How Heineken’s Internal Data Platform Drives Consumer-Centric Decision Making
Making consumer-centric decisions is table stakes for consumer goods companies today, which is why Heineken has created a Knowledge & Insight Management (KIM) — its internally branded cloud-based knowledge and insights platform that’s designed to incorporate the best features of search engines, AI capabilities, and security for capturing and analyzing consumer data.
“KIM has provided us with a valuable opportunity to learn, share, and reapply insights of exceptional quality,” Lalo Luna, head of category and shopper insights, global strategic insights at Heineken, tells CGT. “This not only saves time but also reduces costs throughout the process. KIM has played a vital role in fostering consumer-centricity at Heineken.”
KIM is the centerpiece of Heineken’s Evergreen business growth strategy, designed to “shape the future of beer and beyond,” according to Luna, “to win the hearts and minds of consumers and customers. A crucial aspect of Evergreen required cultivating a more consumer-centric mindset, to place the consumer at the core of every decision.”
An Improved Interface
Like many companies, Heineken, which is the No. 19 publicly owned consumer goods company, needed an efficient way to democratize the wealth of knowledge and insights the company possessed and continues to accumulate. A previously instituted insights platform suffered from a poor UX, however, limiting its adoption and value within the company.
To create an improved platform, Heineken partnered with Stravito, a Swedish-based knowledge management solution that democratizes access to market research and insights that Luna praised as having a more forward-looking approach. “Our primary focus was to prioritize a seamless user experience in order to drive adoption and engagement among our users,” Luna notes.
KIM went live in March 2022. Though it initially faced some typical early user resistance, the KIM’s “intuitive and user-friendly interface, coupled with its exceptional search capabilities, facilitated rapid adoption and democratization of knowledge and insights,” Luna reports.
Within the first year, more than 1,300 of Luna’s colleagues have used KIM, with 30% of them becoming regular users and accessing it at least once a month. “Today, KIM has become a normalized tool within our organization,” Luna says, “extending its reach beyond the strategic insights community. Although there is still more work to be done, we have made significant progress in driving widespread adoption.”
One challenged Heineken faced was applying KIM across its decentralized corporate structure. The company consists of more than 90 localized operating companies around the world, each with its own needs addressed by local teams and insights professionals. Since each local market serves different consumers and requires local approaches and decision-making, its decentralization made it difficult for Heineken to implement a more company-wide centralized consumer-oriented data approach.
KIM’s improved performance, however, has helped Heineken to not only overcome its decentralized data roadblocks but to institute improved decision-making and solutions at the local level.
“Now, every individual in the organization can access information and place consumers at the core of their decision-making, thereby accelerating their time to market,” Luna says. “Simultaneously, I am pleased to highlight that even small and medium-sized markets, which may have limited teams and resources for conducting extensive research, can now access insights and knowledge from other markets. This enables them to learn, adapt, and apply that knowledge to their own strategies, resulting in significant benefits.”
Keeping Pace with the Future
KIM not only has to serve current needs, but future ones as well. Heineken needed a platform able to keep up with the rapid pace of technology by incorporating new technologies and technologies likely to emerge.
“Currently, we are collaborating to enhance our AI search and tagging capabilities, as well as to integrate Generative AI,” Luna notes. “These advancements will assist our teams in extracting valuable insights and knowledge from the wealth of available information, enabling them to connect the dots across multiple sources. The management of data and insights is a top priority as we strive to build a truly consumer-centric organization.”
As a result of these efforts, KIM provides Heineken more than the mere sum of its parts, beyond gleaning insights from data and driving decision making.
“Our peers at Heineken exhibit a higher level of curiosity, leading to exponential consumption of content through KIM,” Luna says. “This increased engagement is translating into tangible benefits for our overall strategy. We are witnessing more and more colleagues from various functions recognizing the significance of consumers, shoppers, and customers, and the importance of basing their strategies around them. This is precisely our objective: to cultivate a consumer-centric approach throughout the organization.”
Article by Stewart Wolpin