Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Art of Strategy and PBR

Strategy is not a specific science. It is an art and it differs for every product, organization or industry. Obviously, research and history of an organization or sales of a product is considered when establishing a strategy. Just like Proctor & Gamble had to strategize it’s marketing plan and compete against new up and coming facial products for the younger generation for Olay, Pabst Ribbon Blue (PBR) has done the same.  However, their approach in competing against other breweries and giant beer conglomerates was different. In the US where craft brews and IPA’s have become all the rage, PBR remains a popular beer and here’s why. PBR decided to take on an unconventional, anti-marketing approach. Pabst turned down endorsements from celebrities and built it’s brand on basically not giving a damn. They opted to maintain their authenticity. A trend that is very popular with millennials, more so specifically with the hipsters. Now PBR has become a trend and has resurfaced as a popular beer.

PBR’s strategy would not have worked for Olay. Even though both products have been around for a long time, Olay had established a reputation for being an “old woman” cream. Their audience was literally dying and other companies like Covergirl utilized celebrities and models to advertise their products that enticed a new generation. They began using a new strategy of “fighting the signs of aging” to attract the younger audience. PBR has been known as a “working-class” beer and affordable. PBR on the other hand avoided the advertising and marketing strategy which attracted their younger following. It is “cool” to go against the grain and be authentic. PBR is still one of the cheapest beers on the market. PBR had a choice, they chose the strategy that kept them original since 1844. However, in their efforts to refuse marketing and changing, they’re brand has evolved from just a “working class” beer but also to a “young, hipster, college age” beer. 

The art comes from the ability of these companies to make the decision to take the route they took. Each brand manager could have made the decision for Olay to remain the same, or PBR to take the celebrity endorsement, however, this could have changed the face of the product and consumer. By combining the creative strategy with the facts and figures, this allowed the companies to become successful and enhance their brand.

1 comment:

  1. Jessica, I think PBR is one of those cases where urban consumers re-positioned PBR before it knew what was happening to it. I say this because I worked in NYC in the mid-1990s. There was a grungy BBQ bar in the Meat Packing District (before it was the "Meat Packing District") called the Hog Pit. Most any night PBR was the featured beer - $2 a can (vs. $4-5 for everything else). We saw this in other bars around the city then, too. PBR quietly and smartly capitalized, and built a strategy that already had some well-worn runway behind it. When we went back there in the mid-2000s, PBR was still a featured beer, but the hipsters were self-aware. It was now $4 a can, while other beers were $5-6.


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