Heineken’s Edelweiss fusing specialised ingredients with localised marketing strategy to brew Asia growth
Edelweiss, a wheat beer that uses Alpine herbs, was first launched in South Korea in 2018, but only more recently entered several other markets in the Asia Pacific region including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
According to Heineken Premium Beer Global Brand & Marketing Director Marcelo Amstalden Möller, many of the launch activities for the brand were hit with various challenges due to being hit by instabilities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is only now when life is returning back to normal that the firm has decided to go big with its latest Alpine Spirit campaign to push Edelweiss’ growth even further.
“As it is, Edelweiss is actually already seeing significant growth in the various markets it has been launched in – it is showing one of the strongest rates of growth in our portfolio based on its smooth taste, unique design and strong communication strategies in place for it,” Möller told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“But we know that there are even larger opportunities [for the brand] and want to be able to bring the Alpine experience to even more consumers, so we conceptualised this Alpine Spirit campaign to bring highly-recognised influencers from the various markets to the Alps so that [two forms of\ marketing could essentially be done in parallel – the influencers created content from there and shared this with their followers, and we also filmed the various experiences there for the campaign.
“We also realise how important it is to localise the content for consumers in the various markets, so apart from the influencers’ own content creation - such as livestreaming for a Chinese audience – we also had five different scripts of the stories we wanted to tell, and shot these six times with the six different local celebrities to best appeal and be the most relevant to the various local audiences.”
The influencers were from South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Chile, and included various well-known faces ranging from actresses (e.g. South Korea’s Kang So-yeon) to models (South Korea’s Cho Min Ho) to online KOLs (e.g. Malaysia’s Haoren) and celebrity athletes (e.g. Chile’s Pangal Andrade Astorga).
Edelweiss itself is a premium beer brand centred on the use of specialised ingredients from the Alps, particularly the mountain herbs elderflower, sage and coriander, so although the marketing has a localisation focus, the beer itself will remain Alps-focused.
“Edelweiss was launched a bit earlier in South Korea so we already have some flavour variations there like Raspberry and Peach, but it is too early right now to do this in the other markets,” Möller added.
“That said, we definitely will observe the other markets especially in APAC as there is a big passion for fruits and flavours here, so there is certainly potential to explore expansion in this regard for the region.
“Overall though, the focus for Edelweiss is very firmly to remain Alps-focused and bring a taste of the Alpine lifestyle, that longstanding wheat beer tradition and the mountain ingredients there, to consumers all over the world.”
Premiumisation in APAC
Möller also highlighted premiumisation as one of the strongest ongoing trends within the beer sector currently, particularly in APAC.
“This is especially clear in this region due to strong economic development over the past few years – of course COVID-19 has caused inflation and some challenges, but in the long term we definitely see that growth driving premium product growth,” he said.
“Consumers are definitely more keen now to explore beyond ordinary products that they are used to seeing, whether it be beer or food or clothes, and so now is actually really good timing to bring in a product like Edelweiss to APAC, because it is premium with good strong European credentials.”