Since its first appearance in Singapore nearly 20 years ago, Heineken has been synonymous with its premium international beer tag. Image-based and credentials advertising reinforced this positioning. Sponsorships of international golf and tennis furthered its up-market image and its appeal to discerning consumers.
But how relevant were these activities to tomorrow’s consumers? Were such high-end communications in some way alienating young adult consumers?
The challenge set to the agency was to re-position Heineken to be more approachable, accessible and appealing to young adult consumers while still maintaining Heineken’s strong premium position.
This meant that Heineken beer in Singapore needed to be more visible, increase its distribution, be more innovative and make its communication more approachable. Yet in doing so, Heineken still needed to be conscious of not going too mass that it would lose its premium appeal.
The brief to the agency was to develop a total integrated communication strategy using Music as a platform that would provide benefits to both consumers and trade.
The strategy developed was required to meet two umbrella objectives:
• Reinforce the Heineken brand essence – Passion for beer. Thirst for new experiences.
• Build upon the Heineken brand proposition – Heineken stimulates more memorable beer experiences.
Specifically, the agency was tasked with meeting the following objectives through the music platform:
• Dial up engagement and thirst for new experiences
• Increase brand visibility, in particular at HORECA
• Build stronger partnerships with trade
• Widen the appeal of the brand
• Make Heineken aspirational to reference consumers
The Heineken Music Platform is based on four programs working synergistically to bring to life the platform and create through-the-line ownership of music in Singapore. These four programs are:
• Monthly groove parties
• Concerts and events
• Trade program
• Exclusive quarterly parties
Monthly Groove Parties
Held every last Thursday of the month, Smooth Grooves parties were held at outlets classified “Designer Pub” and “Groove Bars” under the APBS outlet segmentation model. Entertainment is provided by live international bands, supported by DJ sets, offering mid-tempo, groovy music.
Strong on-site branding with life-sized banners, tent cards, coasters and framed posters provided tasteful visibility for the brand. Consumer incentives included deals on Heineken buckets or gifts with purchase. Heineken Ambassadors providing instant photos to party-goers added to the intimacy and accessibility of the experience.
The event activities and branding provided the frequent, memorable experiences desired by consumers and the profitable experience desired by the trade. In combination, monthly groove parties provided the perfect ground-level basis on which to build Heineken’s total music platform.
Concerts and Events
Demonstrating Heineken’s wide appeal as a big international player, Heineken took leadership in presenting such concerts and events as Incognito, WOMAD and the Singapore International Jazz Festival.
An integrated approach was taken to promoting and driving association to the events, utilizing ATL (TV, Print, Press and Radio, Outdoor), BTL randing both on-site and pre-publicity, trade leveraging and promotions to involve outlets and public relations for additional leverage.
The Heineken Music Platform provided an invaluable vehicle to build partnerships with the trade by driving traffic, driving volumes and driving customer loyalty to those outlets.
For Heineken, this allowed points of leverage for better trade terms and stronger branding. It provided a compelling reason for outlets to remain loyal to Heineken and a carrot to convert competitive outlets.
Exclusive Quarterly Parties
With monthly groove parties and concerts and events more mainstream, exclusive quarterly parties were a tool to get in touch with and be seen as relevant to more cutting-edge opinion leaders. Communicated through radio advertising, email newsletters to Singapore’s opinion leaders, public relations through influential, niche media ensured the right crowd.
With no overt branding and cutting edge creative hitting the right consumer touch points, Heineken Green Room Sessions created a “viral buzz” not previously seen in Singapore. The right music, the right venue, the right exposure, the right people, the right database created the right word of mouth.
“We just wanted to give our consumers that little extra with all that we do, remain true to our brand proposition and certainly making Heineken the most preferred beer of choice among our young adult consumers,” says Christopher Chan, Brand Manager (Heineken) at Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore. “If we are to command a premium price, we have to make Heineken the most valuable beer brand in the world, something worth paying more for. Certainly, what we do with the Heineken Music Platform puts us on the right track.”