It has been a tough year for Carlsberg in Malaysia when its net profit
has dropped and the company has been losing some market share to its
main rival Guinness Anchor Bhd (GAB), not to mention that Malaysia now
has the second highest duty on beer after Norway. Despite these
hardships Carlsberg is already on defense with a management revamp
leaded by its new general manager for Marketing Ole Søvsø Nielsen.
New Team, New Strategies
strong support from its parent company in Denmark, Malaysia now has a
brand new management team with goals to change the branding of its
product, to have a stronger portfolio of brands, to become more
efficient in production and sales and to increase the number of
“The restructuring had resolved the problems that
affected the company previously. What the company needs is a tweaking
in some places and what it experienced in the past was not a crisis,”
says Nielsen who has been with Carlsberg for almost ten years and
previously worked as Marketing Chief for the Tuborg Brand at Carlsberg
Denmark and also post as Marketing Director in the Export and license
section in Carlsberg Copenhagen.
He said that Carlsberg Malaysia
had already started rebuilding itself by lowering its stock level in
the market so that it could offer fresher beer to consumers and claimed
that it offered the freshest beer in the market.
“We would also
be launching new products to its portfolio of nine brands in the next
six months. We even consider introducing new packaging, including the
use of plastic bottles that was popular in certain countries.” Nielsen
further added that Carlsberg Malaysia had also set aside a sufficient
budget that it would be spending efficiently to promote its brands.
Malaysia Beer Market
Regardless of the stiff competition within the beer and stout market in Malaysia, Carlsberg remains the market leader by far.
“GAB’s Tiger beer has been gaining market share at the expense of our
beer but they are still number two compare to us. Pricing was only one
of the many issues confronting breweries, to be in this market they
need to adapt to the changing needs of the increasing affluent
consumers,” Nielsen points out.
At the same time, beer and stout
faced tough competition from other alcoholic products such as wine and
liquor as well as low-priced imported beer and stout.To compliment this
the company hopes to grow the premium-end market in Malaysia by
introducing more of such beverages, as the demand for premium quality
drinks increased among discerning Malaysian customers.
The market in Malaysia is a bit more challenging according to Nielsen, concerns cultural different.
“It is a fact that half of the population here are not allow to drink
based on their religion background but this is not a major problem
because our biggest concern here is to take the opportunity and to beat
the competition like in any other markets. There are always people who
like to drink and those who don’t.” he explains.
Refresh Brand Image
With the new team Carlsberg Malaysia will focus more on what they can make a different to the brand.
“Change is constant because when you have a big brand like Carlsberg
what you need to do is to change a little bit here and there all the
time. I think evolution is better than revolution because the brand has
to always look fresh in the eyes of the consumer,” he says with hope
that his experience and idea will help to compliment some of Carlsberg
Malaysia’s ongoing projects.
“Carlsberg has been in Malaysia for
many years, we have a very strong brand and a long heritage which
consider very positive for us. If we don’t redo the brand every once in
a while it could become a problem.”
Recently Carlsberg has
launched a new bottle of beer looking a bit young and funky. According
to Nielsen it is very important to renew the brand through advertising,
promotions or new packaging.
“We’ve been very good at doing
things in the right way both in the trade and advertising and I think
that makes Carlsberg a strong brand in Malaysia. I also have a positive
mindset that when there’s an obstacle I only see it as a challenge or
opportunity because it is just a question of time before you could
change things.” he continues.
Carlsberg and the Community
is a multi-religious society with more than half of the population
practiced Islam. However the biggest numbers of people who drink
alcohol in this country are Chinese and they are also Carlsberg’s major
consumer in the market.
“I think Carlsberg is perceived by some
to be a more Chinese brand than other beers in the market. We’ve been
involved a lot in Chinese community’s activity, for example we helped
raising money for the Local Chinese school and many other programs. I
believe these corporate social responsibilities will draw closer
relations between Carlsberg and people in the community.” Says Nielsen.
moved to Malaysia with his wife and a newborn baby girl Marie. They are
living in Sri Hartamas, a residential suburban neighborhood in Kuala
“Malaysia is a lot like Europe in terms of systems and
how they organize things in the country. Most people can speak English
very well and it is a great place if you love food, there’re a variety
of restaurants and also affordable. So you can say that we like it here
and the baby seems to like it too, she’s been smiling all the time and
hardly get sick since we’ve been here.” says Nielsen who will continue
his post in Malaysia for another three years.
asked of goals in life Nielsen said he doesn’t have any ambitions in
changing the world but he believes that you can have a nice life if
you’re a happy positive person who can treat other people nicely 24
hours a day.
“I also want to keep on improving myself, becoming
more competent at what I’m doing, contributing in what I do in a
“I’m not really a big believer in term of career
goal that I have to be a CEO in five or ten years. If that happens then
it happens and hopefully I’ll be happy about it.”
Nielsen finishes saying his ultimate ambition is to be to happy in his everyday life.