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Bud Light’s Declining Sales are About More Than a Boycott!

Lots of comments on this The Wall Street Journal story about the decline in sales of Bud Light, tying the sales decline to a “boycott”. 

I’m skeptical of that line of reasoning. 

It is too simplistic for me. 

While it is likely that this “boycott” is having some impact on demand, I’d tag the larger challenge on poor #brandmanagement by AB InBev over the last few years. 

These brands are notoriously “sales oriented” and that has come at the expense of the brands that the company manages and you’ve seen wild swings of sales in many Bud brands over the last few years due to the whims of the market. 

In other words, AB InBev is often chasing the market instead of establishing some consistency to what their #marketing team is doing. 

One week it is craft beer. One week it is hard seltzer. Light beers, one day. Premium brands the next. 

This matters because it means that the brand associations for Bud Light are far too often impacted by the opinions of others or are susceptible to a “news jacking” effort by outside actors. 

The big lessons from this recent decline in Bud Light sales:

* Brand Purpose is mostly BS. If it doesn’t cost you money, it isn’t Brand Purpose…it is BS. 

* If you aren’t managing your brand associations, someone else can steal the brand associations of your brand and you’ll be screwed. 

* Brand equity is built in drops, but is lost in buckets. 

Are the “boycotts” impacting Bud Light, but the bigger challenge for their business is that they’ve been doing a bad job of marketing for years and that opens the door to situations like this.

What do y’all think?