Creating Ambev’s innovation strategy through Consumer Arenas

Ambev's innovation strategy
future scenarios



With a contemporary and user-centric methodology, we build a strategic framework to help Ambev renovate its innovation portfolio

We embarked on a major strategic challenge with Ambev: to help the company design its innovation pipeline for the coming years. Based on an innovative methodology to analyze the market through “Consumer Arenas”, we identify new innovation territories to create products, brands and experience ecosystems.

The project delivered a clear and profound vision for Ambev on the current needs of consumers, in addition to pointing out trends for areas of growth in the future. All with depth and agility in thought and execution, a hallmark of Questtonó Manyone’s hybrid design and strategy approach.

Consumer Arenas: a new approach to innovate and plan new products and services

Our methodology came from the concept of Competitive Arenas, by Professor Rita McGrath, to create a framework that analyzes the market through a plural lens. It helps us to envision consumer behavior, emerging cultural movements and design codes, altogether. We call this framework “Consumer Arenas”.

They are a way to organize the market based on people’s consumer behavior across industries. This approach is fundamental to any company’s growth strategy, as it ignores the traditional limits of the sector in which they position their portfolio and highlights the fact that competitors can come from a completely different category from ours.

When we have a clear understanding of the tasks that people are trying to accomplish through our products and services, the cultural context that fosters these tasks, and the language of interaction being used, we understand that the solution to a consumer’s problem may come from different industries, and thus discover spaces of innovation in an ecosystem of experience for them.

When we go out to celebrate the weekend, for example, we can either stay at home playing video games or also go out with friends to a bar. In the end, both experiences help the consumer in the same task, to celebrate the weekend.

The methodology has a qualitative and a quantitative point of view. With it, we measure the so-called jobs to be done, based on criteria of relevance and satisfaction, among others. We were able to have a clear overview of the relationships that shape these new arenas, the size of the opportunities and the profile of users with greater adherence. This approach provides not only clarity on where to focus, but also greater assertiveness for executives in allocating their investments.

An innovative methodology deserves an equally innovative approach: Breaking down barriers and collaborating

While analyzing the market and the territories of opportunities based on the Consumer Arenas, we also extended our participation in the effective collaborative construction of Ambev’s innovation pipeline.

We are a hybrid strategy and design consultancy, therefore we help Ambev to conduct this process. We broke down barriers, elaborated concepts and built prototypes that could show where the company was looking.

We involved diverse teams from Ambev, such as Marketing, Research and Development, Logistics, Communication and Commercial, aligning information and technologies among all.

In a series of internal creative workshops and with consumers, we generated numerous concepts to occupy the different Consumer Arenas.

We advanced with the creative results to an online quantitative survey to measure their relationship to the arena and their cultural maturity. Here, another barrier was overcome. The research process took just 2 weeks – against the 3 months the company was used to. This brought more agility to the project and allowed more iterations to be carried out on promising concepts.

Transforming ideas into concepts, and concepts into projects

Once the methodology showed us the size, relevance and satisfaction of the consumer, we worked on the concepts that were most relevant to the company’s strategy, making them tangible through already refined prototypes that could be better tested.

The project was highly collaborative. We also involved Ambev’s team of trainees to develop the pilot of concepts, creating launch plans already linked to production and marketing budgets, transforming each concept into a complete business case.

In less than 5 months, the company had a reading of the main Consumer Arenas in the market, more than 20 concepts perceived as of great value to consumers and 13 prototypes with launch plans.

For Ambev’s Head of Innovation strategy, Mayra Nogueira, the project was entirely created and developed in a consumer-centric way, a key point to transform the company’s strategy.

“The delivery brings innovation to Ambev through coordination, commitment, innovative ideas and the final result, which was very well evaluated. Without this structured process, we could not translate ideas into concepts, nor concepts into projects. The methodology used is deep enough to face the challenges and simple to be understood in a practical way. And of course, with a super competent team and partner that helped build the whole journey”, said Mayra.

For the Global Director of Research and Strategy at Questtonó Manyone, Gustavo Rosa, the role of innovation goes beyond creating products and services with great usability, aesthetics and responsibility. It involves understanding whether what we are creating is making the company play the right game and offering solutions that really speak to the current consumer culture.

“With our design thinking approach, which sees consumer-centricity in a systemic way, combined with the Consumer Arenas methodology, we have brought a new perspective to the creation of products and services. This type of approach merges creative and business thinking, while also addressing current issues for companies, ranging from internal alignment, ways of reading the consumer market, the need to materialize ideas and disseminate innovative thinking”, concludes.