Marketing Communication

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The objective of this report is to critically discuss the influences of three consumer behavior aspects on Heineken’s marketing activities. Although there are more than three aspects can effect Heineken’s marketing activities, this report mainly focuses on three comparably important and relative parts- Attitude, Reference Groups and Consumer Identity to make analysis. 1. 1 Background of Heineken 1. 1. 1 Heineken brief The story of Heineken started in 1864 when Gerard Adriaan Heineken purchased the brewery in Amsterdam. Over 145 years, four generations of Heineken family strengthen its brand to all over the world.

Nowadays, Heineken is one of the leading brands of beer market in the globe. Heineken aims to be a leading beer brewer every single market and strives to maintain its best brand portfolio. Its’ headquarter is in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and its markets are all around the world in Europe, the America, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. According to the annual report issued in 2008 by Heineken Company, it employed about 56,208 people worldwide to work for it. Also, its’ revenue reach (EUR Mn) 14,319 in the end of December, 2008.

Heineken has the widest presence of all international brewers because of the global network of distributors and 115 breweries in among 65 countries. Thus, its’ brand is well established and profitable. Although the popularity of Heineken beers is growing gradually in emerging beer markets such as China, Russia and Latin America, it already reaches the mature markets of beer industry averagely. Heineken is regarded as a company that embraces innovative factor in its strategies from production to marketing communication. Besides, it efforts to attend customers’ changing needs and follows the trend of generation.

Moreover, Heineken put a lot of emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR) as well. It persists to expand initiatives to against alcohol abuse and misuse and continues to reach the standard of environment caring. For the future mission, Heineken will continually seek to reinforce its brands through innovations in production, marketing and packaging, and interact with consumers to let them be involved in it brand identity. (Heineken, 2005) 1. 1. 2 Heineken in Taiwan market Due to the policy of government, Taiwan began to open it beer market to Europe and American brand in 1987.

Before this year, there was only Taiwan Beer occupied the whole Taiwan beer market. When marketing departments for imported brands such as Heineken, they knew that it’s difficult to persuade consumers to shift brand if they already stick to drinking Taiwan Beer. They found it is better to segment and find new markets to sell products. Therefore, Heineken decided to target young adults and produced advertisements with young people’s party and scenes, and it succeeds. Even if Heineken set its Taiwanese branch up in 2002, it is now the most popular import brand in Taiwan’s beer market. (Huang, 2005)

1. 3 Heineken’s marketing strategy Persistently, Heineken gives the consumers an iconic brand image of heritage, premium, innovation and quality (Heineken, 2005). However, due to those beers are kinds of low-involvement products that most of the consumers, especially the young generations whom are Heineken’s target audience, are not loyal to any brand in the market. Thus, marketing strategy becomes crucial on promoting the brand. Heineken realizes the importance of it so creates many brilliant advertisements, campaigns and events to increase brand awareness, brand reference and then brand loyalty.

2. Heineken’s marketing campaign- Walk in Fridge In Taiwan market, Heineken Company designs a series of marketing activities for consumers in order to attract them experience and purchase. According to the survey conducted by Insightxplorer (2006), Heineken is the second favorite brand in Taiwan beer market, and its’ humorous advertisements are the main reason that enable its brand become most popular and loved by consumers. Therefore, if we have to research the influence Heineken make for the consumers, it is wise to research its advertisement’s impact on consumers.

This report is going to focus on the latest campaign of Heineken- Walk in Fridge. Its TV commercial and two relative web activities are going to be explored and how do they make connection with consumers’ behaviors. 3. Attitude form and change 3. 1 Integrate marketing campaign ? TV commercial- Walk in Fridge Picture 1: Heineken TV Ad (Source from Heineken website) Storyboard: In a similar scene as American TV show ‘Sex and the City’, a couple has their own house and invites their friends to the home party. The host and hostess show their own belonging respectively.

When women screaming at hostess’s well-stocked closet, men also exclaim with delight that host has a freezer of Heineken beers. 3. 2 The humorous appeal in Heineken’s advertisements The saying ‘One picture is worth than ten thousand words. ‘ applied in this advertisement very well. In this TV commercial, it is showed that women’s and men’s original desired and illustrates the same reflection between them. Women are crazy about the clothes, shoes and so on. On the contrary, men are addicted to the Heineken beers.

According to one study, it is found that recognition scores for humorous alcohol advertisements were better than average (Solomon, et al, 2006). By using humorous appeals, this ad made deep impression in consumer’s mind. 3. 3 Attitude form and change The study of attitude is connected with the study of communication and also the evaluation of the effectiveness on marketing activities. Because attitude plays such an important role in shaping consumer’s behavior, many marketing efforts are formed or changed attitude directly by means of advertising and some other product promotion ways (Foxall, 1998).

Heineken realizes the importance of attitude form and change for the beers, that’s the reason why it put a lot amount of budgets on advertising annually. 3. 4 Elaboration likelihood model (ELM) of persuasion Due to the fact that beer is a kind of low-involvement product, when using elaboration likelihood model (ELM), peripheral route is used to describe its product. Diagram 1: The Elaboration likelihood model (ELM) of persuasion (Mowen, 1987) Diagram 1 shows the process how TV commercial- Walk in Fridge persuades consumers to change belief, behaviour and attitude toward the Heineken.

To persuade consumer, Heineken conveys the brand image and personality through humorous appeal to attract consumer’s attention. Instead of using product knowledge to persuade consumers, Heineken create the happiness atmosphere of having Heineken and induce consumers to experience. In the ad, both visual and verbal components influence the attitude of advertisements and belief of products. (See Diagram 2) Consumers pay attention to the interesting Heineken advertisement and begin to have favorable impression of it. Even though the consumers haven’t drunk the beers before, they are more willing to give it a try.

Finally, after consumers taste the Heineken beers, their attitude change. Heineken expects consumers to like its brand and beers through peripheral cues that surround the actual message. (Solomon, et al, 2006) Diagram 2: Effect of visual and verbal components of advertisements on brand attitude (Mitchell, 1986) 4. Reference groups 4. 1 Integrate marketing campaign ? Web activities 1 – Screaming at Heineken Picture 2: The layout of how to process the activity (Source from Heineken website: Walk-In-Fridge) Picture 3: The layout of screaming (Source from Heineken website: Walk-In-Fridge) 4. 1. 1 The goal of this web activity

Though this marketing activity, Heineken extends the TV commercial’s scene to the web platform. On one hand, it reminds consumers the humorous brand image in mind. On the other hand, consumers can practical experience the crazy screaming with friends and enjoy the enthusiasm toward Heineken as well. Moreover, it is friendlier to communicate with consumers through reference group channel. 4. 2 Reference groups Antonides (1998 p. 333) states that ‘A reference group is a group of people that an individual refers to for comparison when making judgements about his or her own circumstances, attitude and behavior’.

In addition, according to Solomon (2006), there are three ways that reference groups influence consumers. Heineken belongs to ‘value-expressive influence’ form (See Table 1). It builds identical brand personality to influence consumers by expressing the sense of value. Consumers will expect to be one of the members in the Heineken’s social group. The individual feels that the purchase or use of Heineken will enhance the image others have of him or her. The individual feels that those who purchase or use Heineken brand possess the characteristics that he or she would like to have.

The individual feels that the people who purchase Heineken are admired or respected by others. Table 1: Value-expressive influence form of reference group (Park, 1997) 4. 2. 1 Virtual communities With the progressing of Internet, consumers have many chances to get information though different channels. A virtual community is a group of people who share their enthusiasm and knowledge in specific consumption activities (Solomon, et al, 2006). Heineken’s consumers, no matter the current ones or potential ones, have accessed to the Heineken websites to share opinions and ideas even they don’t know each others at all.

These groups can grow up and embrace their interests on Heineken together. 4. 2. 2 Brand communities and tribes Brand communities and tribes are a collection of consumers they share social relationships based on usage or interest in one product (Solomon, et al 2006). They have certain loyalty and familiarity for this specific brand. Researchers find that consumers who join these relative brand events have positive feeling about the products and as a result enhance the loyalty of brand (McAlexander, 2002).

Hence, to aggregate these consumers and make them emotional involved in company’s activities, Heineken does many efforts on brand interaction management through events. 4. 3 Viral marketing Viral marketing is a strategy of getting consumers to promote a product on behalf of the company that creates it (Solomon, et al 2006). It is a sort of communicating method which is like virus, can express rapidly without any awareness. This strategy is especially suitable through web. Consumers can forward the news and leave the messages for friends.

Usually, information heard from others that you know intimately or believe in is more easily convince consumers. Hence, Heineken puts many efforts on operating viral marketing to promote its brand and beers. 4. 4 The application of reference groups on Heineken Picture 4: The description of ‘share’ button (Source from Heineken website: Walk-In-Fridge) Nowadays, there are some innovative communication platforms though Internet. Heineken follows the trend setting an attractive message which consumers can copy and paste on web share spaces like Facebook, Plurk and Twitter for their friends or just for themselves.

The power of viral marketing is that to use reference groups’ trait on promoting brand. The advantage of viral marketing is it will target the right audience to visit their website and join the activities because of those who indeed come to take a look are certain level interested in this event. 5. Consumer self identity 5. 1 Integrate marketing campaign ? Web activities 2- Crime Scene event Picture 5: The layout of event description (Source from Heineken website: Eslite) One night in Taipei city, Heineken’s displaying window was broken and 11 bottles of Heineken beers were stolen by a stranger.

In order to find out the suspect, Heineken Company made a statement that as long as the suspect stand out and confess, all of the rest of Heineken beers in the displaying window will be suspect’s. Picture 6: The layout of profile (Source from Heineken website: Eslite) Few weeks after, Heineken’s website is crowded with suspects profiles. People put profiles with different reasons. While some wanted to get free Heineken beers so to put their own profile on it, some put their suspect friends’ profiles on to have fun. Picture 7: The series reports of event (Source from Heineken website: Eslite)

Heineken’s official website regularly posted the latest news to let those consumers know the situation of process. At the end, Heineken announced the criminal already caught by the police and the criminal committed he won’t do again to close this case. 5. 1. 1 The goal of this web activity Through this marketing activity, Heineken tried to aroused attention and curiosity of those consumers who care a lot about Heineken’s brand reputation or just want to have fun in this activity. Heineken operated this event so seriously that consumers and public media couldn’t tell apart whether it really happened or just a gimmick campaign.

However, it indeed helped Heineken promote it brand to the public. 5. 2 Personality of young generation According to a survey conduct by Isurvey (2009), young generations in Taiwan can be categorized to four types. In general, 65% of the young generations have their own styles. They want to show their personalities but don’t want to be restricted by environments. Sometimes, they don’t really care about the social issues; instead, they regard hedonism as what they should pursue. 5. 3 Consumer Identity for Heineken and applications

Heineken express its brand character “cold, fresh, quality” through identical icon of the green bottle, the red star and the smiling ‘e’. It strives to build the link between its brand and consumer self identity, in order to make consumers feel that themselves are also involved in Heineken’s brand personality. According to a marketing research on beers, consumers who drink Heineken are regarding themselves as self-assured, exceptional and self-esteem. They have the characteristic of energetic, dynamic and enjoy being both the center of attention and in the middle of the action.

(Bulik, 2009) When referring to self-concept, it is the beliefs a person holds about his or her attributes, and how he or she evaluates these qualities. (Solomon, et al, 2006) Heineken designed Crime Scene event for consumers to show their desires for Heineken. By loading personal pictures up on the websites, consumers can stand out and display themselves. Also, they can share experience and make discussion by interacting with different people. In other words, this activity can be another way to make friends and practice hedonism.

4 Heineken’s another purpose in this event By the trend of our society development, corporate social responsibility (CSR), which means actions without purely financial implications and demanded or expected of an organization by the society at issues of concerning ecological and social ones (Cornelissen, 2008), becomes much more important for companies to consider in their managements. Heineken in this case, carried out this activity in terms of event manipulation, in order to encourage young generation to watch out the social issue and care about our society.

At the same time, Heineken also builds the positive brand image for consumers to shape in mind. 6. Recommendation How to promote the alcohol products properly have always been a controversial issue. Heineken products that targets on young generations especially need to consider this problem seriously. However, since Heineken is a company selling alcohol, it is inevitable to convince consumers that drinking is a pleasant behavior and to encourage them to try and purchase. Therefore, there are two directions that Heineken can proceed and endeavor.

First of all, Heineken can do educate consumers the right drinking behavior (e. g. : Don’t drink and drive. ) and to remind them the appropriate age for drinking (e. g. : Don’t drink alcohol if your age below eighteen. ). In this condition, consumers will probably gain brand reference toward Heineken. Second, Heineken can put more efforts on corporate social responsibilities (CSR) in Taiwan market. Although Heineken already executes CSR for a period of time these recent years, there are few CSR events held in Taiwan market.

Also, compared with other countries’ Heineken websites, for examples, UK Heineken put a catalog of responsibilities describing some information it does for our society and consumers. It is recommended that Taiwan Heineken website can be put these kinds of information on as well. It is not only good for gaining brand preference for brand itself but also valuable to let consumers know what Heineken did for our society. Picture 8: The layout and contents of ‘Responsibilities’ (Source from Heineken UK website) 7. Conclusion This report has examined how important are the influences of consumer behaviors on Heineken’s marketing activities.

By exploring three aspects of consumer behavior- Attitude, Reference Groups and Consumer Identity, it is known that the relative connection between a good marketing activity and the influence of consumer behavior can make a brand stronger and loved by consumers. Overall, Heineken makes many successful promotion campaigns in Taiwan market. As Harte (1996) states, Heineken is a brand that marketers intend consumers to be branded for life. Thus, as long as Heineken keeps working hard on consumers’ reflections and maintains the innovation factors of brand image, it can be predicted that Heineken will have a good prospects in the nearly future.


ANTONIDES, G. , and W. F. van RAAIJ. 1998. Consumer Behavior- A European Perspective. West Sussex: John Wiley ; Sons Ltd. BULIK, B. 2009. What your taste in brew says about you. Advertising Age, 2 November, Vol. 80 Issue 37, p12-12 CORNELISSEN, J. 2008. Corporate Communication: A guide to theory and practice. London: Saga Publications. FOXALL, G. R. , R. E. GOLDSMITH, and S. BROWN. 1998. Consumer Psychology for Marketing 2nd edition. London: International Thomson Business Press

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