New Belgium Brewing Company began with a bike ride of a mountain bike with “fat tires” through Belgium. Inspired by Belgian brewing creativity, Jeff Lebesch an American electrical engineer wondered could he return to Fort Collins and produce the high quality beer like those in Belgium. Lebesch starting experimenting out of his basement and decided to market the beer after getting the thumbs up from his friends. New Belgium opened for business in 1991 operating out of Lebesch basement. Lebesch wife, Kim Jordan was the marketing director. The first beer that they named was the Fat Tire Amber Ale in tribute to Lebesch bike ride through Belgium. The brewery soon outgrew the basement and was in need of a new space which led them to move into an old railroad depot before moving into their new building in 1995. The standard line includes Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Pilsner, Abbey Ale, Trippel Ale, 1554 Black Ale, and the original Fat Tire Ale which is still the best seller. NBB also has seasonal ales which included Frambozen and Abbey Grand Cru which are sold during Thanksgiving and Christmas and Farmhouse Ale which is sold during the fall. New Belgium is the third largest craft brewery in America with Sam Adams in at number one and Sierra Nevada at number two. New Belgium is recognized as a “paradigm of environmental efficiencies.” NBB only advertising was word of mouth until 2005. After consulting with David Holt, an Oxford professor and Marketing Director Greg Owsley brand identity was founded for NBB. The ads helped position the growing brand and NBB maintained it promotion strategy through event sponsorships.
New Belgium Ethical culture has a fundamental focus on the ethical culture of the brand. NBB business has embraced the citizenship in the community. NBB believes that the mandate for social responsibility goes more than just in the courtroom.NBB had its values and brand in place long before the company had its marketing department in place. NBB branding strategies are integrated in the company values as in other business practices. NBB is
dedicated to the quality of the environment and its employees and customers. NBB purpose is to operate a profitable company which makes NBB love of talent manifest (www.newbelgium.com). The company core values and beliefs tell about its role as an environmentally concerned and socially responsible brewer. NBB believes to be environmental stewards, we need to: 1. Loving care for the planet that sustain them.
2. Honor natural resources by closing the loops between waste and input. 3. Minimize the environmental impact of shipping their beer. 4. Reduce NBB dependence on coal-fired electricity.
5. Protect NBB precious Rocky Mountain water Resources.
6. Focus efforts on conservation and efficiency.
7. Support innovative technology.
8. Model joyful environmentalism through commitment to relationships, continuous improvement and the camaraderie and cheer of beer.
Employee concerns at NBB can be recognized as apart of the company success. NBB provides many benefits to its employees such as paid health and dental insurance and retirement plans, employees get free lunch once a week and a free massage once a year and they can bring their kids and dogs to work. Once employees stay with the company for five years they receive an all expense paid trip to Belgium to study the culture of beer. Employees can also earn stock in the company that gives them a chance to make a decision in the company. Employees are allowed to see the financial records. NBB environmental concern marketing strategy involves quality of products as well as their brand. NBB uses top environmental gadgets and high-tech advancements to employee ownership programs and a belief in giving back to the community. NBB tries to be cost-efficient, energy-saving alternatives to conducting business and reducing the impact on its environment. NBB invests in wind turbine, making NBB the first fully wind-powered brewery in the United States. NBB also conserves energy by using sun tubes which provide natural daytime lighting. NBB makes efforts to reduce waste through recycling and creative reuse strategies. NBB encourages its employees its employees to reduce pollution by using alternative transportation. NBB gives its employees cruiser bikes after one year of employment and encourages them
to ride to work. NBB is also a participant in green building. NBB uses three R’s which are reduce, reuse, and recycle. Recycling at NBB utilizes turning waste products into something that is new and useful. NBB social concerns strive to improve communities and enhance people lives through corporate giving, event sponsorship, and philanthropic involvement. NBB has donated more than $1.6 million to organizations in the communities in which they do business (Ferrell & Hartline, 2008). NBB also maintains a community bulletin board in its facility where it posts an array of community involvement activities and proposals. NBB also sponsors a number of events with special focus on human-powered that cause minimal damage to the natural environment. NBB also combines it social and environmental missions.
NBB makes efforts to live up to its own high standard which includes the winner of Business Ethics Awards for dedication to environmental excellence. NBB also won honorable mention in the Better Business Bureau’s 2002 Torch Award for Outstanding Marketplace Ethics competition. NBB has created a positive image by making smart decision making. NBB promotes responsible appreciation of beer through its participation in the support of the culinary arts. NBB received the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional Environmental Achievement Award. NBB distributes to sixteen states: Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arkansas, California, and Illinois. NBB environmental concern and social responsibility give it a competitive advantage because consumers want to believe in and feel good about the products they purchase.
1. Explain the concept of competitive advantage and identify the competitive advantages possessed by New Belgium Brewing. Discuss how the company effectively manages customers’ perceptions.
CSR concept integrates social and environmental concerns in the business operations and in their interactions with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis. Social responsibility is a contract between corporations and society based on long-term social demands and expectations (Lantos, 2001). Socially responsible organizations adopt a system of governance, which expects people
to take responsibility for their jobs, for continually improving the systems within which they work and delivering customer value. Leaders of the organizations have high expectation of their people but they do not bully their employees to keep them in line (Spitzer, 2010). New Belgium is alternatively empowered which means making business decisions based on minimizing environmental impact encouraging the growth of their employees, owners, and being socially responsible contributors to their community (newbelgium.com). New Belgium core values and beliefs are as follow. 1. Producing world-class beers
2. Promoting beer culture and the responsible enjoyment of beer 3. Continuous, innovative quality and efficiency improvements 4. Transcending customers’ expectations
5. Environmental stewardship: minimizing resource consumption, maximizing energy efficiency, and recycling 6. Kindling social, environmental, and cultural change as a business role model 7. Cultivating potential: through learning, participative management, and the pursuit of opportunities. 8. Balancing the myriad needs of the company, staff, and their families. 9. Committing ourselves to authentic relationships, communications, and promises. 10. Having fun.
2. What environmental issues does the New Belgium Brewing Company work to address? How has NBB taken a strategic approach to addressing these issues? Why do you think the company has taken such a strong stance toward sustainability?
NBB’s environmental concern and social responsibility give it the competitive advantage because consumers want to believe in and feel good about the products they purchase. NBB most important asset is its image a corporate brand that stands for quality, responsibility, and concern for society. NBB sees itself as a caring organization that is concerned with all stakeholders, including the community, the environment, and employees. New Belgium is profitable not inspite of our social and environmental efforts but because of them. New Belgium is not only passionate about great beer it also important to NBB to try to be a role model of sustainable business practices. NBB conduct the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was brought about 17 years ago by the founders and was used as a tool for accounting of material and energy flows during each stage of a product life and assessment of associated environmental impact. NBB used the assessment to decrease the carbon footprint per barrel as we grow, to be accountable for environmental impact throughout product lifecycle, and to get data to focus their efforts to have the biggest impact (www.newbelgium.com).
Should New Belgium Brewing Company be incorporating ethics and social responsibility to enhance their competitive marketing advantage? What do you think are the potential pros and cons?
Organizations that choose to walk the social responsible path do so for a number of reasons. The primary motivation is the simple desire to do the right thing not just for shareholders but also for all stakeholders including employees, customers, and society. Ethical obligations are to do what is right, just, and fair. NBB can enhance by incorporating more green marketing which will improve environmental quality and customer satisfaction. By utilizing its brand NBB can be defined as more than just a beer company instead it will be seen as an organization that is ethical and socially responsible.
Ferrell, O.C., & Hartline, M., (2008) Marketing Strategy, 4th Edition, Cengage Publishing Lantos, G.P. (2001). The boundaries of strategic corporate social responsibility. Journal ofConsumer Marketing, 18(7), 595-632.
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Spitzer, Randy. Journal for Quality and Participation, Oct 2010, Vol. 33, Issue 3, p13-17, 5p
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