Podcast Ep 14 | Heineken: Stay a Local Global Brand by Facilitating, Not Dictating


Guest: Obabiyi Fagade, commercial development manager of global brands @ Heineken

Branding over Wine is hosted by Martin Schiere, an A-grade marketer himself and a regular Brandingmag contributor. Martin is a seasoned, hands-on manager and commercial leader with over 15 years of experience in accelerating or restoring growth to organizations. He combines cutting-edge strategies and marketing insights with practical implementation. His expertise definitely makes this podcast stand out.

Heineken is called ‘The Chairman’ in Nigeria. So, we give that flexibility to Nigeria to call it ‘The Chairman’, but we do not need to create a global campaign saying the ‘Chairman’ from Amsterdam. . . . We give that flexibility. That’s how we operate. Have a central idea, but give local flexibility to the markets.” – Obabiyi Fagade

As a global beer brand, Heineken promotes a spirit of open-mindedness, framing its drinkers as global citizens who respect other cultures while still reveling in the comforts of their own. In this episode of Branding Over Wine, Obabiyi Fagade, commercial development manager of global brands at Heineken, shares how the iconic Dutch beer brand cultivates this flexible yet consistent brand identity in 190 different countries all over the world.

Here, Obabiyi reveals that Heineken’s identity in Northern Europe is actually quite different from its identity in Nigeria, which are both quite different from the one in the US. Rather than view this as inconsistency within the brand, Heineken embraces it as a reflection of its open-minded, progressive nature. So, for Heineken’s 150th anniversary, they ran a campaign celebrating its shifting identity in different eras and regions.

Ultimately, the local diversity within the brand still points to its established—and beloved—global identity. Listen in for universal insights on the power of local cultures to diversify and grow global brands here.
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More about our guest

Seasoned marketing professional with over 14 years of commercial experience working in Fortune 500 companies and on some of the world’s best known brands. In his current role, Obabiyi is responsible for identifying and unlocking growth for Heineken’s global brands portfolio – Heineken, Amstel and Desperadoes across Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe.

He also supports the development of commercial competencies and creation of through-the-line communication and activation assets for Heineken’s global brands. He believes that a deep understanding of consumers’ needs and motivations as well as superior marketing and sales strategies hold the key to sustainable growth for brands and businesses.

Biyi is also very passionate about the African continent – its potential and in the building of business talents from Africa. He loves spending time mentoring and inspiring future business leaders. His curious nature fuels his hobbies of reading autobiographies and leadership books as well as spending time connecting with people.

About our host

Martin Schiere is a seasoned marketing leader and brand builder, specialized in managing multicultural teams and growing brands across markets. For over 15 years, his roles have been supporting and inspiring marketing companies such as Heineken, Unilever, and Aviko, along with various startups, to build and strengthen international brands.

He’s fascinated by what makes people tick, how values and lifestyle influence behavior – and this definitely shows in every conversation he has with our podcast guests.


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