ISC 497 “Sport of Branding”
February 13, 2013
The global green glass bottle with the red star crested on it is a brand symbol of Heineken that has different meanings in Europe and in the United State of America (U.S.). Brand image is crucial to adapting to different cultures to create images appealing to specific countries. This research examines how Heineken’s brand image is different in the global market, specifically focusing on the countries of London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and the U.S. It will break down how differently the popular alcoholic beverage is viewed throughout the world. The main topic of discussion is that Heineken is marketed as a “sporty” common man’s beer in Europe, while in the United States it is seen as a “classy” beer marketed to a very particular publics.
“Heineken’s Global Brand Image”
Traveling is verb that can take you many places. To some, it simple means driving down the road to a friends, others it is a trip across the states, but to me it’s about capturing the world firsthand. Just as people travel, brands travel too. Upon my voyage to London, England and Dublin, Ireland I was in amazed of how many brands traveled from continent to continent. The only thing about brands traveling is that some tend to get their luggage lost, which faces them with change due to the differences between cultures. Picture this. A green glass bottle with a shiny red star label crested on it. You are probably imagining the world famous Heineken beer. Heineken is one prime example of a brand’s luggage that got lost and faced change. From James Bond to Rugby Championships—Heineken is marketed as a “sporty” common man’s beer in Europe, while in the United States it is seen as a “classy” beer marketed to a very particular publics. Throughout Europe, the Heineken brand is what stood out to me. The star labeled lager was painted on the billboards of Picaidilly Circus and the store corners of Grafton Street, which made it obvious that Heineken is a global brand. According to the text in order to be a global brand it must be available across multiple geographies, be a brand with the same strategy and target markets, and brands that consumers can find under the same name in multiple countries with similar marketing activities. One difference that was very clear in every European advertisement was Heineken’s athletic brand image. There was no James Bond to promote the brand and no tuxedos worn. This Heineken was unlike Heineken U.S.A., it was all very new. According to the Mooij, this is an instance of power distance. Power Distance is a way to explain the handling of differences between groups existing in a system. For example, status symbols are less frequently used in small power distance cultures than in large power distance cultures were prestige is an important appeal. According to Mooij, Heineken uses the global-local paradigm. This paradox means that one can’t think globally, which every human thinks according to their own culture defined thinking pattern. Globally, Heineken is a popular specialty beer. However, its image is adjusted on a local level in Europe to appeal to people’s identities to make a connection with them and the beer. The reason behind this is because in most Western cultures, people tend to assess the identity of self and others based on personality traits, on other individual characteristics such as age and occupation, and on material symbols. The U.S. also uses this approach, but the difference is they are marketing their product to different target audiences and in different cultural markets. A main reason it’s crucial for Heineken to market their product a little differently in different cultures is because alcoholic beverages have a status value in masculine cultures and consumption is related to a social status in high power distance cultures, such as Europe and the U.S. (Mooji, 105). Heineken in Europe is viewed as athletic, common, and...