Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

Innovation in Alcohol Marketing

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

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

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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

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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.

Alcohol Sales: The Regulation Debate

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Indiana liquor store owners hope legislation allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays won’t pass?

By Andrea Donaldson

In many states individuals don’t think twice about picking up a 6-pack to enjoy while watching Sunday Night Football. But in Indiana, alcohol sales on Sunday is more like a pipe dream. Currently, Indiana is the last state to uphold prohibition laws that ban the sale of beer, liquor, and wine on Sundays. In an effort to promote tourism some exceptions do apply for restaurants and microbreweries.  But don’t count on walking in to a liquor store to grab extra vodka for your Bloody Mary brunch.

In a time when most individuals feel this law is outdated, it is surprisingly the liquor store owners who are fighting to keep it.

Liquor store owners feel the abolition of the state’s prohibition laws will eventually lead to the closing of many small town liquor stores. The owners argue that people know to stock up on Saturday.  Therefore, if they were open Sunday their sales would not see a significant increase.  It is their perception that sales are likely to become distributed over the entire weekend, instead of condensed on Saturday evenings and afternoons.  This leaves smaller stores in a bad position. They may not have the funds to pay for the extra employee hours and other operating costs to be open for another day in the week.

However, stores considering their doors remaining shut on Sundays will be presented with another problem.  In Indiana, unlike some states, it is legal to sell wine and spirits at grocery stores. Big corporate chains like Walmart and Kroger could wind up stealing business from liquor stores who cannot afford to stay open the extra day of the week.

The president of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, John Livengood, agrees.  In an article, Sunday Booze Restrictions Remain Stringent in Indiana, published in January, 2013, by USA Today. Livengood writes that new legislation allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays will likely lead to the closing of at least 250 liquor stores and over 1,000 lost jobs in the state of Indiana.

Hoosiers that are just plain tired of the inconvenience of not being able to buy alcohol when they please will continue to push for the discontinuation of the ban.  However, they are sure to face heavy opposition from those lobbying to keep the liquor store owners’ best interests in the law books.

5 Rules for Liquor Sales

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

How to impress brand liquor distributors and increase sales

By Andrea Donaldson

The liquor industry in America operates on a three-tier system of alcohol distribution. The producers create products. The distributors purchase products from producers and sell to retailers. And, retailers sell products to consumers. It is the job of liquor representatives to work between the distributor and the retailer. The representative explains to the retailers the profits that can be made by carrying a producer’s product. Below is a list of five important tips that can offer an increased profit for liquor representatives.

1. Network, network, and network: This is the most important aspect of being a liquor representative. It is all about who you know. Develop relationships with all of the retail establishments that you frequent. Join a city network group for business professionals. And, always carry a business card and be prepared to meet a potential client.

2. Have a daily objective: Create daily goals for yourself to gain outside prospects. More products moved in more places will result in more profits. By maintaining a continuous motivation to meet with potential prospects, you are sure to secure more sales. When setting objectives make sure you have an idea of how you can measure results during the week.

3. Know your market: Every retailer has their own specific audience. Knowing which products will resonate with a retailer’s audience will help you make the sale. Analyze sales information often and draw conclusions on how to better market your products.

4. Heighten industry knowledge: It is critical to know as much information as possible about the brands you represent. The more you know about a product, the better you can sell it. Also consider becoming a brand ambassador. A brand ambassador focuses specific attention on becoming an expert on one particular brand within a company’s portfolio. It is also important to become familiar with all legal regulations that can affect your sales or promotions.

5. Emphasize value over cost: As a liquor representative, you must be able to show the value of your brands to the retailer, not the cost. It is also advantageous to establish a sense of value in yourself, as their liquor representative. Maintaining a positive relationship with your retailers can keep them from dropping your representation if prices are ever raised.

Following these five tips will ensure an impressed brand distributor and an increase in company profits.

Shelf Space Monopolies

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The implications of how alcohol is presented on shelf space by retailers

By Andrea Donaldson

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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.


Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

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.

French National Brand Threatened?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

By Andrea Donaldson

France, one of the most iconic nations in the world, is characterized by themes of romance, cuisine, art, fashion, and of course wine. The consumption of French wine has been a reflection of status for individuals all over the world, and China is no exception.

In 2012, China became the world’s leading importer of France’s famous Bordeaux wine. However, Chinese billionaires are not only importing the product, but producing it as well. They have bought more than twenty Burgundy vineyards in just the past couple of years. This abrupt expansion is making some worry about the potential branding effects the Chinese will have on French wine.

Winemakers and distributors must address these potential brand image effects as China continues to expand within France’s wine industry.

1.) Diminished Perceived Value: Many Chinese entrepreneurs control all elements of branding, producing, and distributing wine cultivated within their vineyards; this allows for complete control over product pricing. But, the high demand for French wines in China has led to a saturated market. Many distributors are having a hard time moving their products, leading some to consider lower prices. Lowered prices could potentially diminish the perceived value of the wine.

2.) Diminished Quality: The biggest concern with quality remains the abundance of stolen and counterfeit French wines within the Chinese market. The only way to know whether these wines are counterfeit is to taste them, and unfortunately many Chinese middle class palates have yet to become distinguished.

3.) Diminished Brand Trust & Loyalty: Some of these vineyards have belonged to the same families for centuries. Winemaking is considered an art form among the French. But, China has their eyes on profit and are less likely to hold their products to French standards. Consumers who value the tradition of French winemaking may react negatively to the outsourcing of historical land.

So, does this mean that China is all bad news for France? No, not necessarily. The euro is down and many of these vineyards would be unable to operate without some kind of investment. The investments are also allowing for necessary updates and the ability to hire an educated staff to work the wineries. This in turn creates more local jobs and boosts the local economy.

Hopefully these benefits will outweigh the brand image concerns and French wine will continue to be upheld as the best wine in the world.

Hello. What’s in Your Google Wallet?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

What’s in Your Wallet? Is it Google Wallet?

Google WalletImagine not having to make another payment with coins, paper or plastic cards. Say good-bye to our past, and say hello to our future. Introducing the Google wallet, where everything that once was in your wallet, is now on your phone! So, leave your wallets and credit cards at home. All you need is a charged phone.

Right now, Google wallet is only available to stores that offer the electronic payment application. Within time every store will offer the Google wallet.  It’s available for the Sprint Nexus 4G and the Android phones. The iPhone is currently in the process to have access to it. Only two kinds of payments can be used, MasterCard and Google Prepaid Card.

More and more stores are taking this route for future purchases with customers. Presently, Google wallet is working with and encouraging companies to make it accessible for their customers.

Google wallet makes the check-out process faster and easier. Customers can also redeem coupons and use their rewards cards. American Eagle Outfitters offers the Google wallet. When a customer is ready to purchase his/her items, he/she simply takes out their phone, clicks on the app., and “swipes” or “taps” the phone over the register and the transaction is complete. After a transaction is complete, there is a confirmation notice that appears on their phone to make sure the purchasing process was successful.

It’s as easy as one, two, three.

Not only does Google wallet make the purchasing process faster and easier, it simplifies the purchasing process and keeps customers organized. Customers won’t have to dig through their purse or back pocket and search for their credit cards or coupon. Instead all they have to do is pull out their phone and “click.”

Many wallets are unorganized with coupons, credit cards, rewards card and personal identification cards. Google wallet can prevent disorganization by making it applicable for people to have their credit cards and coupons on their phone.

I’m sure the biggest concern people might have is the security factor.  “What would happen if my phone was stolen?” In this situation, you would contact your bank and wireless company. Basically, it would be the same procedure you would take, if your credit card or phone were lost or stolen. “How safe and secure is it?” Google wallet has a secure element function which is designed to protect the data that is stored.

“How does it protect my payments?” Again, all data is stored in a secure element, which is separate from the phone’s vital operating system and hardware. Google also requires a PIN number before an initial payment occurs.

As consumers, we need to educate ourselves on upcoming technology such as the Google wallet. It will help us understand and become accustom to a new advancement. Making payments through our phone, without the usage of credit cards, is our future as consumers in the marketplace. Leave your wallet and bring your phone!

by Lauren Becher