Stella Artois: Brand analysis, Organisational alignment

The project in summary

The situation

Stella Artois is one of Britain’s most successful brands, being both hugely commercially successful and creatively awarded, but despite such success it has had moments of temporary decline.

During one of those periods a brand relaunch was being considered, but some weren’t sure this was the correct thing to do.

We were asked to consider the best way to return the brand to growth.

The work

Brand analysis was conducted which led to a revised target audience being defined. Confidence in the brand had been lost across the organisation and a relaunch, which now wasn’t going to happen was expected. A series of company-wide conferences followed by workshops took place to restore confidence.

The outcome

After the conferences, employee brand confidence measures improved significantly.

After activity was revised to reflect the revised targeting, the brand returned to growth.

Cheltenham Racecourse: Scene of one of the 30 conferences

The work in a bit more detail, if you’re interested

Stella Artois has long been one of Britain’s most successful beer brands. But it hasn’t always been plane sailing. It has gone through several periods of decline.

We got involved during the last one. Another agency had been involved. A repositioning was planned. The ad agency wasn’t sure that was right. They suggested we have a look.

Brand analysis:

We did some analysis and we noticed that a lot of the brand’s drinkers weren’t like the target audience. And we mean the majority, not just the tail. And the target audience was the commercial target audience, not the caricature of the consumer that the creative work targets, as can sometimes legitimately be the case.

And so we did some more work and we redefined the target audience rather than the proposition.

But along the way we saw that some aspects of the brand activity wasn’t as good as it should have been. And everyone had lost confidence in the positioning and was expecting a relaunch.

Organisational alignment:

And so we embarked on a programme of ‘organisational alignment’. Thirty conferences followed by workshops took place across the UK, each of 150 people. All 5,400 UK staff went to them. We used our ‘brands are like people’ model to explain what a brand is, how consumers form their impression of them and what every employee can do to ensure their brand’s success. Every individual identified actions they could take to ensure Stella Artois’ success, which were built into appraisals and bonuses. Some of the ideas became sources of revenue, some were very simple, but if enough people did them, they would make a difference. A packaging hall employee said when she went shopping she would turn all the Stella Artois labels straight and turn all the other brands to the bar code!

The conferences and workshops were described as “the best work event I’ve ever been to”. Even the Marketing team said it had taught them to think about managing brands in a much clearer way.

A very substantial programme of post-conference activities were put in place to ’embed’ the initiative into the organisation day to day, such as writing initiatives into appraisals and each function reporting progress regarding initiatives to the Board.

But best of all, Stella Artois returned to growth.

To see a short introduction to Organisational Alignment go HERE

Skills and services

Consumer engagement planningOrganisational alignmentTraining

Leuven, Belgium, the delightful home of Stella Artois

More examples of our work

Minette Walters

Our first publishing project.

Defining audience, brand, and communications plan.

Very successful.


Nestle impress us. Of the multinational FMCG businesses it is the most flexible and adaptable, maybe along with Pernod-Ricard.

We were appointed to identifyportfolio priorities and define key brand propositions.



Big initiatives hadn’t resulted in big growth in visitor numbers.

We were appointed to find out why and propose actions.