smart marketing, and knowledge of consumers’ needs. According to research, Heineken consumers typically exhibit two personality types: quiet and introspective or outgoing and adventurous. With this in mind, Heineken focuses on enabling its target audiences to cross their own borders and experience new adventures.
Heineken also focuses on those who appreciate all-new beer experiences, aiming for 6 percent of its sales to be derived from innovative products and services by 2020. It launched the Innovators Brewhouse platform in 2012 and, most recently, Frontier, which calls for “pioneers of innovative technology and services to expand and emerge on a global scale, through a partnership with Heineken.” The Dutch brewer has also experimented with new bar design concepts through its Pop-up City Lounge, and released THE SUB, a premium draught-beer system designed to do for at-home home beer drinking what Nespresso did for domestic coffee consumption.
Heineken is also a front-runner in adaptive, digital marketing strategies and partnerships. Data from its 2014 UEFA Champions League marketing campaign led to a five-year sponsorship deal with U.S. Major League Soccer (MLS). Building on an 18-year partnership with the James Bond franchise, Heineken’s “Spectre” campaign became the brand’s largest global marketing platform of 2015. Along with a TV spot, social content, and limited-edition products, the campaign will feature “Spyfie,” the world’s first selfie from space, created in partnership with Urthecast.
HEINEKEN uses its leading beer brand to advocate responsible consumption. Its globally successful “Enjoy Heineken Responsibly” campaigns include “TALENT LAB: Moderation,” which gives creatives in five countries the chance to work with the brand on a new responsible drinking activation. A commitment to the livelihood of both people and their environments informs the brand’s recent digital campaign, Legendary 7, featuring seven farmers who supply the barley and hops used to brew Heineken beer. The campaign highlights Heineken’s ingredients and sustainability efforts—the company plans to obtain 50 percent of its raw materials from sustainable sources by 2020.
Having announced a recent organizational restructuring, with a focus on becoming more agile and embracing growth opportunities, the company is poised to empower its namesake brand and remain competitive in the global beer market.