AB InBev turns its focus to female beer drinkers
AB InBev has confessed it needs to change the way it markets beer if it wants to engage more female consumers.
The brewing giant has completed a year-long research project to understand how its female audience views and acts.
Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Global Director/Innovation Insights Molly Hayes told The Market Research Event 2018: “This is about looking at a category and fundamentally saying, ‘We need to change the way we think, to create an inclusive category.’”
AB InBev is running 25 pilot projects in 15 different countries to explore issues that have kept women from embracing beer.
The company is also examining how woman have been portrayed in beer advertising.
The project has yielded a variety of insights and highlighted false assumptions such as that “women only like the sweeter stuff”.
According to Hayes another busted myth was that “if we talk to women, men are going to stop listening; men will no longer drink beer and it’s going to sink our entire business”.
“We had to show, based on other categories, how you can have an inclusive approach where gender actually doesn’t have to be the thing you hang your hat on,” she explained.
A third myth was that “women just need to learn more about beer ... Women don’t know enough about it, and therefore they can’t select it, and they can’t choose it”.
The answer to dispelling this myth, she noted, was research that shows marketing focused on educating consumers was ineffective with both men and women, as “neither one wanted to be educated on the alcohol category”.
Improving diversity in stock imagery
In July last year, AB InBev released hundreds of royalty-free photos (including the one above) that depict women and minorities enjoying beer produced by four of the company’s US craft breweries.
Called the “Elevate” initiative, it aimed at “lifting up the beer category”. AB InBev partnered with Pexels and Unsplash — websites that offer copyright-free photos – to capture photos that more accurately reflect the company's beer drinking.
Internal company data and statistics from market research firm Mintel show that 39% of beer drinkers in the US identify as female, while 32% identify as African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or non-white.
But the majority of free stock photos available to journalists, marketers and other creators that seek out beer-related imagery tend to feature a stereotypical male craft beer drinker.
“Diversity and inclusion is really important to us, so you’ll start to see more in that area soon as part of our Elevate program,” Megan Lagesse, the senior director of craft communications at A-B, told Fox News.
Diversity-related searches on the Pexels platform increased 180 percent between 2016 and 2017, the spokesperson added.