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Five Questions with Ann Legan, Vice President of Brand Marketing, Corona USA, Constellation Brands


Ann Legan, Vice President of Brand Marketing, Corona USA, Constellation Brands 

What are the big success stories for your鈥痓rand over the last 12 months that have driven your brand strength and growth? 

As a consumer-driven organization,鈥痠t is our goal鈥痶o deliver鈥痮n the ever-evolving needs of our鈥痗onsumer.鈥疧ver the past 18 months,鈥痺e saw鈥痜irst-hand鈥痶hat鈥痗onsumers gravitate toward trusted brands during uncertain times. Over the years,鈥痺e have built鈥痵ignificant brand love that has helped Corona鈥痬aintain relevance and a strong market share, while remaining true to our brand heritage and DNA. Corona has continued to communicate a consistent and authentic message to meet consumers where they are.

During what was an unusual year, Corona stayed the course and showcased our commitment through strong marketing plans debuting during high-profile moments.鈥 We really listened to consumers and brought a new campaign to life at a big moment in the fall of 2020 鈥 the return of live sports. The Corona brand shared our 鈥渞efreshed perspective鈥 with the world, debuting a new Spanish language tagline and positioning platform 鈥撯疞a Vida M谩s Fina.鈥疶his campaign was the first time we brought our entire brand family under one marketing umbrella, led by our flagship, Corona Extra. We brought this campaign to life through the eyes of Snoop and Bad Bunny. Later, Zoe Saldana was introduced highlighting one of our brand extensions, Corona Premier.鈥疞a Vida M谩s Fina鈥痠s a celebration of Corona鈥檚 proud Mexican heritage and underscores the role of the brand in contemporary US culture. These ambassadors brought their unique perspective to how they live the Fine Life and helped elevate our cultural relevance.

Corona also continued to stretch the brand in the innovation space, building on our Masterbrand equity while staying authentic to our heritage. Corona is known for being refreshing and extensions like the recently introduced Corona Hard Seltzer give鈥痷s a flavor profile that shows consumers we鈥檙e playing in the ABA space, but in a way only Corona can do.

Finally, Corona鈥檚 iconic O鈥橳annenpalm spot鈥痺as back in rotation for the holiday season, marking its 30th consecutive year on TV.鈥疻e consider this long-running ad a shining example of the cultural resonance of the Corona brand, as it is one of the longest airing commercials of all-time. Every year it helps reground people in the holiday spirit, which is one thing that didn鈥檛 have to change in 2020.鈥

Thinking about the customer: we have a hypothesis that consumers once made purchases to signify their economic capital, then later to signify their intellectual capital, and most recently to signal their “ethical capital”. Does this hypothesis resonate with you and how do you address it from a brand standpoint? What about your brand do you fix & what do you flex?鈥

Our鈥痝oal is to build brands that people love. By doing this, you need to have a clear sense鈥痮f鈥痺hat the brand represents, and for鈥疌orona Extra鈥痺e鈥檝e鈥痙one years of work to understand that. We have a strong foundation and an emotional essence鈥痶hat continues to resonate.鈥 As a brand, Corona believes that people purchase based on emotional capital 鈥 how a brand makes them feel, what memories it evokes, where they are transported 鈥 when they drink our product. For more than 30 years in the US, the Corona brand has consistently stood for relaxation, and we continue to show up in ways that satisfy this need for consumers, most recently with the introduction of the La Vida Mas Fina campaign that encourages drinkers to refresh their perspective and retain a positive outlook.

If we dig a bit further into 鈥渆thical capital鈥, we have certainly seen consumer desire for purpose-driven work increase in recent years. However, it鈥檚 important that as a brand we respond in a way that is meaningful and not simply checking a box. We need to demonstrate real action and long-term commitment. It was in this spirit that we developed and launched the Corona Protect Our Beaches Campaign, an initiative designed to preserve beaches across the US. Corona has long been synonymous with beaches because of what they represent, places to relax and refresh our perspectives, a mindset that has guided the brand for nearly 100 years. As part of this initiative, Corona USA has partnered with Oceanic Global, a non-profit leader in ocean conservation, to clean up 100 beaches and remove 1 million pounds of plastic from beaches, waterways and its business by its 100th birthday in 2025.

Corona believes that people purchase based on emotional capital 鈥 how a brand makes them feel, what memories it evokes, where they are transported 鈥 when they drink our product

Increasingly, we see that traditional industry or category conventions are less helpful to understand a brands’ commercial landscape, and that understanding and planning around consumer motivations or desires gives a better sense of the true competition.鈥疍oes this hypothesis resonate with you and how do you address it from a brand standpoint?鈥

We are a consumer-obsessed organization, and our deep consumer insight is what drives how we activate our brand. 

Post-COVID, post Social Justice – the world is starting to settle back to a new normal. How have these events affected your brand strategy?鈥

We always have been, and will continue to be, consumer led. Listening to consumer feedback based on what鈥檚 going on around us is key for brands to create meaningful programming that resonates with our audience. The pandemic continues to impact brands today and as we look to the future 鈥 by and large, we experienced similar challenges to most other marketers 鈥 brand communications had to be reassessed鈥痑nd recalibrated.鈥疧ur team, of course, had the added challenge of sharing the name with the virus, which meant everything had to be viewed through an extra discerning and sensitive lens, which led us to the decision to pause many of our marketing efforts and update others鈥痠n real time.鈥

As a brand we always keep our consumer in the forefront, so we continue to tap resources and partners to get a finer point on our insights. We are committed to a fully integrated approach鈥痓ased on real consumer insights鈥痶o inform our鈥痑ctions.鈥疧ur findings reinforce the consumer鈥檚 desires and expectations for what brands should deliver. It is apparent that our brand name made it that much more important to鈥痩aunch meaningful鈥痬oments,鈥痙eveloped with intent, and鈥痶hat held鈥痳eal impact鈥痜or鈥痮ur audience.

Throughout the challenges faced in 2020, demand and sales for Corona remained incredibly strong, and we鈥檝e found that our fans and loyalists have been actively looking to support the brand even more. To us, this demonstrates a consumer connection that we are proud of and want to continue delivering. Today, we are committed to showing up in a way that is truly representative of our place in culture and the strength of our voice. 

We will continue to put the consumer at the center of our plans with initiatives that play to their sense of purpose, passion points, taste preferences and motivations

What are the major disruptors and accelerators of competition and brand growth on your horizon?  

We will continue to put the consumer at the center of our plans with initiatives that play to their sense of purpose, passion points, taste preferences and motivations. 

For additional reference around our ability to speak to the US market: In 2013,鈥疌onstellation acquired鈥痶he rights to鈥疓rupo鈥疢odelo鈥檚鈥疷.S. beer business, which provided鈥疌onstellation with exclusive perpetual brand license in the U.S. to import, market and sell Corona and the Modelo brands and the freedom to develop brand extensions and innovations for the U.S. market.鈥疶he U.S. distributed Corona portfolio is brewed in Mexico by Constellation Brands.鈥