The brewer says it is planning a “slight increase” in marketing and sales spend as a percentage of revenue in 2014. The spend to revenue ratio in 2013 was 12.6 per cent.
Heineken’s marketing drive will be focused on premium brand development, ongoing innovation and “higher planned commercial investments”.
The move attempts to soften the blow of lower consumption in Europe with the brewer blaming the region for total revenue rising by just 1.3 per cent year-on-year to €21.3bn (£17.6bn) in 2013.
Sales of the Heineken brand slumped 1.8 per cent in the period, spurred by a 5.1 per cent decline in its core Western European market. Volume sales of the brewer’s top cider brand Strongbow fell 2 per cent due to lower demand in the UK and South Africa.
Despite the declines, the company said volumes improved in the second half of the year. It is looking to the at-home beer market to continue the upswing and open new revenue streams.
The brewer is readying the launch campaign for its Sub product, a coffee-machine style beer dispenser, to push its brands to people drinking less and at home. Additionally, the business is ploughing marketing support behind its Radler beers in an attempt to appeal to women while also wooing wine and spirits drinkers.
The investments build on Heineken’s focus on innovation in 2013 when it revealed 6 per cent of sales across Europe in the first half of the year came from new products such as Foster’s Radler and Strongbow Gold.
Heineken is planning further changes to the business following restructures to its UK, France and Greece divisions in its last quarter to drive efficiencies across Europe. The move will see more activities run from its Global Shared Services center. This will primarily focus on purchasing, logistics and back office roles although the brewer was unable to confirm whether it would also stretch to its marketing and commercial arms.
Separately, the brewer has slammed the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision to ban campaigns for its Kronenbourg brand and requested an independent review of the ruling.