Creating unique and memorable consumer experiences is part of the DNA of the Anheuser-Busch brand, Julia Mize, vp-experiential marketing at Anheuser-Busch, told attendees during her opening keynote speech on Day Two of the Event Marketing Summit, May 7 to 9 in Salt Lake City.
“We know at Anheuser-Busch that drinking a beer is never just about the brand or the name on the label. It is a very, very social interaction. Who you are with, where you are, and what you are doing all contribute to the taste of that beer,” Mize says. “All these factors play a role in the feeling the consumer attaches to our brand, and the same can be said about our approach to experiential marketing. That is why we are constantly inventing and refreshing old campaigns, to make sure every interaction we have with the beer drinkers is extremely impactful.”
Anheuser-Busch enjoys a rich legacy of 180 years in the beer brewing business. Still, she says, “No matter how strong your foundation is or how unique your story is, every company and every marketer must stay motivated to find new and compelling ways to connect with the consumer and to stay in step with their ever evolving taste perceptions, and in our case, drink preferences.”
Mize outlined five tenets to creating powerful consumer connections:
1. Be authentic. Calling it the most important of the five tenets she discussed, Mize says authenticity is an extremely hot topic for marketers today. Case in point: Michelob Ultra, with 95 calories per bottle and its appeal to health-conscious lifestyle customers is authentic when it comes to sponsoring running marathons and 5K and 10K racing events.
2. Humanize your product, which Anheuser-Busch accomplishes in part through its brew masters who connect with consumers and retailers via tasting programs held in the beer garden outside its corporate office and on mobile tours across the country.
3. Make a splash through memorable experiences, such as Bud Light’s Ex Award-winning 50|50|1 program, which brought live music to fans in 50 states on a single day.
4. Find ways to scale and be flexible, as Bud Light did by “scaling up” to create the Bud Light Hotel, which hit New York City with a cruise ship and generated nearly two billion earned media impressions.
5. Have a variety of connection points. Budweiser’s Super Bowl XLVIII “Puppy Love” ad forged an emotional connection with consumers during the game, but it began the connection by parading its Clydesdales through New York City’s Times Square before the game and continued it afterwards by taking them to festivals around the country.