Bud Light, one of the largest beer brands owned by Anheuser-Busch, recently launched a marketing campaign featuring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. This move was met with strong backlash from conservative consumers, who make up a significant portion of Bud Light’s client base. The consequences were severe, with many alcohol distributors reporting a decline in Anheuser-Busch bottled products by 30%, and draft beer taking an even bigger hit, dropping by 50%. This backlash demonstrated a clear lack of corporate self-awareness on the part of Bud Light, as they seemed to have failed to anticipate the potential consequences of their actions on their customer base. This incident raises crucial questions about the role of self-awareness in corporate decision-making. Just as CEOs and leaders need to be self aware to be effective, so do corporations. 

What is corporate self-awareness?

Corporate self-awareness is a company’s ability to understand its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as its impact on its clients and customers. It involves being able to objectively evaluate the company’s performance, products, and services, and to make changes when necessary. Corporate self-awareness allows a business to understand the needs and wants of its client base and to make informed decisions based on that understanding.

In order to have authentic corporate self-awareness, you need to understand your client base. Who are you selling to? Who loves your product? To determine your client base, start by analyzing your existing customer data. Look at the demographics of your current customers, such as age, gender, income, location, and buying patterns. Additionally, conducting market research can provide valuable insights into potential customer segments that you may not have considered before. Surveys, focus groups, and social media analytics can all provide valuable data on customer preferences and behaviors. By understanding your client base, you can create a more targeted and effective marketing strategy that resonates with your target audience and ultimately leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Bud Light’s most recent campaign shows a clear misunderstanding of their client base. Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, for years has crafted their marketing campaigns to appeal to the hardworking blue-collar worker, the modern American cowboy, and fraternity culture. These campaigns often feature their iconic team of Clydesdale horses or rugged and burly men at work on a farm with an emphasis on pro-American themes like loyalty, brotherhood, and hard work. This approach helped Anheuser-Busch to establish a strong brand identity and build a loyal customer base. However, Bud Light’s campaign with Dylan Mulvaney was a clear misstep. How did the executives at the company allow for such a grave mistake? Where was the oversight? Stay tuned next week for a full breakdown of the campaign and the fate of Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light moving forward.