Launching ‘the Nespresso of beer’ with Heineken

Learn how we helped one of the world’s most popular beer brands launch Blade, an innovative mini-draft beer machine for the B2B market that some have dubbed ‘the Nespresso of beer’.

The Need

Heineken has been a pioneer in its industry for more than 150 years and shows no signs of slowing down. The brand’s new mini-draft beer machine, Blade, is the latest example of how it’s innovating the way people consume beer.

Blade launched in October 2017 with the aim of making on-tap beer more affordable and easily available to small businesses such as barber’s shops and sandwich bars. The £500 machine uses a technology called “Brewlock” to deliver pints through a smaller-than-usual keg of eight litres. All it needs is a power source and enough surface space for an A4 piece of paper.

Six months before the launch, however, the Blade UK team were scratching their heads trying to figure out the best way to develop their customer experience proposition. It was this challenge that led to Heineken approaching Nile.

“We had lots of ideas about how we wanted to take Blade to market and how we wanted to be perceived in our customers’ eyes,” explains Ross Mair, Commercial Director for Blade UK at Heineken. “We wanted to give our customers the best experience in terms of delivery all the way through to customer service. We needed a way to join it all up from an end-to-end perspective.”

How we responded

To help the Blade UK team achieve this, Nile facilitated a workshop to combine Heineken’s existing knowledge with our own expertise in customer-centred design. We brought together nine experts from across Heineken to participate in a series of collaborative activities with our team in preparation for the UK launch. The Heineken team found this experience extremely useful.

“We walked through the different steps of a customer journey, taking time to understand what we wanted to do and how we wanted to behave at each stage,” Mair says. “Everything from the tone of communications and other creative aspects to planning out responses and solutions for the different steps in the journey was covered. It was an impressive workshop.”

Taking the time to understand their new product on the customer’s level helped Heineken develop the offering and feel more confident about the plans they were pursuing. As Mair puts it: “We all left understanding how we could deliver that good end-to-end experience we were aiming for.”

Heineken Blade

The results

Thanks to their workshop with Nile, the Blade UK team were able to identify gaps in their planning, validate their thinking and identify powerful ideas for the future. Gaining insight into the customer experience and potential pain points they might encounter has continued to deliver value for the brand too.

“At a time where any customer-centric business can continually challenge and improve their offering, and particularly for new projects, you need to bring in expertise to help you push the boundaries of what that experience should look like,” Mair says. “When you find yourself with that need, Nile provides a very professional framework and highly competent consultative support.”

“We all left understanding how we could deliver that good end-to-end experience we were aiming for.”

Ross Mair, Commercial Director for Blade UK at Heineken

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