LEUVEN: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewer, believes effectively combining sponsorship and a global brand positioning will be vital to driving the growth of Budweiser, its leading beer.

Talking to Forbes, Chris Burggraeve, chief marketing officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev, reported that the views of consumers had played a key role in helping formulate its new strategy regarding Budweiser.

"We took our time to do solid research and get insights into what Budweiser stands for in the markets where it already existed ... and then also looked at what we want it to stand for," he said.

"At the end of that research, very clearly what we saw was that Budweiser stands for the 'American dream in a bottle' ... It is an American brand, with roots in the United States but anchored in values that travel."

In a bid to enhance Budweiser's status around the world, AB InBev recently renewed the brand's sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup, with which it has been linked since 1986.

"Essentially, you bring together ... the world's number one global beer brand with the top event in the world's largest sport, which is soccer," Burggraeve said.

"It helps us to further build that 'American dream in a bottle' positioning that we want Budweiser to stand for, and do it on an unprecedented global scale."

According to Burggraeve, coverage of the entire World Cup, including qualifying matches, delivers the equivalent of a 25bn strong audience when the viewers for all games are combined.

In the final tournament, featuring 64 teams, some 700m people tune in, five times the number of people watching the Super Bowl in the US.

"If you overlay that with the increasing possibilities of digital connections worldwide, it gives you a sense of the magnitude brand Budweiser can connect with," Burggraeve said.

To coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the firm created an internet reality series, Bud House, starring 32 football fans, and also allowed consumers to vote for the "man of the match" in each game.

This series was presented on its Bud United online entertainment site. During the World Cup, the brand attracted 1m extra social media fans and secured 4bn impressions on BudUnited.com.

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff