Yoga Beer … Thinking beyond your conventional markets

September 22, 2015

2.2 billion hectolitres of beer are consumed across the world each year. Whilst the Germans drink more than anyone, 110 litres per person each year, it is China that boasts the world’s biggest selling beer. Snow Beer, cheap and decidedly watery, is produced in a joint venture with SAB Miller, and has 5% of the global market. This is a market dominated by big breweries, and big brands … Wrong! The beer market, like most markets, is fragmenting rapidly. Craft beers made in microbreweries, serving local or niche audiences, delivering quirky products and in new contexts. This new market diversity changes attitudes – price becomes premium, products becomes experiential, from repetition to exploration.

Beer symbolises the shift from markets of “average products for average people”, to markets of discerning individuals, seeking difference and relevance.

So how do you win in this new world? Last month I was at IMD Business School, on the banks of Lake Geneva exploring how to “change the game” of beer with one of Europe’s leading brewers. To spark our creativity, we sought to apply ideas from other sectors … to give it away free (then find a new way to make money, like Metro newspapers), or build a subscription model (like Nespresso with its coffee pods), or connect users around a shared passion (like Nike+), or pay as you go (like Psonar selling music for a penny a track), or build a network of branded spaces (learning from Tesla’s Supercharger network).

Using the Gamechanger framework from my new book, we explored some recent beer innovations. Change the whoLululemon, the women’s sportwear brand from Canada, has just launched its Yoga Beer, with 77 calories plus added nutrients to aid your post work-out recovery. Change the why … Problem Solver Beer from the Denmark promises to boost your brain, by helping you think bigger, different and make new connections. Change the whatMoa Beer, perhaps the world’s best beer, made in the finest New Zealand wineries, offers ultra-premium brews and packaging, starting at breakfast time. Change the how … Scotland’s Beer52 offers an annual subscription for a crate of mixed craft beers delivered to your door each week, adding surprise and exploration to my beer.

Nobody is average, and neither should any business. Consider then how you could “change the game” in your market – the who, why, what and how – reaching out to new audiences, with new purpose, redefining your competitive set, getting out of a downwards price spiral, and delivering more distinctive and relevant brands and experiences. It might just become your new compass for profitable growth!

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