1. What is Mountain Man Brewing Company’s positioning relative to its competitors? Mountain Man Brewing Company (MMBC) is a 2nd tier domestic beer manufacturer based out of West Virginia. MMBC is positioned as a leader among local brewers in the East Central region, being one of the four regional breweries still operational in West Virginia. MMBC brews only one type of beer – the Mountain Man Lager, a dark bitter tasting beer. Target market for the product is middle aged men from the blue collared working class. Branding includes an image of coal miners on the bottle suggesting a strong taste and reinforcing target market segments to a niche. The beer sells mainly in off-premise locations. There is no variant of Mountain Man Lager available. Although MMBC is a local brewer it really competes against national brands such as Anheuser Busch and Coors. Priced at the same level as national brands, MMBC’s product is a legacy brew and enjoys high brand awareness in the regions it sells the beer. The brand also enjoys high brand loyalty in its target market segment against national brands. MMBC has been able to achieve this brand equity without significant spending on traditional advertising but rather pursuing on grass-roots advertising. The company however is losing market share and revenues in line with the lager market. Since MMBC does not manufacture a light variant of its lager product the company has not been able to maintain its profits over the past few years. All its competitors are invested in the light beer segment given this scenario. MMBC has also seen shifting market segments due to an aging initial target market segment. The company is also at the risk of losing distributor loyalty thanks to increasing pressure on distributor margins. Summing it up, MMBC is losing market share due to changes in market dynamics while still seeing significant brand loyalty and awareness in its home turf. 2. What factors have contributed to making MMBC a strong brand? Factors contributing to MMBC’s strong brand image are as follows a. Brand awareness and loyalty
Mountain Man lager has a high level of awareness among consumers in its target segments. Being positioned as a strong, bitter tasting beer it resonates with the values of hard working blue collar workers. The brand has seen high consumer loyalty over several years. b. Pin point target market
MMBC has been able to target the Mountain Man Lager brand towards specific market segments and been successful at it. Targeted towards middle aged, low to medium income working men, the brand has been able to deliver value to its consumers. c. Grass-roots marketing
MMBC has been able to achieve the brand awareness without spending less than 3% of its revenues on advertising. The sales team has been able to create grass root level awareness by positioning the beer as an off-premises brand and by word of mouth advertising as opposed to traditional advertising. This has enabled MMBC to reap greater brand commitment from its consumers. 3. What factors have contributed to the decline of MMBC?
Although successful, MMBC has seen a decline in sales in the recent years. The main factors contributing to this decline in sales are a. Shifting market segment
Mountain Man Lager’s market segment has started to age and new market segments are beginning to form, especially a younger market segment. This has allowed other brands to target the new younger population with “light” variants of beers which MMBC has not. Mountain Man Lager does not resonate with the younger population’s tastes as it is a strong, dark beer. b. Emerging product segmentation
The lager segment has been on the decline for a few years, mostly losing to the “light beer” segment. Given the rapid growth of the light segment of beer the lager market has been steadily losing market share. The light beer segment has grown 4% annually at the cost of the lager market’s share. MMBC has not been able to...