Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewer, has built on a wide array of consumer insights as it seeks to engage women in richer and more powerful ways.

Molly Hayes, the company’s global director/innovation insights, discussed a year-long research effort to understand how the female audience views and acts in the beer sector during a session at The Market Research Event (TMRE) 2018.

“This is about looking at a category and fundamentally saying, ‘We need to change the way we think’… to create an inclusive category,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Anheuser-Busch gets in touch with its female side with five tips for brand repositioning.)

Successfully doing so, Hayes reported, demands deep research and insight, as well as “understanding human beings and what truly drives them”.

To that end, the brewing giant is running 25 pilot projects in 15 different countries that seek to address issues that have kept women from embracing beer.

And, at the same time, AB InBev is examining how woman have been portrayed in advertising to the largely male (and sometimes intimidating) culture that often surrounds beer.

The project has, in turn, yielded a roadmap based on a variety of insights and busted various myths, such as the assumption that “women only like the sweeter stuff”, Hayes explained. “We armed ourselves with data to overcome this particular myth.”

Another myth was that “if we talk to women, men are going to stop listening; men will no longer drink beer and it’s going to sink our entire business”.

In allaying that concern, Hayes said: “We had to show, based on other categories, how you can have an inclusive approach where gender actually doesn’t have to be the thing you hang your hat on.”

A third myth, Hayes said, was that “women just need to learn more about beer ... Women don’t know enough about it, and therefore they can’t select it, and they can’t choose it”.

The answer to dispelling this myth, she noted, was research showing that marketing focused on educating consumers was ineffective with both men and women, as “neither one wanted to be educated on the alcohol category”.

Sourced from WARC