There’s always nothing better than kicking back with a cold one. When it comes to beers, Carlsberg is always a brand that is top of mind.
So, imagine our surprise when Marketing Magazine Malaysia recently had the privilege to catch up with Caroline Moreau, Marketing Director of Carlsberg Malaysia.
Just to recap, Caroline Moreau is in charge of brand and channel marketing and market research. She has been with the Carlsberg Group since 2007, where her last role was as Commercial Director of Global Craft and Specialty Beer.
With more than 19 years of international experience in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, it was a great opportunity to ask her about her perspective on marketing these days.
Are CMOs losing control of the narrative these days? The discipline has metamorphosed into something quite different with building brand awareness and also balancing customer level personalisation as well. Isn’t this really complicating things?
Marketing has evolved over the years and is now much closer to the business than before. The main purpose of marketing is to offer the best brand experience to consumer in every touch point.
To do so, we need to think the brand from the strategy to the execution, from marketing to sales and to integrate 3 different perspectives: consumer, shopper, customers.
Indeed, it makes the narrative more complex but so much relevant. This new approach has some consequences in the way we work. For agencies, we choose partners that are more agile and business oriented.
As a company, we aspire to attract and recruit talents with a holistic marketing experience that understands the brand and how we can market to the consumer, shopper and customer.
In short, with sales and marketing exposure. A great example would be Carlsberg Smooth Draught which we launched in Malaysia three years ago.
Living up to its tagline of “Now you can POP a draught anywhere”, various marketing efforts have been executed customising according to the channels to ensure relevancy to consumers and shoppers.
Since the launch, the brand has been growing double digit and ahead of our competitor. We first started with our brand proposition of offering the smoothness of a draught beer in can and bottles; which evolved last year with our innovative pull ring.
At convenience stores, a shopper in this channel would want something that is quick and immediate.
If they’re looking for a beverage, they’d spend five minutes or less by heading straight to the refrigerators looking for the beverage they have in mind before checking out immediately.
Hence, we came up with the idea to build brand awareness and communication on the chiller handles. We brought to life the concept of draught beer by using beer tap as the door handles to enrich consumers via this marketing experience.
It is said that CMOs need to think long-term about the brand, and not just be quick to have knee jerk reactions to new events. What is your take on this?
What has mainly changed in the past decades is the reconciliation between marketing and business.
Marketing has to handle long term thinking to build the category and the relevant portfolio to develop it and shorter term thinking to be agile to market environment.
It’s always a constant balance on how we can address short term goals without compromising long term strategy. Marketing has to combine strategic thinking and business acumen to ensure agility within strategic direction.
1664 Blanc, our French modern premium wheat beer is a great example of a long-term approach. Premiumisation is long-term trend throughout the world and in Malaysia as well.
In our portfolio, 1664 blanc is a great asset to leverage. To build a solid growth story, we have collectively decided to heavily invest on the brand in communication (to develop awareness) and sampling (to develop trial).
To date, we are glad to see that 1664 Blanc is growing healthily in Malaysia.
The value of a brand is often cited as something like dark matter, its significant but is also rather blurry, almost like an intangible concept, do you agree with this?
The value of the brand has always been a difficult concept to handle. To me, it’s linked to brand preference and loyalty. Why do people prefer one brand over the other? It’s because the brand’s purpose touches and engages with them.
The role of a CMO is to define the brand’s purpose and build a strong brand equity speaking to consumers through content. Using engaging and interesting contents that is at the same time authentic, focused, simplistic and sustainable.
Brand content is not a one-shot or a campaign type of content. As it is sourced in our DNA, it is created for long-term communication. Content is Branding, not advertising.
Some brands work hard to find their purpose, but for us at Carlsberg, it has always been there which is brewing for a better today and tomorrow.
Understanding that purpose, we have been constantly improving and today we continue that pursuit of better.
Carlsberg recently launched a better glass for a more flavourful beer, a fresh cap for fresher beer, an easy to open shrink wrap pack for our canned beers, greener ink for better environment and continuous strive to better the education among Chinese schools for the future generations.
Craft, is often associated with advertising agencies, but CMOs are also getting in on the act. From your experience, how can CMOs affect change in this area?
Carlsberg is a great example as to how craft content has played a role in marketing.
Carlsberg brand has a rich heritage and authentic Danish roots, inspired by a passionate master brewer, our founder JC Jacobsen who always pursuits for better.
His passion to brew probably the best beer in the world using his knowledge and skills as a scientist and his passion for beer brought to life for many all around the world to savour.
For over 150 years now, we continue to live on his legacy and stay true to our purpose – Brewing for a better today and tomorrow. Despite being a global brand, Carlsberg continuous to drive excitement among beer lovers all around the world.
One of the most recent craft marketing examples would be the launch of Red Barley, a limited-edition brew specially crafted for Liverpool fans as tribute to the team’s legendary manager Bill Shankly’s winning inspiration to have his team play, dressed in all red. This drove excitement among Carlsberg and Liverpool fans. It was amazing!
Another example is our innovative brew, Carlsberg Smooth Draught which transforms the beer drinking landscape allowing consumers to enjoy a freshly tapped beer anytime, anywhere in can and bottle formats.
Our brews, campaigns and promotions are crafted with beer lovers in mind while maintaining our authenticity and not compromise our true purpose.
In Malaysia right now, there is always talk about digital transformation and how its important be to data-centric in everything that we do. How about Carlsberg, what’s the story like?
Carlsberg is embracing the digital transformation and our marketing efforts have been crafted to ensure relevancy. One of the key data marketing uses is to understand insights of consumer, shopper and customer to ensure healthy and sustainable brand growth.
Currently, we leverage such data to improve our communications to consumers on social media, to build relevant offer on ecommerce platform, to develop barmen application on perfect serve, beer knowledge, staff training , to offer an Augmented reality experience to consumers who visit our brewery so they can immerse into the art of brewing via the mobile application during the tour.
Finally, what does the future hold for a company like Carlsberg to remain relevant through its marketing and advertising practices? Perhaps, any last bit of advice you have for your peers in the industry as well?
We will continue to stay true to our purpose to offer a better beer and bar experience to our consumers and customers while embracing digitalisation in today’s modern world.