AB InBev UK & Ireland changed its name to Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland last week in a move that it hopes will elevate both its brands and business’s reputation.
Rumours of the drinks giant’s name change have been circulating for roughly a year with the brand citing a lack of awareness among consumers as a key reason. Alongside Budweiser, the business also makes Stella Artois, Becks and Corona – and is the world’s biggest brewer – but this is relatively unknown outside of the industry.
Tatiana Stadukhina, the company’s marketing director of northern Europe, told Marketing Week last year she was looking to make the business as famous as its brands to help elevate its position.
“Currently [our] brands have more meaning to consumers lives but we’ve been discussing making AB InBev famous. It’s great we have a personal connection but we are exploring ways to take that to a higher level like P&G and Unilever, [so AB InBev] is known at a top level,” Stadukhina said.
Procter & Gamble and Unilever have gained brand status in their own right both setting out impressive brand purpose goals and Budweiser Brewing has ambitions to do the same. As well as changing its name, the drinks giant has outlined five new commitments spanning sustainability, employer branding and responsible drinking.
These include creating a nation of ‘smart drinkers’ by helping to cut excessive drinking, as well as becoming the UK’s “most sustainable brewer” as it ups its focus on renewable electricity and locally-sourced barley.
Much has been written about the importance of brand purpose as consumers increasingly want to understand the companies behind brands and their impact on the world. Brands no longer exist in isolation; they can’t claim to be eco-friendly if their owner doesn’t have the same credentials as consumers will call them out. Consumers want to understand not just what brands do but who operates them and whether they have a positive or negative impact on wider society.
Interestingly, Stella Artois is the most popular brand in the UK – not Budweiser. Despite being less popular the American lager is growing fast, though. In 2017, sales hit £49.2m in UK supermarkets making Budweiser the fastest-growing product of that year.
Speaking on an investor call in October, Jason Warner, president of its UK & Ireland business, said: “As the official beer of the World Cup, Budweiser lit up the globe’s biggest sporting event with our most ambitious campaign to date. Even post-tournament, Budweiser remained the number one contributor to volume and…