Annette’s 2 mantras at Carlsberg: Consistency and relevance

In the mid 90’ties Carlsberg Brewery’s two brands Carlsberg & Tuborg were positioned more or less the same way on the international markets – and differently from market to market.

If you want to be a global brand it is not enough that the name and logo is the same in the different markets – the basic qualities, values and personality has to be consistent. Otherwise how can the consumers perceive it as the same brand ? Annette remembers.

So when Annette joined Carlsberg in 1994 her first big project was to define the brand essence of the two brands –  or rather to dig out and describe their original values, as both brands had some very strong and unique characteristics.

To implement the brand identities was the next challenge.

With different cultures, market structures, consumer perceptions etc. you can’t implement the brand platform the same way in all the 120 markets. What would be right in UK would be completely wrong in Singapore – and opposite.

We had to develop local strategies and creative concepts to ensure that the brand perception in all markets matched our global brand platform for our brands.

I had to know and understand the markets and their differences. At that time I saw myself as the brands’ guardian, where my key role was guiding all our markets, Annette smiles.

Consistency in the brand concept was one of Annette’s marketing mantras. The other one was relevance – for the consumer and for beer!

It might seem strange that it is necessary to say that marketing have to be relevant. But think about it next time you watch a commercial.

Too many commercials are just funny & cute stories where the only relation to the product is the tag-line.

They might create a lot of awareness. But that’s not enough if you want to bond with your consumers. Your brand has to play a role that your consumers can relate to. 

We had to give them reasons to feel that they would like a Carlsberg / Tuborg. In those days we talked a lot about ‘beer feel’.

The result of the new brand strategy was a strengthening of Tuborg’s brand position in Europe, while Carlsberg’s brand perception was rejuvenated through the updated brand profile and a new packaging design with green bottles implemented internationally.

To ensure consistency through out all activities the marketing organization was changed from separate tactical marketing units to a strong united Corporate Marketing department.

And Annette and her team started working on how to add relevance and involve the consumers in Carlsberg’s sponsorships.

Most people enjoy beer while they are watching soccer. Especially when they do it together with friends. So it was almost too obvious in relation to our soccer sponsorships to develop activities that made Carlsberg and the consumers ‘Part of The Game’. The Football fans loved them – they could be ‘part of the game’ everywhere.

The same with our Skiing sponsor ships. Who cares about the logo on the Champions jacket, when you can join: Probably the best After Ski events.

When Annette’s team introduced music at Carlsberg by signing a sponsor deal with MTV EMA it was almost self-evident how to make the sponsorship relevant for the beer drinkers: Carlsberg  introduced the very successful Best Fan Award.


carlsberg mtv ema

 Aren’t the fans – the people who listen to and loves the music – what music is all about? Annette smiles and takes a sip from her beer.

So why did Annette leave Carlsberg in 2000 – at the top of her career?

In the beginning my main focus was guiding our markets. So I had a lot of traveling and I loved it. Digging into the different cultures, etc. Annette smiles.

Then travelling got less and less. I had to spend more and more time running the new department, that grew bigger and bigger. Her smile faints a bit.

I couldn’t really relate to my job anymore. It got less relevant for me. The things I cared for and loved working with – the brand guardianship – got less and less. I ended up spending more and more time on things I don’t like – things other people would love and be much better at.

Managing a big department wasn’t as interesting for Annette as discussing and ensuring brand identity and positioning around the world. So Annette continued her field studies. This time together with Thomas …