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Glasgow Business . 17 Event discovers the secrets to building world brands GLOBAL GOING H

ow do you build a truly global brand and what does it take to sustain it once you do? Tat was a key theme of the Glasgow

Chamber’s first Global World Brands business

breakfast event in April. John Gemmell, Trading Director of Heineken UK,

spoke about his company’s eponymous beer brand which is the number one beer brand in Europe and the third- largest in the world, with operations in 70 countries. Te Heineken family’s ownership of the beer business

dates back to 1864. But it was Freddy Heineken who, in 1941, began working with the company and started the journey that took it from being only known in its home market of the Netherlands to become the truly global brand it is today. While there were at one time

slightly different versions of Heineken, there is now one Heineken – with one taste and one unchanged recipe which is available everywhere in the world. Gemmell said there are five

ingredients that make up Heineken: “water, yeast, hops and barley. Te fiſth one is magic.” Building a brand to the point

where it truly is global and keeping it there, Gemmell said, demands a major focus on international marketing and sponsorships in different fields that are popular around the world. One of the key areas of Heineken’s

was Heineken’s work with Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, which included a ‘mini-movie’ commercial featuring current James Bond, Daniel Craig. Becoming a world brand involves introducing the

brand and the product to a series of new countries, something that was focused on by the second speaker at the event. “Can you really take a brand in its entirety, pluck it out of its homeland and put it into a foreign culture and make it a success?” Michelle Ward asked. Ward answered her own question drawing on 20 years working at Nestlé in the company’s confectionary business, where her major management projects included introducing Kit Kat to new national markets. She recounted how she was

given the role of introducing Kit Kat to Kuala Lumpur, where she immediately discovered there was no tradition of having an ‘elevenses’ tea break. “Te whole way the brand was

built was on ‘have a break, have a Kit Kat’,” Ward said. “But how do you make that work in a culture which doesn’t really acknowledge that kind of break?” Te other issue was the packaging

sponsorship is football and in particular the Champions League, a tournament where the top teams in Europe batle it out in a competition that is much watched and talked about around the world. Heineken’s sponsorship is announced at the start of

TV programmes covering the competition, and its adverts – which are always made with very high production values and are talking points in themselves – are screened in the commercial breaks. Te beer brand also has a long history of sponsoring

rugby, having partnerships with both the Rugby World Cup and the Heineken Cup, Europe’s premier club rugby competition. Its aim with sponsorship on this scale is simply to be rugby’s number one beer brand. Te other major recent sponsorship and partnership

Top: delegates enjoy the event. Above: Speakers Michelle Ward and John Gemmell join Chamber host Paul Cooney

– it was part of the brand to slip the Kit Kat out of its famous red and white sleeve and then break or rub your thumbnail down the twin bar. But that experience was not the

same when new packaging was required to withstand the chocolate bar-melting heat of a country like

Malaysia. Ward said that, in her view, any brand has to make slight compromises, take slightly different avenues to go down in order to establish a position in a new national market. “Every time you make a tweak to launch somewhere

else, those decisions will flow back to your heritage brand,” Ward said. Ward, who has now returned to her native Scotland

where she runs her own consultancy, Heraclitus, advising on business development and strategy, has worked on a range of major brands. She said it would be sad if there were only world

brands everywhere which diminished the character of local markets.

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