EABL asks Kenyans to protect Tusker
EAST African Breweries Limited is banking on brand loyalty for its flaghip product Tusker to help fight growing competition its facing from foreign firms such as SabMiller. In his last official function as EABL Group managing director, Seni Adetu has pleaded with Kenyans not to allow Tusker to be overtaken in the market by incoming brands which he did not mention. Many locals identify with Tusker as the country's main and oldest beer brand and as such it enjoys massive customer loyalty in Kenya.
Adetu who leaves office on June 30 to head Diageo's Guinness in Nigeria will be replaced by Devlin Hainsworth. EABL has been under pressure lately since SabMiller bought local firm Crown Beverage to run its beer product operations in the country. SabMiller's main beer brand is Castle. “Lately we have seen some intruders coming in, Tusker is your brand protect it,” Adetu told a group of local businessmen and media personalities during a cocktail to unveil EABL's new logo on Thursday evening.
EABL chairmanCharles Muchene said the company had resorted to rebranding to invigorate its image in the market in the face of increasing competition. “We are responding to changes in the market place and also responding to be ahead of the competition,” said Muchene. SabMiller and Heineken are the fiercest international firms that have waged a war with Diageo and by extension EABL (which is partly owned by Diageo) in the emerging markets like Africa, Latin America and Asia.
EABL has recently responded by launching several new alcohol brands in the market to serve different target groups. It has launched snapp and tusker lite targetted at women drinkers to fight SabMiller's similar brands Redds and Castle Lite. SABMiller makes about 85 per cent of its profits from the emerging markets while dutch based Heineken makes about 40 per cent from these markets. With the eurozone crisis affecting purchasing power of clients in Europe, the fight for the African market for these international firms has gotten intense.