Representing U.S. Organizations Abroad: Four Chief Public Relations Obstacles of Globalization
By Tiffany Engleman
Globalization is a prominent force in today’s world. There is a large number of United States-based global giants participating in this prosperous market worldwide at this very moment. Having a prominent company presence abroad can be extremely lucrative for businesses from the United States. Some major U.S. companies that are currently reaping the benefits of a global market are as follows: ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, Chevron, Ford Motor Company, and General Electric.
Though there are immense benefits to globalizing a company, there are also four chief public relations obstacles that an organization will face when introducing a brand to the rest of the world.
- Competition: There will always be competing organizations, regardless of the market. Maintaining the competitive advantage is a withstanding obstacle amongst the global market as well. Always stressing the benefits of a brand and ensuring that these benefits are relevant to consumers will remain key in jumping this hurdle.
- Sustainable Development: Sustainable development is a crucial initiative of any large corporation as they enter the global realm. Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the resources of the future is imperative of large corporations. Public image overseas will rest greatly on how businesses can hone their skills/products to preserve resources.
- Boycotts: It comes as no surprise that many countries do not agree with U.S. foreign policy. As a result, a number of overseas organizations and citizens will not wish to conduct business with U.S.-based companies. Creating a strategy to alter these negative perceptions and become an accepted company abroad is one of the largest barriers to break when taking a company overseas.
- Moral Corporate Citizenship (Local/National Levels): David Drobis, a former senior partner and chair of public relations firm Ketchum, stated, “Companies must take into consideration a broad group of stakeholders as they pursue their business goals globally. And by doing so, there are tangible and intangible business benefits. In this way, good corporate citizenship is not a cost of doing business, but rather a driver of business success. What’s good for the soul is also good for business.”
Handling any of these four obstacles would be very difficult without a sound public relations team representing an organization. These global obstacles are no small task for companies to face, and the manner in which they are addressed can either positively or negatively affect a corporation within the global market. Yet, if a company is positively accepted into the global market, the opportunities for increases in revenue and further expansion will be just two of the major benefits for an organization.
Source: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.
Heineken demonstrates unparalleled alcohol marketing strategies
By Andrea Donaldson
I don’t always praise beer companies for their alcohol marketing strategies. But when I do it’s Heineken.
Heineken, now the world’s third largest brewer, has spent the last decade innovating their way to the top of the beer industry. The company is now the world’s first and only truly global beer brand. Their extensive portfolio includes huge import brands Newcastle, Amstel, and Dos Equis. But, even more impressive is their brand availability in more than 178 countries. Although the company has made major business moves by acquiring brands and joint partnering with big names like Kingfisher, it is their alcohol marketing strategies that have had the most impact on customers. Their top three have increased Heineken revenues the world over.
1. Guerilla Marketing: Heineken has always been a company that thinks out of the box. In 2011, at a music festival in Poland, Heineken established a sponsored tent that allowed festival attendees to make their own QR codes. Attendees wrote a sentence about themselves and Heineken printed a sticker that other festival participants could scan with their smart phones to access the personalized statement written by the wearer. The campaign was an instant hit as it served as an ice breaker to meet other music lovers.
2. Packaging: Heineken’s traditional green bottle has become iconic. However, that doesn’t stop the company from constantly gussying up their bottles. Heineken has experimented with a square bottle design that was introduced to save space in coolers and refrigerators. They have also released bottles that have hidden designs that can only be seen under black light. But, my personal favorite was showcased this week at the Milan Design show. Heineken’s newest bottle innovation, “Ignite,” features LED lights that brighten up social drinking. Experience a flash of light through the bottle whenever you take a sip or cheer a friend. The LED lights can also be programmed by a DJ to light up to the beat of a song.
3. Social Media: Heineken has utilized social media to stay current and on the minds of their customers. The company constantly updates in order to drive conversation; the most popular social media conversation for the company being The Most Interesting Man in the World posts. Unless you have been living under a pile of rocks, you have seen the Dos Equis advertisement featuring “The Most Interesting Man in the World” living adventurously and enjoying a Dos Equis. The slogan, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis” has even sparked an internet meme that features individual’s customized slogans, like my very own featured above.
Although Heineken has been criticized for constantly switching alcohol marketing firms, it is clear they are doing something right. Heineken has experienced 14 percent growth and Dos Equis is up an astounding 33 percent in sales this past year.
So, what’s next for the unstoppable beer giant? Heineken international released intentions to take on the senior market. But, that’s an article for a different day.
Technologically advanced beer walls allow customers to be their own bartender
By Andrea Donaldson
Has anyone else experienced the exhausting battle of trying to get a drink in a crowded bar? Initially, the fight is with the crowd. You must deal with the jerks who will push, shoulder, and argue their way to the closest bar opening. And once you’ve finally secured the coveted empty bar location, round two begins. Getting the attention of the bartender. Of course we all have our tricks, whether it be holding out cash to show that we’re ready or desperately trying to force eye-contact. But, aren’t we all just tired of the hassle?!
Fortunately, the newest trend in beer dispensing has arrived. They call them beer walls. These state-of-the-art devices feature up to eight taps that patrons themselves use to pour their own beer. The dispensers have tablet screens that feature information on rotating taps, the ability to hold five full kegs, and computers that keep records of everything. Aside from the customer’s ability to save on tips, here are five reasons why these beer walls will prove to be a major success.
1. Record Keeping: Owners are provided with access to an online database that keeps up-to-date records of all beer wall transactions. Owners can use this information to track consumption habits and create promotions that are specifically tailored to their patrons.
2. Information: Ever wondered more about a beer on tap than the bartender could tell you? The beer wall features tablet screens that provide customers with extensive information on beer choices. The wall also prints the customer a receipt detailing all of the beers they tried. Customers can easily remember which beers they liked and continue to build a loyalty to particular brands.
3. Online features: In a world where everything is going viral, why shouldn’t your beer habits? The beer wall features a “buy a round” option online. This feature allows for patrons to purchase beer online for their friends at the bar. Another online feature alerts patrons when an exclusive brew has been added to the beer wall. Customers can select the “reserve my pint” feature and guarantee a pint of beer before the keg blows out.
4. Advertising: The beer wall opens up an entire new world for advertising beer. Companies will be able to utilize the interactive tablet screens to push new products. They will also be provided with demographic information about their customers. The wall sets up an account by checking a customer’s identification card. Breweries will be able to access information on exactly who is buying their product. The beer wall could potentially offer interactive surveys and other features that could be very beneficial to marketers.
5. No waiting: The beer wall features the ability to allow multiple people to pour beer at the same time. Also, if it is typical for customers to experience lengthy waits at your restaurant, a beer wall just might be the perfect distraction.
Although excitement and curiosity were my first responses to the new device, I received mixed concerns from customers at a local pub in Louisville, Ky. Some people questioned if this type of device would damage the service industry. Would customers tip less, because they are used to doing the work themselves at other bars? Others mentioned how uncomfortable they would be with a bars ability to access their personal information. They also showed concern over the price shock of finally receiving the bill at the end of the night and realizing each taste really added up.
It will be interesting to see how cities around the nation react to these new devices. I know I will be excited to play with the first one I come across.
Work Cited: Innovative Tap Solutions, (2013). Retrieved from www.pourmybeer.com
Public Relations and the Tylenol Case
By Tiffany Engleman
Over the past few decades, a variety of organizations have executed some of the most influential public relations campaigns known to the field. An abundance of knowledge can be acquired from the research and study of these iconic cases. The strategy behind these campaigns can power organizations through crises and prove how momentous the practice of public relations was then and still is today. The Johnson & Johnson Tylenol crisis is a prime example of exquisitely executed public relations strategy.
Tylenol Crisis: Johnson & Johnson had their hands full when seven people died from ingesting cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules in the Chicago area on September 29, 1982. The nation was in a panic and many believed that Tylenol would never recover from the devastation created by the tampering.
Nevertheless, the company began the recovery process by issuing a complete recall of Tylenol products. In addition to the recall, the design of the Tylenol bottles was reconstructed with tamperproof packaging. Last but certainly not least, Tylenol launched a media campaign with full-disclosure to ensure that the public was fully informed on the status of their products.
You might think there is no coming back from a crisis such as this, but Tylenol was capable of pushing through with the guidance of an all-star public relations team. An organized strategy was executed to regain the trust that Tylenol had previously held with consumers. The Tylenol case resonates with public relations professionals because it truly illustrates the importance of having a public relations team as a resource. Their work may at times be behind the scenes, but it will always be crucial to have a team in place backing your organization when all the chips are down.
Works Cited: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.
The implications of how alcohol is presented on shelf space by retailers
By Andrea Donaldson
During March Madness there is nothing quite like enjoying a cold brew and cheering on your favorite team in the playoffs. But, while you’re enjoying the dunks, steals, and runs, beer companies are involved in some fierce competition of their own: A competition for shelf space.
Shelf space is the total amount of area allocated for a specific product in a retail store. It is in the retailer’s best interest to put their highest grossing and selling products in the best locations. For beer, this means refrigerated aisles and up front placement. These locations have been reserved for beer giants like Budweiser, Coors, and Miller for decades.
However, Anheuser Busch known for Budweiser, and SABMiller, known for Coors and Miller, are facing new competition. The newest trend in the beer industry is craft brews. In 2012, The New Brewer, a journal published by the Brewers Association released the article, “A Banner Year for Craft,” by Paul Gatza. The article explores the impressive double digit volume growth for the craft beer industry. Distributors for these underdogs are hoping this spike in growth will translate to better placement in grocery and liquor stores. Retailers could stand to benefit from this transition as well; craft beer is more expensive and selling the product provides more revenue for the retailer.
However, Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller aren’t going to give up their shelf space without a fight. They have focused on brand extensions to occupy shelf space in order to prevent new companies from moving in. Brand extensions like Bud Light Platinum, which contains a higher alcohol content, and Black Crown are part of the strategy.
Retailers know that if they are not carrying the latest product extensions, their competition is. This is true in every industry. Ever wonder why popular shampoo companies have twenty-five plus scents? Retailers are forced to carry all popular extensions pushing the smaller companies toward the back or off the shelves completely.
Anheuser-Busch has also acquired brands like Rolling Rock, Land Shark Lager, and Blue Moon in order to fight the craft brew trend. Consumers cannot easily identify these brands as part of the Busch portfolio and often times consider them craft breweries themselves.
Craft breweries must continue to experience exponential growth to make a dent in overall beer sales and gain shelf space in major retail outlets. It is clear they will face heavy opposition from powerful companies as these huge brands try to maintain their prime real estate.
A look into emerging trends in Alcohol for the year 2013
By Andrea Donaldson
I have been fortunate enough to work in the food and beverage industry for the last seven years. In my time, I have seen numerous alcohol trends grow and fade. It is critical that alcohol representatives constantly stay on top of emerging trends to successfully move their products. They must also notice when trends are on the outs and which drinks remain timeless.
1. Local beer and wine: The United States is booming with new craft breweries and wineries. In fact, all forty-eight of the continental United States not only produce wine, but are expanding the norms of wine production. These new wineries are featuring fruits like blackberries and plums as well as producing wine from new hybrid grapes that can grow virtually anywhere.
Craft breweries are also expanding their portfolios to attract the local clientele. They offer extensive beer lists featuring everything from stouts to pilsners, which allow people to explore more than just the common lager.
2. Organic Ingredients: Going organic has been a trend for many products in recent years. Now, the trend has extended to alcohol. Organic ciders offer a gluten free option for those who were stuck in the spirit category, while others just like the comfort of knowing their drink is made with natural ingredients.
3. Whiskey: Whiskey is the chameleon of spirits. It can be sweet, spicy, strong, diluted, but always flavorful. Though the spirit was traditionally viewed as a drink for men, the trend is emerging because of its increased popularity among women. Meghan Leary, published her book Whiskey for Women, in 2009. In the book, Leary discusses the emerging trend of women turning to whiskey for its symbolism of success. She believes as women continue to be focused on career aspirations, they will drink spirits that symbolize just that.
1. Absinthe: Absinthe came on the scene in 2007 after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau lifted its ban on the spirit. The forbidden fruit of spirits initially attracted those who desired the romance and mystery of a drink associated with the French impressionist who would consume absinthe due to the popularized misconception that the spirit caused hallucinations. But, now that it is known that the spirit does not cause mind-altering effects, is completely legal, and is in an overly saturated market, the fad has faded.
2. The common lager: The emergence of craft breweries has hit beer giants hard. Consulting firm Technomic, released an article titled, Technomic Finds Beer a Challenged but Dynamic and Evolving Industry, on their website, Technomic.com, in September of 2012. The article examines research by Technomic, a leading guide for statistics and facts in the food and beverage industry, reflecting the 2.6 percent volume decline in domestic light beer in 2012. The study suggests that the American palate is changing to reflect more complicated flavors.
1. Scotch: Scotch has always had a loyal following among older men. However, as scotch continues to evolve with blends, smoky flavors, and the expansion of single-malts, young adults are beginning to appreciate the unique whiskey. Scotch will always remain a classic representation of status.
2. Red Wine: There is no doubt, red wine is a timeless classic. The wine symbolizes both romance and luxury, and is the perfect match for red meat. Doctors have even suggested that in moderation the beverage is good for your heart. In an article discussing recent Gallup poll findings by Lydia Sadd titled, Majority in U.S. Drink Alcohol, Averaging Four Drinks a Week, released in August, 2012, Lydia notes that of the sixty-four percent of women who drink moderately, fifty-two percent prefer wine over any other alcoholic beverage.
As palates evolve in the United States, alcohol representatives must stay on top of the consumption trends of alcohol consumers. Local beers and organic ingredients will continue to showcase increased sales throughout 2013; absinthe will be a part of history again, and red wine will continue to be regarded as a classic.
Ground-Breaking Red Bull Content Marketing Creates Brand Personality
By Andrea Donaldson
In 1997, Red Bull introduced the United States to the modern energy drink. The company has since established a ground-breaking content marketing strategy to create a brand personality targeting young adult audiences.
O’Brien, McCoy, Rhodes, Wagoner, and Wolfson released a study for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, titled Caffeinated Cocktails: Energy Drink Consumption, High-Risk Drinking, and Alcohol-related Consequences among College Students, in March 2008.
The article examined how Red Bull utilizes “student brand managers” and “mobile energy teams” in order to target college students. These teams gather information about specific college cultures in the area as well as distribute free samples to college-aged individuals. The teams also specifically target young adults at events based around extreme sports, in an effort to convey a message of invincibility. These integrated marketing strategies have enabled Red Bull’s brand awareness to skyrocket as though it had wings itself.
Energy drink competitor, Monster, has been tackling the drink market with an entirely different strategy. The company has been engaged in brand extensions since their launch in 2002. According to their website, Monster now boasts up to thirty unique flavor extensions.
The popularity of these options has pressured Red Bull to establish brand extensions of their own. In March of 2013, Red Bull launched three new extensions in the United States. The extensions are labeled the red, blue, and silver editions. Each edition has a unique flavor associated with the beverage. However, the flavors curiously relate to those of traditional bar mixers.
Red Bull’s new red edition is the same Red Bull with essentially the same ingredients. The only difference is the addition of cranberry flavoring. Cranberry juice is a critical mixer to any bartender, due to the popularity of vodka and cranberry drinks.
Red Bull has also released a silver edition. This edition features a lime taste so strong, that puckering is inevitable. Considering lime juice has also been a common staple in bar mixers, it is featured in popular drinks like mojitos, margaritas, and gimlets; the release of these new editions create endless opportunities for new mixed-drink creations.
Although, the mixture of Red Bull and alcohol has been heavily criticized by the media, internet webpages feature over 65 different cocktail recipes for the popular drink. The use of Red Bull as a mixer for alcohol has been growing in popularity for the last several years. In the same article previously cited, Caffeinated Cocktails: Energy Drink Consumption, High-Risk Drinking, and Alcohol-related Consequences among College students, researchers published statistics suggesting that a quarter of all college students in America engage in mixing alcohol with energy drinks.
Mixed Messages: Alcohol and Energy Drinks, published by the organization Alcohol Concern, in June 2011, cites Red Bull’s own website noting they encourage young adults to mix alcohol and Red Bull. The website says, “Having maximum fun at a long lasting club session or a house party requires robust physical endurance. That’s why a whole generation swears by the boost of Red Bull to fly through the night.”
It is clear Red Bull has utilized their marketing strategies to encourage energy drinks and alcohol consumption. Red Bull’s new brand extensions further suggest that the company is willing to risk the ethical implications associated with marketing their product with alcohol. As concerns are raised about the potential health hazards of these products on young adults, it will be interesting to track how Red Bull addresses that media predicament.