online marketing psychology

June 17, 2010

The story of exporting Brahma beer to the world

Brahma is big in Brazil, currently the second best selling beer. When the beer came under the international wings of Inbev, they knew they had a beer with some international potential. And so the beer became part of the international expansion of the Belgian-Brazilian brewer group.

In Brazil and neighboring countries the beer is considered a pilsen beer, a "normal" one. But when the exporting started in 2005, the Brahama brand was enhanced for its new markets and got a more exotic feeling.

Brand enhancements

I remember its introduction in Belgium. It was being positioned as an alternative to Corona, bringing a bit of Brasil to everyone who drank it. This more exotic feeling was achieved in a couple of ways.

The product
The taste was changed, to distinguish it from the normal beers. In Russia and Belgium Inbev brewed a Brahma with a different taste, adapted to local taste.

The logo
The Brahma logo in Brazil is pretty simple. In the international version, a couple of stars were added. They supposedly refer to the stars in the sky on the night of the declaration of the Republic of Brazil. Not sure if it is true but even if it is total bollocks, it is a nice extra association with Brazil.

The bottle
From a boring brown bottle in Brazil to a see-through, curved bottle with the brand printed on its side. The dynamic form of the bottle supposedly represents dancing, samba,..

These extra associations allow people to experience Brazil, right in their home. 

Back then, big money was spent on advertising and sponsorship of things like summer festivals.

Personally I think they created this image as exotic import beer because on many markets, especially in beer drinking countries in Europe, there is no room for regular pilsen imports.

Brahma even used the idea that the beer from Brazil was now being exported to the world in a commercial.

Brahma abroad, a success?

Today, 5 years later, it is interesting how this international expansion is going.

Brahma is present in 31 countries. In traditional markets like the United States and England, Brazil traditionally sells well. But also in different countries such as Ukraine, China, Turkey, Korea and New Zealand, the beer sells well.

The brand still seems the same, with references to the typical image of Brazil abroad. beaches, Rio de Janeiro and samba.

The targeting remains unchanged: "lifestyle drinkers" and beer drinkers who prefer premium, imported beers.

While it is easy to know which products have been introduced in which countries, market failures are less documented.
For example I am not sure if Brahma is still sold in Belgium, but if it is it must be in very small shops, as I didn't see it in any of the big retailers for a long time. A marketing manager form InBev said about Belgian consumers: "They still do not understand the concept of Brazil".

It is either that or InBev didn't really understand the Belgian consumer!

No comments:

Post a Comment