KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian consumers are increasingly open to new experiences as they become more affluent and that makes brand loyalty harder to achieve, a leading marketer has said.

As a consequence, experiential marketing and innovation have taken on a new significance, according to Bruce Dallas, marketing director for Guinness Anchor Berhad, the brewer.

He explained to Campaign Asia-Pacific that consumer profiles were changing, as people became wealthier and grew up with more choices.

"They are demanding, digitally-savvy and have been exposed to different things," he said. "They are willing to try new things and it is difficult to hold them in a brand."

But Dallas argued that even as consumers switched brands, marketers could develop strategies that persuaded consumers to choose another brand in the same company's portfolio. And with the range of Guinness Anchor beer brands including Tiger, Guinness, Heineken, Anchor, Kilkenny, Strongbow, Paulaner, Anglia and Malta, he has no shortage of options in that regard.

He indicated that product innovation and a focus on the consumer experience would be major planks in the brewer's strategy to build engagement.

"In addition to increasing our investment in marketing, we will be putting more emphasis on maximising consumer experience at the point of purchase," said Dallas, which could mean something as simple as ensuring the beer is served at the right temperature.

"The aim is to provide consumers with an exceptional experience and deeper engagement with our brands," he concluded.

The role of experiential marketing is arguably greater in a country that imposes restrictions on advertising alcohol in the mass media. Guinness Anchor's brands organise various events, such as Guinness Arthur's Day and Tiger Street Football, while Heineken has identified itself with music.

Rival brand Carlsberg has positioned itself as the beer of choice for parties, whether that is the Chinese New Year or its own exclusive creation, as a way of engaging a young target audience.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff