Repositioning an iconic brand
In 2013, Mahou’s position as a market leader was under threat from strong competition and worrying brand health, with low levels of desirability, attractiveness and aspirationality.
The brand wanted to reconnect with its audience, and recover the brand’s emotional connection and social relevance.
RESEARCH & INSIGHT
It was time to find a differentiating element for the brand, something inherent to its essence, unique to Mahou. An insight was born that was both powerful and simple because it was always there, it just took APPLE TREE to find it. A word that the brand’s own fans used in their social networks to define themselves: mahouismo.
STRATEGY & CREATIVITY
APPLE TREE created a strategic communication platform that sought to create a sense of belonging. The challenge was to transform all the brand’s assets to represent the way that a love of Mahou and all that it represents unite: that’s how “mahouismo” was born.
We began to reposition the brand and ensure that it remained #1 in Spain and reconnected with new audiences with an experiential campaign to live the true spirit of the brand and a ‘Mahouistas conocidos’(Famous Mahouistas) program. But this sense of belonging was based on something deeper, the brand’s raison d’être: its purpose. And so, together with the brand and its strategic partners, we evolved a platform in 2019 to expand Mahou’s social role, its mission as a brand and its commitment to human encounters between people.
This evolution was created at a particularly difficult time for society as a whole; the lockdowns of 2020 and the transitional years following the pandemic. Mahou’s commitment to high quality, personal encounters became stronger and more determined than ever. Mahou responded with purpose to what society required at that moment, not only its consumers, but also the rest of its value chain, including suppliers, customers, partners and employees. APPLE TREE has been Mahou’s strategic travel companion during this journey and we continue to build the #1 beer brand in Spain together.
In addition to creating a strategic communication platform based on a relevant insight, we have been able to disseminate this concept consistently and coherently by reinventing areas that are natural matches for beer brands and revolutionizing traditional areas.
- Creation of a pioneering community of influence: In 2013 we created “the Mahouista customer service office”, a CRM of influencers, celebrities and friends of the brand with whom we have maintained an ongoing relationship since then and which has allowed us to increase the organic reach of the brand exponentially, providing greater rapport, authenticity and relevance.
- Brand experiences that integrate leisure, gastronomy and brewing expertise: We designed experiences to enjoy brewing excellence such as Saborería Mahou; Microcervecería Génova 5; Manzana Mahou 330; Espacio Mahou Coruña; and Mercata Mahou and created the international quality strategy for the brand that has made Mahou the Spanish beer with the most awards worldwide.
- A new, broader and more contemporary approach to music and football: We rethought traditional sponsorships such as La Liga, Real Madrid or Atlético de Madrid in order to create emotional connections with new audiences, always keeping the matches at the centre of our communications. And we refreshed and renewed Mahou’s role in music events, with surprising formats and a firm commitment to the sector and its professionals.
- New channels for new generations: We created and produced the most recognized branded content in the sector according to Scopen, ‘Una caña con…’ (‘A beer with…’, five seasons from 2019) co-created with YouTuber Carolina Iglesias and focused on the encounters that happen over a beer. We proposed a script that encourages audience participation, identification with the protagonists and conversational spontaneity, bringing freshness and naturalness to the brand purpose in new channels and digital platforms.
- Brand building by doing: APPLE TREE has led the activation strategy of Mahou’s purpose across all its assets, through all the touchpoints with the consumer and in all kinds of situations. From the group’s #SOMOSFAMILIA initiative during the pandemic to the Lola Indigo and Quevedo beers to celebrate the city of Madrid. From the celebration of mahouismo to the tribute to the city of encounters, APPLE TREE is the strategic partner to communicate Mahou’s raison d’être. That’s why we build the brand by doing: because life is better when we are together.
During more than 10-year relationship between APPLE TREE and Mahou, the brand has recovered its standing to become a brand of reference once again. Our campaigns have led Mahou to win, among others, the EFICACIA Award for the trajectory of a brand. This award is given to brands that have been successful over a long period of time and have become a reference in their industry. It recognizes Mahou as an iconic “century-old brand with a distinct personality that has forged emotional connections with its audience, establishing the brand as a benchmark in Spain’s beer market, where regional brands hold significant sway.”
In terms of reputation, the Mahou San Miguel brand has risen from 88th place in the ranking of companies with the best reputation in Spain (MERCO) to 13th place in 2022.