A Brand Architecture story

Defining a beer portfolio


AB-Inbev is the largest brewer in the world with many top brands to their name, including Stella Artois, Becks, Budweiser, Hoegaarden and Leffe. London Brand Innovations were asked to study the Leffe brand and help to define each of its core variants within the portfolio.

Leffe is a traditional Belgian Abbey beer with years of brewing history, making it a premium quality beer for those people who enjoy the finer things in life & care about creating a meaningful moment with close family and friends. The most famous of the Leffe beers are the Blonde and Brown variants which are sold in all major European markets. There are, however, other key Leffe variants which have currently only been released in certain markets and were not being distinguished clearly from the flagship Blonde.

Consumer research had been carried out on the different variants which provided some useful insights into reactions, attitudes and preferences for the variants between ages and gender. The information did not, however, provide AB-Inbev with the means to clearly differentiate each variant from the other or give guidance for future communication strategies.

Our task was to construct a Brand Architecture map for the future based on the consumer motivators coming out of research. This gave a clear structure to the portfolio with each variant being clearly defined to enable the AB-Inbev team to immediately understand the role of each variant now and to clarify any gaps or opportunities for the future.

Our first job was to undertake a period of desk research in which we studied all the previous research materials and information provided by AB-Inbev so that we had a clear understanding of each variant and consumer attitudes towards it. We then used this information to make first drafts of our variant definitions and Brand Architecture map.

Global puzzle

We held an interactive workshop with the AB-Inbev team, their advertising agency, key market representatives and product team to present the map and allow feedback and input into crafting the final version.

One of the key factors of managing your brand portfolio is to make strict choices. During the workshop, the team discovered that they were currently plotting the variants across the whole map and effectively trying to be all things to all people. We were able to work together to clearly define each variant, giving it its own place on the map and its own role within the portfolio.

This new roles have brought clarity to the Leffe brand and each of its variants, enabling AB-Inbev to have alignment across international markets and a unified strategic direction for its communication in the future.