There isn’t much more traditional at Christmas time than the Budweiser wagon jingling its way through gently falling snow pulled by the magnificent Clydesdale horses They have never clopped their way up my street, but it must happen somewhere or they wouldn’t bother with the ads (or would they?).
Speaking of those ads, you’ll be seeing a lot less of them. It seems that the 20-somethings could care less about the Clydesdales and about Budweiser—almost half of them have never even tried a Bud. In the last ten years, Budweiser has lost half its market share; first to “light” beers (including Bud Light) and now to craft beers. Craft beer sales exceeded Budweiser’s for the first time in 2013. In an attempt to recoup younger customers, advertising dollars will move to food festivals, music festivals, and college town parties featuring Jay-Z, not the horses.
The leadership question in this is: what is “reality”? Are the Clydesdales not an effective marketing tool any longer, or has the market has moved on and the Bud advertising doesn’t matter much? This is something Budweiser needs to get right—but not just them. You need to get it right too. It is always leadership’s job to get “reality” right, whether you are talking about beer, computers, cars, or church.
Kodak couldn’t save film; Blackberry couldn’t save keyboard cell phones. I’m betting that the market has moved to light and craft and Jay-Z can’t save Budweiser. What do you think? Let me know in the comments block.
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© Copyright 2014, Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner
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