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How Heineken defines the new consumer

How Heineken defines the new consumer Jeremy Brook

The new consumer: Someone who integrates technology more and more into his or her life while demanding brands keep pace.

In the past few decades, all brands have seen a change in the way consumers shop and interact with marketing. However, perhaps nowhere is the shift more radically felt than by iconic legacy brands that are household names. One of these brands is Heineken, which was founded in 1864 and is currently the number one alcohol brand on Facebook. This company has seen it all and has sold to every type of consumer over the years. Heineken is as well known, loved, and popular as any brand can hope to be, but the digital revolution has cultivated a new society of shoppers whose expectations are radically different than ever before. It has forced Heineken to shift its strategies in every area. It's no longer enough to just be established; brands must now be technologically nimble. Heineken defines the "new consumer" as someone who is not only using technology in every facet of life, but increasing it every day. They want brands to understand technology and incorporate it into marketing messages, products, and experiences. Today, consumers demand brands evolve along with them and interact on a cutting-edge technological level. This is a new reality many brands still need to face.

No one is more in tune with the needs of the new consumer landscape like Jeremy Brook, global lead of digital strategy and media innovation at Heineken. He explains how his brand defines the new consumer, and why social listening should be used in new ways to help brands future-proof their strategies.

Heineken's philosophy: Digital at inception

One of the biggest mistakes today's brands make (especially in this radically new consumer climate) is that they launch campaigns and then back up into digital. In other words, marketers create campaigns and then later think of ways to distribute them through digital channels. Television still takes up a majority of marketers' spend, and many commercials made for TV are repurposed for digital distribution. Many marketing events are created that just utilize a Twitter hashtag to encourage digital conversation. The idea that you can think of digital as a second-fiddle instrument is flawed. Heineken is one brand that understands this, which is why its philosophy is simple: digital at inception. Every campaign the brand creates is simmering in digital strategy right from the beginning. Why? Because its consumers are already there. Heineken takes care to reflect the trends and habits of its customers, not force a new direction.

Jeremy Brook ends our conversation by speaking about why starting with digital at the beginning of any marketing journey is a sure strategy for naturally reaching audiences in this new consumer landscape.

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Article written by senior media producer David Zaleski.

Videos edited by associate media producer Brian Waters.

"Woman drinking Heineken beer glass bottle" image by Eugenio Marongiu via Shutterstock.


In the marketing department at Heineken, the approach is "digital at inception." It's not an afterthought. And that's something that Jeremy Brook, global head of digital strategy and media innovation, is quite proud of. And, as recent evidence...

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