National Beer Brand Turns
Around Decade Long Decline

Business Challenge

A premium national beer brand had been suffering a decade long decline in beer sales market share and wanted to understand how to turn around their brand to attract and serve their consumers better.

They needed to dive into their consumers’ emotions to learn:

   1. What emotional associations have beer consumers formed towards the brand and how can this be improved?

   2. What are the beer brand’s biggest drivers and barriers to growth?

   3. What is the brand’s “Emotional Right Space” and how can we bring that to life in a consistent manner to turn the brand around?

Hotspex used its proprietary globally validated human motivation framework to uncover the mental associations that were acting as barriers to growth for the beer brand.

Using this same perceptual map, marketers can identify different options that can remedy negative associations.

This proprietary process involved:

• Identifying negative associations, such as the brand being out of date, boring, and stale.

• Uncovering associations on the opposite end of the framework that could mitigate these negative associations including energized, alive, and exciting.

• Calculating and validating a new territory where the beer brand could win by building ‘balancing equity’ to overcome the negative emotions associated with the brand. For example, emotional reactions like “boring” and “outdated” could be mitigated by building mental structures and associations of the brand being “modern” and “creative”.

• Conducting workshops to uncover which distinctive assets and brand equities could reinforce this new brand position.

Overall, the brand renovation had significant impact on increasing the positive target associations and overcoming the negative associations for the beer brand.

• Hotspex used its econometric model to help the client determine the top three target associations they needed to build and reinforce across all consumer touch points: alive, optimistic and active.

• These findings were used to evolve packaging and creative to reflect the consumers aspirations of the brand.

• A total emotional shift was achieved in the minds of consumers as the brand associations and memory triggers became more positive acquired qualities like: loyal, passionate, popular, inspiring, wonderful, attractive, cool, etc.

• Hotspex’s emotional discovery model and insights gave the beer brand its first market share growth in about a decade.

• Hotspex’s tracking revealed that those feeling “bored” by the beer brand fell from 33% to 4% after seeing the newly developed ad campaign that capitalized on the brand’s distinctive emotional appeal in target markets.

• On the positive side of the spectrum, 52% of the consumers were “fascinated”, and 49% were “amazed” by the brand’s turnaround.

• As a result, the rejuvenated beer brand grew its national market share nearly 1 percentage point, gaining 88 million.

Hotspex’s insights team worked along with a brand strategy firm to conduct 700,000 interviews across North America over six months to create emotional “heat maps,” which show in vivid colour how consumers feel about brands, charting 96 different emotions.

As beer-buying is more an emotional consumer decision than rational, tapping into the exact range of brand emotions was critical in generating true consumer insights that allowed Hotspex to help  launch an award winning campaign and packaging that pushed all the right buttons in terms of consumer excitement.

“What sets Hotspex apart, and has yielded great insights, is their emotional discovery tools. They give us a competitive edge and I can’t imagine not working with these tools moving forward. They really help us tune in to the depths of what drives consumer behaviour.”
Director of Marketing, National Beer Brand