Peer Swinkels (36) took a moment in 2011 to reflect on the achievements and the challenges that lay ahead for the 330-year-old family brewery. Peer was responsible for the commercial activities of the company. Together with his fellow board members, he was quite aware that his predecessors had left behind a beer company that excelled in manufacturing but lacked the brand traction to really hit the big league. The challenge for the seventh generation was clearly to leverage its exceptional brewing skills to create an equally strong brand using the unique family values and culture nurtured since the company was created back in 1680. Bavaria stood for fierce independence and a high degree of entrepreneurship, mixing legacy with innovation. Despite its long history, Bavaria regarded itself as a fresh young company, as epitomized by its internal motto (“Let’s try”) and the branding pay-off of the Bavaria brand (“Done!”). In the last few years, Bavaria had made significant progress in (re-)positioning the brand. It had successfully revitalized it in its Dutch home market with a new brand design, and was now rolling it out on a global scale. It launched award-winning innovations such as alcohol-free white beers. Its innovative guerilla marketing activities at the World Soccer Championships in South Africa won applauses and recognition all over the world. Should the company roll out the same aggressive product and marketing tactics in its 120 markets? Would it be possible to pull off a new guerilla marketing campaign around the 2012 European Soccer Championships in Poland and Ukraine? What other channels should it consider to reinforce the brand and match its product innovation prowess? Learning objectives: Guerilla marketing, growth management, family business.
Bavaria and the Swinkels family: Brewing a sticky brand
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