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Heineken Ireland – Navigating Ther New Social Landscape to Drive Growth

8 March 2024

Post pandemic Ireland heralded a new era in socialising with seismic shifts in habits and drinking occasions evolving under the ever-present mantle of the increased cost of living.

Irish consumers are now socialising less often out of their homes.   Attitudes to socialising alters from ‘binge’ to ‘considered’ drinking and expectations from a night out have shifted – 65% now expect more from a night out experience.

In this context of massive disruption to socialising, it has become more challenging to serve the consumer needs as their relationship with brands have become more complex and multi-dimensional. For Heineken Ireland, this has translated into a series of challenges.

  • The need to understand exactly how consumers’ drinking habits and occasions have evolved.
  • The need to show multi-dimensional consumer occasions in a simpler framework.
  • The need to quantify the opportunity potential to unlock opportunities for their brands’ growth.

The need for a radical new approach to portfolio management was evident, therefore, the Heineken IMI team contacted MCCP to design a research approach that would help them employ a more empathetic look at consumers’ interaction with Heineken brands and map drinking occasions to:

  • Have a better understanding of key consumer occasions, motivations & desires.
  • Create a framework where they can easily visualise the occasions, understand the consumer engagement with brands so that Heineken brand teams could plan more targeted, meaningful activations that are seeded in occasion and grow their brands.

MCCP and Heineken teams developed an occasion map unique for Irish alcohol consumers. The map was unique to Ireland because it was developed by analysing Irish consumers’ unique occasions and culture. This map and insights generated by the research have identified which occasions to prioritise to grow Heineken brands, how to win and serve consumers better and how to optimise Heineken’s product portfolio. This ground-breaking mapping exercise along with the subsequent insights enabled Heineken Ireland develop occasion led activation and brand development strategies.

“The occasionality project literally reframed how our brands look at and engage with consumers. Post-Covid, the occasions by which people consume our brands has changed radically. This new lens to view our changing occasionality landscape allows us to engage with consumers with the relevant consumption occasion in mind, driving higher conversion results, as well as allowing our brands to be more culturally relevant to consumers than ever before.

Marc Smith, Heineken Ireland, Head of Insights, Innovation & Media

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