“With the pandemic severely impacting small and medium businesses around the world, we needed a solution to help them sustain consumer sales in the new reality,” Ingram says. “In-person sales and foot traffic became irrelevant overnight, and we needed a way to help our partners reach their consumers.”
With each geographic region affected differently, Ingram and Tiger Pistol worked closely with AB InBev’s global markets to create a series of programs in more than 20 countries to support those small businesses during the crisis and help them recover. They used social ads promoting community building, gift card sales, home delivery and no-contact curbside pickup in impacted communities, or foot-traffic drivers to reopen locations. Campaigns continue to be rapidly updated to align with changing local regulations.
Stella Artois, for example, launched “Rally for Restaurants” around the world, inviting consumers to purchase discount vouchers to help sustain local restaurants during the crisis. Among the many localized campaigns, #ApoieUmRestaurante (which translates to “#SupportARestaurant”) in Brazil sold more than 180,000 vouchers, while in Canada the brand added an additional $10 to the value of every gift card purchased.
In the U.S., Bud Light launched “Open For Takeout,” inviting consumers to find local bars and restaurants open for takeout or delivery in their area by entering their ZIP code on a special microsite.
“We identified markets that were both most in need of this solution and ready to execute at speed,” Ingram says, adding that acting quickly and rallying colleagues and partners to execute was one of his biggest challenges. “Our European markets, especially Belgium and the UK, immediately put the plan in motion, onboarding new customers and launching hyper-localized, consumer-facing campaigns to drive sales.”
The work demanded a close collaboration between global sales, local trade marketing teams, front-line sales teams and the CPG giant’s agency partners.
But the results justified Ingram’s efforts and hard work. “We saw higher sales for our [partners], especially in curbside pickup, delivery and online sales,” Ingram says. AB InBev also measured positive ROI for the campaigns, giving it the confidence boost it needed to continue expanding the programs through 2020 and into 2021.
Building on this success, Ingram worked to incorporate the Tiger Pistol platform into the BEES application. BEES (so named to align with AB’s bees-themed B2B operations) is AB InBev’s e-commerce platform for its small and medium-sized retailers and is designed to revolutionize their sales capabilities while making AB InBev’s business with them more profitable.
Ingram’s recent work has also had a lasting effect on the way AB InBev and his team operate. The new hyper-local social marketing strategy has become a standard way of working in many markets, Ingram says. And his team is much more flexible on campaign objectives and design “as markets experience different stages of the pandemic and post-pandemic realities.”
Ingram takes an active role in understanding the platform technology to ensure the success of campaign launches. Before his strategic input, AB InBev had been using national TV spots and on-site print collateral to drive performance for their beer brands. Through Ingram’s vision, the company can now connect the last mile between national campaigns and points of consumption.