When the Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes Lions 2015 speaks on creativity, you better sit up and listen. When the speakers are global marketing heads at Heineken, a company with a legendary history of award winning creativity (41 Lions including a Grand Prix) you dare not look elsewhere. When they share their principles and beliefs that have guided them in this path, start taking notes.
Gianluco Di Tondo, Senior Brand Director, Global Heineken Brand and Soren Hagh, Executive Director, Global Marketing shared the brand’s journey of using creativity as a tool to network with its consumers, right since 1864 – at a time when there were no likes, posts or follows.
They attributed this success to 3 principles – the right partner, the right culture, the right leadership.
All three of three principles have been followed diligently at Heineken. The founding fathers of Heineken made a conscious decision to be creative from the time of the company’s inception. They made bold creative decisions, starting from selling their beer in green colored bottles which was unusual in those times. They produced a premium beer, because good quality is at the very heart of creativity, and made it stand out from competition by labeling it as ‘the gentleman’s beer.’
Today a Brand Building Forum governs creativity in the company. They also run Creative Leadership Master Classes where hundreds of their partners - both internal and external are trained on a regular basis. A specially created Creative Council also meets regularly to monitor the work.
In order to set standards they have come up with a unique – universal language of creativity. This helps them differentiate a good advertisement from an okay advertisement to a bad advertisement. (Refer the chart) This chart ensures that their advertisements meet their stringent standards of creativity by being - Legendary, project a cultural phenomenon, contagious and ground breaking. A fantastic example of this is - if we made it .com.
An advertisement which is merely a Cliché is not accepted.
Another bold step taken by company was to have a single global positioning and identity across its presence in 192 countries. In 2009, Heineken unified the brand with a global campaign – Entrance. While maintaining the global positioning, they also encourage diversity by encouraging local talent and work. This has resulted in an entire body of outstanding work.
Today they lay stress on moderation in drinking and are trying to change drinking behavior with their zany advertising.