Branding the Future Research

For my ‘Branding the Future’ research project I have decided to talk about the Premium Lager market. I will be discussing its brand leaders and their brand values and I will be illustrating examples of their graphic styles and the brands perceived images.

The reason for choosing Premium lager was because I am already very familiar with UK lagers and lager can designs. This will be because my family are strong lager drinkers and I have witnessed much lager cans/drinks over the years. I have also my own personal experience of testing and trying many lagers in the last couple of years.

So what is lager? Lager beer is bottom-fermented (lager means bottom) and is overwhelmingly the dominant type of beer in all developed countries except the UK and the Republic of Ireland. During the 1990s, however, lagers overtook the domestic dark beers to take more than 50% of the UK market. The styles of lager vary from country to country (but with less variation than the dark, top-fermented beers) and include: the pilsner lager, developed in Czechoslovakia; wheat beer, mainly from Germany; ice beer and dry beer, developed with new brewing technologies in the 1990s to produce cleaner tasting lager; and specialities sold in small quantities, such as fruit flavoured beers (usually from Belgium).

The first question I have to think about then it comes to discussing the UK’s top Premium Lager brands and brand leaders is; what do brand leaders create? 

In my view, brand leaders are promising to go somewhere unique over time. As a result a brand leader should be creating relationships of value with the customers, relationships that people would miss if the brand did not exist. This relationship brand leaders create with their customers (if they truly earn peoples trust) is one of the only reasons that can explain such success with the public. Gaining trust is the most valuable and core asset a corporate leader can create.

Here are two quotes’ I found on the internet. The first quote for me sums up exactly my opinion on brand leaders.

“A great brand taps into emotions. Emotions drive most, if not all, of our decisions. A brand reaches out with a powerful connecting experience. It’s an emotional connecting point that transcends the product.” – Scott Bedbury/Nike, Starbucks

This next quote, for me is a very important quote. The public see design, such as packaging, posters, websites, flyers etc. as just a layer or a surface to a product. But I feel that without design a product would feel worthless. Design to me is very important and without design everything would be so dull. I also think it is a big selling point of a product.

“We don’t have a good language to talk about this kind of thing. In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. … But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation.” - Steve Jobs

There are 2 obvious brand leaders for Premium Lager in the UK. The top brand leader in the UK is officially Carling followed by Stella Artois. The 3rd most popular Premium Lager is more difficult to decipher. I have looked all over the internet for official stats and ratings for top UK lagers but I can’t find anything. Anything I do find I have to pay £300 to view as it is a detailed report roughly 200-300 pages long on a specific year. If I had to guess I would say the 3rd most popular lager in the UK would be either Fosters of Carlsberg.

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I am firstly going to talk about Carling, the UK’s leading lager brand. The reason people buy Carling is because of its brand image. The brand image Carling creates is that they ‘love football’ and that they are a football lager. This is clever because the absolute majority of lager drinkers are either football lovers or football hooligans. They do not promote football hooliganism but simply promote their love for football. They are trying to win the support of the public by trying to show us they have something in common. They are trying to win ...

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