The Boston Beer Company is a leader in the craft beer and beverage space, with some of the most iconic brands in the American beverage industry including Samuel Adams, Dogfish Head, Truly, and Twisted Tea to name a few. Their ethos is to bring American drinkers to craft-brewed libations that are full-flavored, balanced, and complex, and brewed with quality ingredients. From the very beginning, BBC has wanted to create a company that their employees ‘want’ to work for. They’ve worked hard at maintaining this culture through the successes and growth they have enjoyed over the past 30+ years. Today, The Boston Beer Company continues to be a team of enthusiastic, creative, and competitive people who are passionate about raising the bar in everything that we do.
We were brought in to help pressure test their business plan and develop insights into their industry via a highly bespoke and focused War Gaming exercise. Read below how we were able to them to these outcomes.
The Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams, Truly Hard Seltzer, Twisted Tea, Angry Orchard and Dogfish Head, wanted to pressure test their Spirits RTD business, looking for insights that would enable them to capture additional share in a highly competitive, fragmented and disrupted market. To that end, BBC engaged Perpetual to lead a War Gaming session to kick the tires on their existing strategy and brought together a diverse team of stakeholders from across their business to focus attention on this important category. The intent from the two-day program was to generate key recommendations for changes to the brand strategies that would enable improved market outcomes.
War Gaming is a powerful tool in such a scenario as it allows companies to understand how their brands might perform in a dynamic market and against competitors who of course have their own plans to win. The Perpetual team worked collaboratively with BBC leaders in the lead up to the meeting to ensure that all participants were ready to focus on the challenge at hand, including training up some BBC staff to act as leaders of key competitor brands who would also be ‘fighting to win’ during the War Gaming session. As ever, the Perpetual intent was to unlock the collective potential in the room to accelerate positive outcomes for the client’s business.
The program itself created a ‘market’ where both BBC spirits RTD brands and those of key competitors executed their strategies on a quarter-by-quarter basis. At the end of each quarter, a pause was taken to reflect on the various market initiatives from the various brands and to draw insights that were collected by a separate team whose role was to continuously challenge all participants to understand the market dynamics and where hidden opportunities might lie for BBC. The competitor role-playing was a particularly powerful tool to stimulate challenging debate with BBC staff, stepping outside of their day-to-day work and putting themselves in the shoes of their rivals.
At the end of the War Game, nine specific recommendations were shared with the CEO and again the next day with the entire Executive Committee, that come together specifically to hear the outcomes of the meeting. The recommendations will be used to shape the various brand strategies moving forward and the competitor analysis that was completed in the lead-up to the meeting can be refreshed on a regular basis to ensure continued relevance. Additionally, team members had an opportunity to collaborate and challenge each other in a safe space that will ultimately create improved team dynamics and understanding across the BBC enterprise.