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Heineken refreshes multicultural take

News, 24 September 2015
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NEW YORK: Heineken, the brewing group, is tapping a "shift in mentality" as it tries to engage consumers more effectively than ever before with its multicultural marketing efforts.

Edwin Hincapie, Heineken USA's multicultural commercial marketing manager – and who oversees its shopper marketing efforts aimed at these shoppers – discussed this topic at MediaPost's recent Engage: Hispanics event.

"Within Heineken, multicultural is a shift in mentality," he said. (For more, including practical examples, read Warc's exclusive report: Heineken refreshes its approach to Hispanic marketing.)

"What we're trying to implement now is that multicultural really is at the beginning when we're talking about a brief or an agency, or we're talking about a program. We have to be part of the team.

"And it has to be rooted. It's not, 'Wait until it's done and then let's do the Spanish translation' or 'Hey, we have this program: how do you make it come to life?'"

This shift, he stated, resulted to an extent from the learning that brand Heineken's global positioning – which is based around "men of the world" – was not always making the desired impact among multicultural consumers.

"What we saw as the 'man of the world' – our overall global target – really didn't come to life in the US, especially for the multiculturals," said Hincapie.

And he drilled down into the example of how Hispanic shoppers reacted to this messaging as a means of illustrating his point.

"Where we were talking Barcelona, Amsterdam, Spain, Moscow, etc., I would say a 'man of the world' for the Hispanic market is Miami, Chicago, LA [and] Houston," he said.

"It's the guy who knows what's going on in those markets, it's not such a global mentality."

And this kind of granular understanding can help Heineken's portfolio of brands in connecting with their various target audiences.

"We can't force brands to be what they're not, and we really have to understand what those brands represent for the Hispanic market. So for us, it's really rooted from the beginning, and starting almost from scratch," Hincapie said.

"It means more than just 'Hispanic'. We can't just say, 'It's Hispanic marketing' ... We have to look at it from: what is the right segment for the right brand, at the right time, in the right channel.

"Otherwise, we're just going to throw stuff away."

Data sourced from Warc

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