Open your world- Is Experiential the way to go?

A few days ago, I came across the new packaging of Heineken beers which read out Special City Edition, out of curiosity I went ahead and googled it further and found out about the Heineken “City Shapers Festival” which is a part of the brand’s ongoing ‘Open Your World’ platform, celebrating the cultures, people, music and entertainment of the world’s cities.

For the unaware like me, the Heineken City Shapers Festival is an experiential activity by Heineken, which would transport select people to a secret location, where Heineken promises to give them a worldly experience locally, where they would be treated to a mix of international food, music, art and entertainment. Sounds exciting? I was hooked, and found myself registering.


Now looking back, what exactly made me register, the suspense of the unknown? The newness of the campaign or is it the tease and exclusivity? The thrill we feel while unwrapping a present. By creating exclusivity, the perceived value of the product increased garnering the attention of additional consumers. This is the reason why “for a limited time only” works or why we think the VIP table is something special. A marketing strategy Heineken nailed on the head.

Another important feature of the “City Shapers Festival” is the stress on the experiential value, an aspect of the millennial generation hit spot on, as a member of this generation it truly adds up, Marketing manager for Heineken Australia, Nada Steel, said “What we’ve found for the 18-29 year-old demographic is they’re quiet allusive, they’re watching less TV, they’re increasing their consumption of outdoor, cinema and digital. They value the experience side of things.” hence even though Heineken will still invest in traditional channels, the main focus will now be on experiential marketing.

Let’s dissect the Heinekens marketing strategy a little further, based on Ansoff’s Product-Market Growth Matrix:


The Ansoff’s Product-Market Growth Matrix is all about sales growth, but how is the main question: new stuff (products/services) or new peeps (consumers)? The above figure shows all four possible product and market combinations:

The upper left corner of the matrix is called as the market penetration strategy, this is a low risk strategy which aims to focus on existing customers and simply encourage them to purchase more frequently without expanding the company’s product line.

The lower left corner is known as the market development strategy, even though the company still has no new products, it is reaching out to new customers. E.g. advertise through new outlet (social media, experiential marketing etc.)

The upper right, is the strategy where new products are introduced to the existing customers of the company, this strategy is called as product development strategy. This approach is also a great way to strengthen the customer’s loyalty to the company.

And finally in the lower right corner, we have diversification; this is the most difficult and riskiest strategy in this framework, as the company is trying to introduce new products to a new customer base.

We can see that Heineken is not only aiming for market penetration i.e. Sell more of your product to existing customers but also market development i.e. Sell your current product to new customers; through the ‘City Shapers Festival’ campaign by forging a deeper connection with their customers through the experiential event and bringing their tag line ‘Open Your World’ to life. With these strategies, Heineken has not only strengthened their relationship with existing consumers, but effortlessly have also gained attention of the rest. It seems to be a well-played mix of everything that appeals to the 18-29 demographic.

In an interview with Marketingmag, when asked about whether the focus is on attracting new customers or strengthening loyalty, marketing manager for Heineken Australia, Nada Steel, said, ‘we definitely have loyalty on the brand, but I think one of the famous sayings around the industry is that penetration is a leaky bucket. We’re constantly recruiting consumers as well, not just maintaining our adorer base.’

So will experiential marketing become the new black of the marketing industry? An answer we will have to wait for, but taking from the previous experiential campaigns by Heineken, it is a bet I’m willing to make. 4th of August is the event, hope I get to be one of the select few to experience this experience! Stay tuned!




Inside Heineken’s upcoming ‘City Shapers’ festival

5 reasons why experiential is the future of brand marketing

Velvet Rope Marketing: Using Exclusivity to Attract Better Clients, D

Quantifying the Impact of a Social Media Campaign: Heineken, the Champions of the Champions League

Iacobucci, D- MM4 Book

Avani Limaye- 215386442


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