Problem Statement: As the consumer needs & tastes vary across the globe, Heineken must decide how much to adept their marketing strategy to local needs using a variance of standardized marketing mix & adapted marketing mix, owing to the strong brand preferences & loyalties that exist among the beer drinkers.
Recommendations: Heineken needs to evaluate its home replication, multi-domestic & national, global & transitional strategy to establish its scope of operations, resource deployment & distinctive competence across its strategic business units. They also need to prioritize between global integration vs. national responsiveness evident from decreasing sales in Holland & rest of Europe (refer chart 1). Also, Heineken s global branding strategy should account for the socio-cultural influences, attitudes & perception of its consumers in foreign markets.
Analysis: Heineken s position in the beer market is consolidated by its strong history, making it the number two beer brewer in the world, thus accounting for nearly 5% of the worlds production. With a major global presence, Heineken s main market is Europe, accounting for 47% of its sales. Some of the other brands include Amstel, Buckler, Murphy s Stout & Bir Bintang, each of these being targeted at different levels across the world.
Heineken s premium quality & taste was attributed towards five core brand values: taste, premiumness, tradition, winning sprit & friendship. Heineken s good taste brand image advertising can be evaluated on the basis of desirability, exclusiveness & believability. These attributes can be measured on the basis of the evolving market structure, beginning at the embryonic stage (eg: Africa) and continuing to the declining stage (eg: USA), thereby creating a platform for laying down the market objectives. Also the relationship between the product-trial rate and the customer awareness level will remain to be the deciding factor on reach, frequency & impact of the advertising campaign (refer chart 2). A communication- effect research would elaborate the depth of penetration in the high volume-price sensitive, fragmented & segmented markets (eg: Italy, Spain, Japan, North/Central Europe, Australia & USA). With the acquisition of domestic brands, Heineken N.V. can explore the adaptation mix along with the promotion of its mainstream product Heineken. For example, in Ireland & the UK, which boast a high per capita beer consumption (123 litres &103 litres respectively, refer chart 3), its Murphy s Strout brand can be promoted on a local level while the more elite Heineken can be targeted as the premium export lager. Similarly, its Amstel can be promoted specific to the US market.
While project Comet & project Mosa strive to establish & gauge Heineken s global brand identity & communication, the real test lies for Heineken to sustain its market lead & reputation in its neighboring European Union which by far is the largest contributor to its sales.