We’ve been talking about blogs a lot recently here at Rippleout – with three successive posts covering the format in terms of content creation, re-cycling and engaging visitors. However, our Lead Consultant has just come back from Budapest – a brilliant city with a fantastic atmosphere and lots and lots of bars! So, as a change, we’re going to look at one of the more interesting movements currently happening in the social media space, which has been developed by Heineken, and how this is a recent example of why sometimes non-branding is the best marketing.

Heineken’s Wherenext Twitter Platform

Heineken have been working on a project for several months now which is known as ‘Cities of the World’. In short, they have recently released a new account on Twitter, @wherenext, which allows people from all over a specific city to crowd-source the best places for a night out, to see which bars or venues are lively, or just to find somewhere with the atmosphere they’re looking for. The account is powered by a bot, so it automatically re-tweets back to you within a few seconds – allowing you to find the best place to go in your city pretty quickly!

Why Sometimes Non-Branding is The Best Marketing

Why Sometimes Non-Branding is The Best Marketing (But Technology Doesn’t Always Work!)

There’s a video which does a really good job of explaining the concept on Heineken’s YouTube page.

However, the thing that small businesses can take from this is the fact that Heineken have left @Wherenext relatively un-branded – yes, there’s a little logo as the avatar, but the cover photo is logo free, and they could have called it ‘@HeinekenPubFinder’ for instance. Why decide to take this approach?

Why Sometimes Non-Branding is The Best Marketing

Common sense suggests that consumers are likely to be more open to using a tool which doesn’t come across as something which directs them to Heineken’s own bars. Some people might not like Heineken – they may prefer Fosters for instance – and thus might be put off by a branded Twitter handle. Others might see it as exactly what we described above, a ‘Heineken Pub Finder’ designed to drive traffic to bars which sell their beer, rather than those which are actually the best at the time. By avoiding this, Heineken are giving consumers something helpful as a company, providing a service and trying to create great nights that people will remember. The morning after the night before, these party-goers will likely remember using the service, and Heineken are that little bit higher in their estimations.

In addition, even without branding the service up, let’s not pretend they’ve not done well out of it in promotional terms. At the end of the day we all know Heineken have created this, and we at Rippleout aren’t the first to write about it. We’ve shown you their video – which at the time of writing has just shy of 20,000 views on YouTube – and it’s been covered on a range of blogs across several different sectors. That’s pretty good media coverage and brand building by any measure! It seems doubtful that, had they actually created the ‘Heineken Pub Finder’ anyone would have given it more than a cursory glance.

How Small Businesses Can Learn From This

Of course, you may not have the cash or the knowledge to go out and build a Twitter bot to answer queries from party-goers all over the country, but this concept can also work on a small scale. A good example is actually our blog – we give away advice, news and thoughts free of charge in the hope that, when you do need some help with your marketing, you’ll think of us!

There are a lot of accountants who regularly publish email updates outlining changes to small business tax rates – helping other small businesses keep up to date with legislation. Others organise networking events, or regional awards ceremonies – these things take time for these firms to implement, but also position them at the centre of something which is helpful and valued by their customers – which in turn makes them helpful and valuable!

If you’ve got your own version of Wherenext, or something a little bit smaller you want to shout about – please do drop us a comment below!