CASE STUDIES: RESTORING THE CROWN TO THE KING OF BEERS
Budweiser sales momentum was in reverse. Additionally, the brand was being challenged by Miller High Life with a new, exciting image and a big infusion of cash by it's new owner, cigarette king Phillip-Morris. The crown was slipping from the King of Beers!
To address this situation, a deep-dive Brand Fitness Study was initiated, including primary research to determine Bud's brand and product perceptions with the target consumer versus that of the competition. Another component of the study was a thorough competitive analysis of all like beer brands' marketing.
Findings were that the shine on Budweiser's crown had dulled with nearly all target demographics, except for one, men 50+. With all other age groups Bud had become "your old man's beer", not good news since individual beer consumption drops as the drinker ages. The competitive analysis confirmed that (at least) the Miller brand was attacking with lifestyle marketing to build a strong consumer bond.
To restore Bud's crown, a three-pronged attack plan began:
- A new positioning and message was brewed. Miller had been using "Now Comes Miller Time." And after all, who doesn't like a cold brew after a hard day's work? But Budweiser virtually stole the after-work occasion with a very unique positioning, not talking about the beer, but talking about the beer drinker. Saluting the American worker for a job well done, the message said, "For all You do...This Bud's For You!" This new messaging was applied throughout an integrated marketing campaign.
- Market segmentation was pretty new to Anheuser-Busch, but not to Phillip-Morris' cigarette brands. And it was clear that Bud had to tap into specific sub-segments of the beer-drinking consumer if it was to catch up. So the new message was applied to ethnic groups and to the entry-level drinker, by twisting the salute somewhat. Music and entertainment interests were paired with For You, Budweiser. And for the Latino segment, strong family ties and the contributions of family members received a fitting salute in Spanish, "Es Para Usted, Budweiser!" Knowing that the devil is in the details, messages were individually tailored to the three major Latino nationalities, Mexican in Texas and California, Puerto Rican in New York and Cuban in Florida.
- Segmented marketing programs were initiated and spending levels were increased to competitive levels, but not beyond. Miller actually continued to outspend Bud for some time.
Budweiser became the new, contemporary beer -- America's beer. Category leadership was recaptured and grew to an unheard-of 25% market share. Budweiser was re-crowned The King of Beers. Salute!