I think everyone could agree that a consistent brand image is super important, especially product package design. Right? First and foremost, you don’t want your customers to be confused. But even on another level, an inconsistent brand image is just plain sloppy and gives the impression that you don’t quite know who you are, or worse — you don’t care.
As beer brands go, Heineken is one of the most recognized and most beloved by beer lovers worldwide. Imagine you’re traveling in England and you stop at a pub for a bite to eat. You order a Heineken, because it’s goes smashingly with fish and chips. Your waiter brings you your beer and instantly you recognize the bright green iconic bottle. But after closer inspection, the bottle looks a little different than back in the states. “Hmm,” you think to yourself, “I wonder if it tastes the same.”
Then, on your whirlwind tour of Europe, you find yourself in another pub (this time in Amsterdam – the home of Heineken). You order a Heineken and again, you recognize the green bottle. But something is different. “I could have sworn the Heineken logo was vertical on the bottle in England. Or is that the way it is back in the US.” And again, you can’t help but wonder if it tastes the same. Now imagine this happening in pubs across the world. Pretty soon, your customers, however loyal, begin to question whether Heineken tastes the same or tastes as good as they remember.
Until very recently, Heineken’s iconic green bottles and cans had 15 different designs in 170 different markets around world. Recognizing the problem, the Dutch brewer undertook a global brand consitency initiative, narrowing the bottles and cans to just 5 different designs.
“We believe that with one recognisable bottle the global Heineken brand will be further strengthened. With uniformity comes greater impact,” explains Mark van Iterson, global manager of Heineken design and concept. “The bottle will reinforce the new packaging visual identity which has already been applied to the contemporary tactile can and embossed glasses that were introduced in selected markets earlier this year. As the market leader we pride ourselves on being progressive in design as well as taste.”
Most of the world see a long neck bottle as part of the new brand rollout in 2011 and 2012. But apparently Americans like their import beers to have stubby, short necks so they can tell the difference between domestics. So, Heineken will continue to export the short neck bottles, exclusively to the US market.