Beer: a Universal Language With Many Dialects

From National Pride in the Former Soviet Bloc to Masculinity in Africa, SABMiller Identifies Consumer Trends

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Credit: SABMiller
CHICAGO ( -- SABMiller has embarked upon a local-market strategy to custom-tailor its messaging in countries around the world. As such, it's spent a lot of time studying the traditions, culture and attitudes of consumers in the countries it sells beer and has discovered that what works in one area might not work somewhere else. The brewer shared these consumer insights with Ad Age on 10 of its markets:

Ecuadorians have a very highly developed sense of community. Incan gods still play an important role in the country's many fiestas along with Catholic iconography and celebrations such as Corpus Christi.

Peruvians draw a huge sense of pride from their ancient ancestors, and the Inca civilization continues to be a tangible and visible part of the country.

Geographically isolated communities lead to regional cultural differences. In Antioquia, locals call themselves Paisas, or peasants, and are fiercely proud of their rugged, humble origins.

Masculinity is linked to taking care of family and community. Being a man is perceived as both a source of great pride and heavy responsibility. Providing for family is the most important role a man can perform.

South Africa
Historically, masculinity in this market was defined by economic hardship and "the struggle." But today men seek fulfillment that goes beyond simply earning a wage, including self-expression through work.

Vietnamese do not seek to be defined by their history but rather are defined by their future, with a strong sense of optimism and pride in the country's progress.

Premium beer is still relatively new to Russia, and the market is very innovation-driven. Consumers expect premium beer brands to deliver something new on a cyclical basis. Failure to innovate (especially in packaging) can have a significant negative impact on your brand.

The harsh conditions experienced under Ceausescu's communist regime reinforced a strong sense of community. Post-communism, this manifests itself in nostalgia for old-fashioned values and a simpler way of life.

Residents in this region have a well-defined cultural identity. Life should be lived full throttle, extending to every aspect of life: celebration, work responsibility, love affairs, friendship, hate, envy and even worship.

The turbulent history has been devastating to the national psyche, and Poles struggle to feel positive about their national identity, leading them to seek affirmation and proof of success.

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