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Welcome to 2013, Budweiser
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Last week on BTB (that’s the lingo for Beneath the Brand, folks) there was conversation around Maker’s Mark. The brand made an announcement about reducing the percentage of alcohol in its beverage and then quickly reversed that decision after hearing from customers and being an active participant in the conversation. It was almost as if the brand wanted its customers to make the choice and Maker’s Mark would simply create a solution that worked best for both sides. That’s a smart brand. Then there is another brand, a red-logo brand, whose name begins with “Bud” and ends with “Weiser,” that forget about the all-important perception. And when the conversation turns to watered-down beer, the brand gets defensive instead of joining the conversation.

Budweiser has played this game before; the brand should know the ins and outs of what to do, when to do it, and how to do it successfully. But sometimes being a mature brand doesn’t mean a brand understands today’s social media and today’s customer. Both are extremely advanced and extremely important to staying successful. Budweiser is in the middle of a no-good brand story. One where the brand is being accused of mislabeling the amount of alcohol that is in its beer — and watered-down beer = unhappy consumers. Budweiser is claiming that these allegations aren’t true, but that’s actually not even the point. The conversation has already been started and there is a current customer perception that Budweiser should be concerned about.

While many times it’s best for brands to state their case and move on, this time it seems Budweiser should be doing more talking. Create a social media conversation or answer customer concerns or maybe even create a funny taste test in the office. All to win back consumers who might be on the fence or who might think the brand doesn’t care. Because once a perception is out there, it takes a little hand-holding and a little more love to get consumers to believe the truth and move on. Budweiser is playing the game of 10 years ago when a simple statement was good enough. Well, not in this world, where technology rules and customers are savvier than ever.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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