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San Miguel taps the power of experience

News, 28 November 2016
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LONDON: San Miguel, the premium Spanish beer brand, plans to develop its experiential marketing activities and also intends social media, especially Instagram, to be central to its growth strategy, its senior brand manager has said.

Speaking to the Drum, Dharmesh Rana explained that San Miguel's heightened focus on social media and greater emphasis on experience are part of the brand's changing communications strategy in the UK.

He said that the Carlsberg-owned company is soon to join an elite club of beer brands that sell more than one million hectolitres, despite beer volumes in the UK remaining broadly flat in recent years, and that it wants to use that position of scale to explore social channels to reach out to consumers.

"The brand hasn't done loads of social in the past – it's dipped its toe into Twitter, a little bit in Facebook – but we haven't really done anything on Instagram, which is something that we are absolutely going to do more in," Rana said.

"Facebook we are interested in as well as it could be an amazing way to get an experience idea through and actually capture that moment and capture consumers enjoying that moment," he added.

Experiential marketing is important for San Miguel and the end of last week saw the culmination of its Rich List campaign, which involved 20 individuals from around the world who live life on their own terms.

Their experiences, whether those of Swedish marine photographer Göran Ehlmé or Cornish artist Tony Plant, have featured on social media channels, advertorials and were due to be published in a supplement of the Guardian newspaper.

The campaign aims to set San Miguel apart from its rivals by associating the brand with experiences and a growing trend among British consumers for trying beers from around the world.

"I see the role of brands like San Miguel… as embracing the fact that people are well travelled and they want to know about brands around the world and the stories behind them," Rana explained.

"We are a brand that has that story – we are a brand that comes from outside of the UK and has an amazing provenance so why shouldn't we tell people about that?"

And in a further sign of the company's ambitions, he added that San Miguel hopes to target women more effectively.

"If we make more premium choices around the spaces where we advertise, beer shouldn't be seen as exclusive to men," he told Marketing Week.

"If you look at the Spanish market, women drink beer just as much as men, it's more socially accepted," he added. "So now we're looking at how we can bring that authentic Spanish culture into the UK and make it more acceptable."

Data sourced from the Drum, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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