Posted onOctober 7, 2014
Grupo Modelo: Social Media Doubles Brand Reach for Beer Brands
AN INTERVIEW WITH: José Parés,Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer,
June 11, 2012
Following an upcoming buyout of Mexico’s largest brewer, Grupo Modelo, by A-B InBev, brands such as Corona Extra, Modelo Especial and Victoria will join InBev’s flagship brand, Budweiser. The acquisition, reportedly worth $20.1 billion, will expand Grupo Modelo’s brands’ presence worldwide. José Parés, Grupo Modelo’s vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, spoke about how the company’s social media strategy in Mexico and social media users in the country compare to those in other markets.
Question:What would you say is markedly different among social network users in Mexico compared with other Latin America countries? Compared with North America?
José Parés: I don’t see any particularly strong differences between Mexican social network users and those in other nations. Research has shown that Mexican social network users are looking for, in order of importance, good deals, a sense of belonging and a way to express either good or bad feelings toward a brand.
One peculiar difference between US social network users and Mexican users is that the Americans prefer seeing ingenious ads on YouTube, while Mexicans prefer funny videos.
Question: How important is social media advertising to your business in Mexico?
Parés: Although it has yet to substitute other means of advertising, the importance of social media is growing very quickly. It gives us an innovative and very efficient way to establish direct, two-way communication with our consumers. By building a brand in social networks, we can measure how our consumers relate to the ad content, and it helps us communicate core values for each brand and monitor consumer preferences. Through social media advertising, we are able to move beyond posting a simple brand profile and take our marketing to new levels to double the reach of the brand.
Question: Why is social media important to advertising and what will it take to lift it from the emerging stage to being a standard part of campaigns?
Parés: The importance of the social media as a means to advertise our brands will continue to evolve based on consumer response.
Innovation and creativity will be central to the growth of this type of advertising and for many brands there will be an almost natural evolution toward making social media a standard in their ad campaigns. This is certainly the trend in the beer industry, where
there are many examples of the brands interacting directly with consumers on social networks.
At Grupo Modelo, for example, we just rolled out an important digital campaign for our Corona Extra brand this summer, under the tagline “The place to be.” The campaign combines outdoor and online advertising, Facebook activity and new Corona mobile apps, in order to recreate the strong connection between our brand and its consumers.
Question: What are the top three social trends in Mexico right now?
“One peculiar difference between US social network users and Mexican users is that the Americans prefer seeing ingenious ads on
YouTube, while Mexicans prefer funny videos.”
Parés: Facebook is the most popular social network in Mexico for both personal users and brands. Beyond that, location services, video platforms and photo-sharing platforms are … gaining more popularity.
Question: What are some of the opportunities and challenges you are seeing in the social space?
Parés: I don’t think the opportunities or challenges in Mexico are much different than they are in other similar nations. The country certainly needs to increase its capabilities both in terms of infrastructure and Internet access, but work is being done in this field
and progress has been impressive over the past few years, in spite of important regulatory hurdles being faced by the companies looking to serve this market. The number of Internet users, particularly young users, has grown considerably. Both the infrastructure and the technology need to keep up with this growth.
As long as the technological foundation continues to grow and maintain world standards, there is a great opportunity for expanding both the access to and use of social media. From the viewpoint of a company such as Grupo Modelo, the opportunities for creating
innovative advertising and ways to communicate directly with consumers are extraordinary. There is a wide array of alternatives to explore and of creative ways to take advantage of this media and approach our consumers.
Question: Can you tell me about a recent successful social media campaign that you’ve activated?
Parés: Perhaps our most successful social media campaign yet has been the Corona Music platform, which we developed in collaboration with Sony Music, offering our consumers the opportunity to legally download songs, watch exclusive concerts online and even see a live concert, among other things. Currently, Corona Music has more than
1 million followers on Facebook, making it the No. 1 beer brand on Facebook in Mexico, well as more than 37,000 followers on Twitter.
The planning for this platform was extensive and we encountered some problems along the way, particularly in trying to communicate the mechanics both online and through other media, but we are very proud of the work we did on this project and of strengthening the link our consumers make between Corona Extra and music.
Question: What social platforms do you think work best right now for the Mexican consumer?
Parés: The most popular are certainly Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and that will continue to be true for the foreseeable future. At this point, the most popular platforms in Mexico are universal: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and hi5.
Question: What are some best practices that you have developed for social?
Parés: We apply to social the same basic concepts we apply in all our campaign ethics: honest and responsible advertising, strong values, brand strength, innovation, high quality, social responsibility and promoting responsible drinking.
Question: What kind of growth have you been seeing in Mexico for internet use?
“Perhaps our most successful social media campaign yet has been the Corona Music platform, which we developed in collaboration
with Sony Music.”
Parés: Internet use has seen consistent growth over the past few years in Mexico and research shows that close to 92% of Mexican internet users are involved in some way or another with social networks. We have embraced that fact by including a social component in our marketing strategies for our brands. Through our digital strategy we can strengthen affinity, interact with our consumer base and use direct segmentation. It is a very natural environment for us.
Question: We are seeing the online ad market, in particular, growing robustly in Mexico. What do you feel is fueling this growth?
Parés: The online ad market is growing everywhere, and Mexico is certainly no exception to this trend. Perhaps the only major difference is that Mexico is growing at a faster pace than other similar markets.
For a couple of years now, maybe a little longer, brands—particularly global brands—have come to see digital as a medium that needs to be added to any successful communications strategy. Online ads not only help promote a brand, but they are also an invaluable tool for market research, direct communication and close interaction with consumers.
Question: How do you convince the C-suite or upper level management that social should be part of the digital strategy?
Parés: It is not really a matter of convincing anybody. At all levels at Grupo Modelo—a company that has very successfully marketed not only our flagship Corona Extra, but 12 other brands—it is very clear that we need to be active in social networks. As you know, we serve a diverse, adult consumer all over the world. It is only natural for us to be involved in social.