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How HEINEKEN is building a best-in-class insights ecosystem

Charlotte Hilton April 14, 2023


HEINEKEN, the Dutch multinational brewer has cemented itself over the last 160 years as one of the world’s leading lager companies, now serving over 25 million servings of the flagship HEINEKEN brand across 192 countries every single day.

The secret to HEINEKEN’s success? Keeping the consumer front of mind.

That’s why HEINEKEN has recently launched its new two year evergreen strategy, focused on shaping the future of beer and beyond to win the hearts and minds of consumers. 

Louise Fitzpatrick, Global CMI Capabilities Manager at HEINEKEN, comments:

“As part of the evergreen strategy, we wanted to reimagine how we share insights across the organization, making sure that we put consumers at the center of everything we do. One key way to do this is by democratizing knowledge, and giving those in the organization better access to consumer data, insight and everything we learn about our customers.”

Stravito, the enterprise insights platform, has been central to this, enabling HEINEKEN to share all of its insights through its internally branded platform, KIM (Knowledge & Insight Management).

Louise comments:

“We see KIM as an integral part of our insights ecosystem, which is made up of a united collection of best-in-class tools and frameworks that help us ensure that every decision leads back to the consumer.” 


Connecting the organization 

HEINEKEN operates as a decentralized business, with over 90 operating companies located all around the world with local teams and insights professionals on the ground. The small global team in Amsterdam provides guidance and access to tools to help the local operating companies run their business more efficiently. 

“We’re actually a very decentralized business,” explains Louise. “We often found that we were speaking different languages and, we in the center, saw this as being a real pity because people were doing great work but nobody was seeing, sharing or discussing it, and often there was duplication across teams.” 

HEINEKEN’s key objective with KIM was to create one version of truth and encourage a culture of sharing across an aligned ecosystem. 

Yet, the journey to finding the right insights platform wasn’t immediate.

Louise explains:

“We had a knowledge management platform before Stravito but over time people stopped using it as the user experience was too painstaking. Everything has been manually uploaded slowly, and it wasn't very intuitive for users.”

What we were really looking for was something quicker and centered around AI. Something that would really simplify the process for both the people sharing their own knowledge and the people consuming it. Ultimately, a place where people could go and feel inspired, excited. A platform that would lead us in our evergreen journey. That’s when we started engaging with Stravito.” 

During the pitch process HEINEKEN reviewed a number of providers involving the insights team, procurement team and tech team in the final selection. 

Louise adds:

“It was a rigorous process of scoring and discussions, but it was an easy decision in the end as Stravito’s score was the highest across all of the different teams, so we didn't have to debate too much.” 


Forming one common language 

A year on and now all work the insights team at HEINEKEN completes is communicated via KIM. 

“KIM is now very much the normalized way of sharing insight,” adds Louise. “It’s not through email. It’s not through teams. We guide everyone to KIM.”

The response has been positive. 

Louise says, “Some of the feedback I'm hearing now, which really inspires me, is from senior directors who would never have used CMI tools. They say to me,  'KIM is amazing, I logged on and I just couldn’t believe the amount of stuff on there, it’s amazing, kind of like Netflix and I just kept going and going.’” 

Louise adds, “We have given the senior director level a language and a place to go. Honestly, I don't think we would have been confident enough before to send them to the old platform. Whereas KIM makes our communication or interaction with them much simpler.”

Lalo Luna, Global Head of Category & Shopper Insights, adds: “KIM has played a fundamental role in our journey towards democratizing insights beyond Strategy & Insights teams. It has unlocked the true power of our insights function, enabling us to connect the dots across multiple learning and data points. By delivering more relevant and meaningful recommendations to our teams worldwide, we empower them to make consumer-centered decisions.”


Putting insights to work 

HEINEKEN has a number of consumer-inspired Innovation Platforms that will guide the business and its longer term future. 

When creating KIM, we wanted to make our existing research work harder. That meant limiting the amount of research we required.” explains Louise. “Previously what we would have done is launched a project that aimed to uncover one specific innovation opportunity, involving X amount of focus groups, in X amount of markets, starting from scratch. But, I said to the team, 'We have KIM. We have so much knowledge here.'" 

For example, the team created a project  on KIM that it was able to share with its innovation agency, including all of its most recent trend reports, and it ended up that the existing insight was enough and no new research was required.

Louise says:

Reusing our existing insights saved us a couple of hundred thousand Euros and allowed us to complete the process in six weeks. Before it just would have been impossible to source input so quickly. Now we have six or seven really insightful consumer validated innovation platforms without doing any new research.” 

Elevating influence through insights 

Although KIM has come a long way, Louise and her team believe there is a lot more opportunity for the platform. 

We reached 1,000 users by January 2023. These users are not just from the CMI team but now from brand, innovation and R&D teams, the kinds of people who need access to insights,” explains Louise. 

Lalo adds, “KIM has been instrumental in building capabilities across our organization, especially for our small markets and Commerce Teams beyond CMI.  It provides them with access to foundational knowledge, inspiring and guiding their decision-making process. By leveraging KIM, we equip our teams with the necessary tools to make better-informed decisions and drive success in their respective markets.”

Lalo concludes:

“This is just the beginning of our journey with KIM. Together, we envision an incredible future. With the integration of Generative AI capabilities, we anticipate an even better experience that will provide greater customisation in KIM's recommendations, ensuring that the content is easily digestible for everyone across the organization."

And the future looks bright, as the organzation continues to move individuals away from the center and expand its usage of best-in-class tools that encourage peer-to-peer sharing and pave the way for an even more insightful future.