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SAB brews up a new identity

South African Breweries Ltd, the South African operation of SABMiller plc, has announced a major project to change its corporate identity in South Africa with a new corporate brand campaign which reasserts its South African identity and acknowledges the role of South Africans in its global expansion and success.

SAB Ltd Managing Director Tony van Kralingen said that the company had spent nearly a year developing the new campaign, which launched Friday. The identity and brand campaign are part of a major drive to re-establish its South African roots and emphasise its culture and commitment to South Africa and South Africans, including the social and economic upliftment of communities and the promotion of responsible alcohol use.

Explains Van Kralingen: "SAB Ltd is still the largest contributor to SABMiller's global earnings. The growth and success of our parent company is due in most part to the expertise, talent and energy of South Africans, many of whom now head up our international operations. Yet with our global expansion has come some confusion in the minds of certain of our stakeholders about our roots, our nationality and pedigree.

"Nearly a year's research across all our stakeholder groups from employees to government, NGO's, customers, suppliers and consumers, showed that while we were both admired and respected, some uncertainty was growing about who we are and what we mean to South Africa," says Van Kralingen.

"We have taken the opportunity to do two things: firstly, we have launched our first corporate brand campaign in nearly a decade, which illustrates clearly who we have to thank for our success, while also highlighting our role in the South African economy and society. Secondly, we took the decision to revamp and redesign our corporate identity, which was last changed in the early 1980s.

"The old beer tankard corporate identity is being replaced with a fresh, circular design. We listened closely to what our stakeholders told us and therefore, we have embedded 'The South African Breweries' in our identity to reinforce our South African personality."

Logistically, the new corporate identity will be implemented at SAB's 70 installations, including its seven breweries and on nearly 500 vehicles, which will have been completed inside a week, with the help of a 100-person team.

"Together, the new identity and corporate brand campaign reflect our confidence, inspiration and values, represent our ethics, help to enhance our reputation and anchor all that makes us who we are. They communicate our accountability and the difference we make in the lives of South Africans.

"We have recognized that the brand is indeed the business and that our corporate brand in particular is a very public thing. It has largely been driven by the success, popularity and recognition of our product brands," Van Kralingen emphasizes.

Since the 1980s, much of SAB's corporate advertising has been focused on addressing social consequences of over- or irresponsible consumption. This message, together with the new campaign, will now be strengthened and extended.

The new campaign launches with an epic two minute advertisement on TV. More than 225 person days were used making the ad, which features over 800 of SAB Ltd's employees, all of whom were given the opportunity to take part.

"The epic shows how our international expansion was made possible by the achievements of this country, by collective action and resolve, and in essence, how we have been inspired by committed and patriotic South Africans. The epic also shows, in symbolic terms, the recognition of the world for South Africa's achievements and our integration as a country and a company, into the world community. It re-establishes the South African Breweries Limited as distinct from its listed parent, SABMiller," points out Van Kralingen.

"The print element of the campaign explains more fully how we are part of the nation and its fabric, how we contribute to its growth and success and how we remain motivated and inspired by ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and extraordinary people doing ordinary things. This combination, we believe, characterizes the South African leadership we admire so much and are inspired by."

Before flighting, the advertising campaign and new identity were subjected to extensive consumer testing across all LSMs nationwide, which confirmed the messages the company wanted to communicate. Results showed that the campaign, and the new identity, were closely associated with SAB's culture, values, belief systems and positioning in the South African context.

"Our product brands are, in their own right, South African icons. Our corporate brand is the umbrella of values over which each brand interacts with the South African public," says Van Kralingen.

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