“Cash or card?” “Beer credit, please.”

“Cash or card?” “Beer credit, please.”

The most successful companies never stop imagining new ways to develop their brand. Heineken’s launch of beer credit in the Netherlands is an excellent example of this. Here’s how beer credit works: Upon purchasing a Heineken product, you enter its specific code into your Heineken app and you receive beer credit that you can then use towards Heineken at a bar. Consumers can order a maximum of two beers per person per day via the Beer Credit App.

At this moment, you get beer credit when you buy the regular beer crate of 24 30cl bottles, but other important packaging’s like the 6-pack are following soon.

What exactly does this mean for the consumer?

Apart from saving money on beer, the consumer will experience seamless consumption of Heineken products. Since the app fiscally incentivizes consuming Heineken at bars, a consumer whose normal tendency is to buy Heineken at the store but to try out different beers out at the bar is now more likely to drink Heineken at a bar. Wherever and whenever the consumer takes a sip of a Heineken, the experience of drinking beer will be attached to the use of the Heineken app and, thus, the consumer will experience a heightened sense of brand continuity. Whether they are enjoying a cold beer in the comfort of their own home or out at a bar with friends, they will be having a Heineken-specific experience.

Heineken Brewery explains it very well: “With Beer Credit we provide beer lovers with advice and inspiration, for example about responsible drinking and new developments, we give supermarkets an innovative promotion and we help hospitality owners to gain new consumers.” This project has only recently been launched and already two thousand bars and restaurants are participating. Evelien Sanders, the retail director of Heineken Holland, says, “because of the purchase of Heineken products in the stores, we make it possible to enjoy a free fresh beer in a local bar or restaurant. This leads to going outside and connecting with other people. This is a nice completion of Heinekens ‘Open Your World’ theme and a good example of how innovative activations in retail and hospitality can reinforce each other.” (Source: Roderick Mirande, editorial office, Adformatie)

Industrial companies and retailing companies are, in fact, all moving in the same direction. They are all trying to foster a strong, direct relationship with their consumers. Many industrial companies are also setting up e-commerce websites to compete with retailers, while retailers are developing private label brands.

Industrial companies definitely excel at the art of building brands and leveraging emotional power to create value. Retailers, however, are beginning to master the art of serving consumers in the most effective way. In a fragmenting media landscape, it seems that industrials have no choice but to cross the frontier and put themselves in closer contact with retailing activities, or at least activation activities, as media traditional usage is no longer enough to protect and develop brands. In a global study that Sevendots will disclose in the coming weeks, we discovered that successful brands are increasingly relying on field activity to build their business.

So if there is one grand takeaway from the new Heineken beer credit launch, perhaps it is the notion that the most successful brands are, in fact, most successful when they take big risks in order to expand the consumer’s experience of the brand.