Beer & Twitter – An Intriguing Brew (G1)

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 4.55.55 PM.pngHello everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well. As suggested by the title, this post is a short summary of my Individual Project for the semester, which analyses the Twitter strategy of three beer brands – Budweiser, Heineken & Miller Lite.

Beer and Twitter make for an interesting combination that could be considered as two sides of the same coin. On one side, you have beer – the quintessentially ‘social’ drink – good for social gatherings, watching games or even informal business meetings. On the other side, you have the social media world’s primary platform for generating light-hearted buzz and quick fire news updates – Twitter. A large overlap exists in consumers of beer and Twitter users, young adults between ages 18-35, evidenced by related tweets to beer brands primarily coming from the same age group.

The fiercely competitive beer market in North America and Europe has seen all important beer brands take to Twitter to further their brand identity, communicate their values of quality, and position their products as lifestyle concepts to be enjoyed during games and with friends. Heineken and Budweiser are clear market leaders in terms of product sales, while Miller Lite leads the pack on Twitter with its innovative and engaging campaigns.

Research Objective:
Miller Lite has an outstanding Twitter campaign strategy, cited by many as industry-leading, with Heineken not too far behind. However, Budweiser has recently fallen slightly adrift of the mark, particularly with their ‘#UpForWhatever’ campaign, which seemingly encouraged irresponsible social behaviour. This provides us with a window of opportunity to craft meaningful Twitter content strategies to aid with Budweiser’s ailing public image.

Budweiser is not alien to posts which have generated strong brand associations, such as their ‘#FriendsAreWaiting‘ campaign dissuading drunken driving, or their heartwarming ‘#BestBuds’ Superbowl 2015 campaign.  Thus, I have focused on the following research objective: Crafting two short- or medium-term content strategies to reinvigorate Budweiser’s Twitter strategy, by leveraging on industry and platform trends, pushing relevant content, and emphasizing their traditional brand value of companionship.

Twitter Performance Analysis:
I have utilised a combination of objective campaign analysis as well as brand sentiment analysis from Synthesio to construct insights on the Twitter performance of these three brands. Budweiser’s large following (144k globally) enjoys their short, appealing text-and-picture posts that depict Budweiser as a lifestyle concept, particularly centred around the sports genre. However, their posts are not as frequent as the competition, and at times are unable to produce a two-way conversation, resulting in fewer shares and favourites. Synthesio also revealed a short-term brand sentiment crisis with a significant number of negative posts.

Heineken employs a strategy that solely focuses on its huge UEFA Champions League sponsorship – evident through spikes in posts and mentions on matchdays. These posts are often overwhelming and minute-by-minute, resulting in fewer shares, but overall contribute to a positive brand atmosphere. Miller Lite on the other hand, with its witty language and inventive posts, regularly goes beyond the sports genre and offers users food for thought related to social events, festivals and daily life; generating popularity even though the product itself is behind the market in taste.

Three clear insights from this analysis are:
1. Users look for relatable AND shareable content;
2. Sports sponsorships drive content; and
3. Differentiated content is a clear winner

Recommended Content:
The challenge is thus for Budweiser to craft relevant, differentiated content that produces a feel-good factor. There are 2 strategies that can accomplish the same:

  1. #MyBestBudMoment Campaign:
    Users will be encouraged to upload short stories using texts or pictures on funny/emotional moments they shared with their best friends. The participation incentive is twofold: the top 15 screened posts will be featured on Budweiser’s Twitter page, and of these, the top 3 retweeted/favourited posts earn their users an all-expenses paid trip for them and their #BestBud. This campaign would produce a large volume of differentiated UGC, boosting short-term engagement. The subtle association made here is between priceless moments of friendship, and Budweiser
  2. #BudWatch Campaign:
    News and Twitter: a perfect combination, the post popular content vertical. Many people use Twitter as their primary stream of news, particularly sports junkies. Beer and sports: a ubiquitous association. Budweiser has sponsorship rights to several key sporting events: the FIFA World Cup, NFL, MLB and NBA among others. Why not combine the two? This campaign would see Budweiser tweet a series of report-style bites on the most relevant sports news of the day. Sports posts are inherently popular, and would be an extension of Budweiser’s current genre of lifestyle-sports posts.

 Twitter, remarkably, is still growing by leaps and bounds in its usage – which provides brands with limitless opportunities to create coherent, interesting content campaigns that can generate conversations in the Twitter community. There are several opportunities to leverage on – such as the preeminence of news feeds on Twitter and the strong sense of community among young adult users. These are indeed interesting times for marketing and PR professionals, as the focus turns to retaining and constantly engaging with current viewers.

Thank you for your time and attention!



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