60 seconds with...San Miguel's Dharmesh Rana

Event attended the launch of San Miguel's 'Life Rich' campaign and spoke to the brand's senior brand manager Dharmesh Rana about the campaign, the importance of experiential and what's coming up for San Miguel.

 60 seconds with...Dharmesh Rana
60 seconds with...Dharmesh Rana

How does the 'Life Rich' concept relate to the San Miguel brand?

The idea relates to San Miguel through the brand values. The brand started off 126 years ago, a group of Spaniards decided to travel the world and set up a brewery. It was that mentality and sense of adventure of starting somehting new and trying to learn from different cultures and different people. It's that philosophy - how do we take that explorative mindset and make that relevant to today, and today's consumer. When you look at it, that's what people are doing. Travelling the world is so much easier than it was 126 years ago, so we wanted to embrace that attitude and find a way of bringing it to life today. The 'Rich List' is a collection of people who share the same values as our 126 year old brand, but bring them into the modern day and make them relevant.

How did you get the Guardian involved?

We approached a number of media owners, but they [the Gaurdian] felt like the real target for us in terms of the readership. I guess it's [the 'Rich List'] the antithesis of The Times Rich List, which is a phenomenally successful rich list, but it focuses on wealth and money. We wanted to use that as a spring-board for an alternative view, and the Guardian, being a national broadsheet in its own right, felt like a good way to achieve that. 

There's a mix of organic and tech experiences at this event. Is event technology important to your brand?

Absolutely. I wouldn't say it'll be exclusively about tech, but we live in a world where everyone lives through a mobile phone - it'd be crazy of us not to look at tech as a way of bringing experiences to life, and employ it to try and bring different experiences to people. A very tiny proportion of people can go deep sea diving into the Arctic Ocean and take photographs of whales. So how do you bring that to life for consumers who are living in London? You can't do it any other way aside from with technology. Whereas, the other side of that is [consumers] living a real experience. There's hands on - physically doing or creating something - people are going to get to walk away with their own little masterpiece today, when they go into the pothole garden room. They're not going to be able to go deep sea diving, but they can get a sense of what it feels like.

Since starting the 'Life Rich' campaign, have you seen an increase or change in consumer engagement?

 We have a lot of metrics that we look around to help us understand the brand health, and we test all of our advertising through ad tracking. The adverts around the cave explorer and deep sea diving have scored really highly with brand engagement, but also a measure called 'difference'. We're trying to make sure that we can stand out from our competitor sets, stand out from the crowds and all the other beer brands that are out there. We;ve that there's a real connection point that people experience when they see the work from San Miguel, becuase it's so different from what you'd see from another beer brand. Brand engagement scores are up, equity scores are up and more commercial elements are up as well.

In a general sense, how important is experiential to San Miguel's events and activations?

Massively. The more I read, see and talk to people; I read about consumers, and what consumer trends are happening, and what the future trends are going to be - consumers these days are placing more and more emphasis on the experience and what they're getting out of life. As a brand that's our role - not just delivering experiences, but inpsiring people to get up and have a great experience. It doesn't have to be a huge experience, it doesn't need to take you months to complete, it could just be a cold beer shared with friends with great food. That's an experience. The stretch of experience can be whatever you want it to be; that's the way that we can connect and make the San Miguel brand more relevant to today's consumer. The role of alcohol and the role of beer is changing. People place more emphasis on time - their personal time is precious, and who they choose to spend their time with is precious. They want to be clear on what it is they're drinking, and what they're putting into their bodies. 

What's coming up for San Miguel?

This isn't just a 2016 campaign, this is a platform idea that we will be building year after year. It's being referred to as the first ever 'Rich List' but the intent is to produce another one next year. Today is partly a test bed regarding how we make experiences work in this area with consumers, and whether we can get the brand idea across. We're going to do more of this next year, on a larger scale, so that we can bring experiences to life for more and more people. Experiential is the one thing that allows brands to bring consumers into their world, and we want to bring more people into our world.

Last week, Event spoke to Ford's marketing diretcor Lisa Brankin about the brand's immersive training sessions. 

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