Capability Innovation: Beer Works - Building an Advocacy Programme
Client: Lion


The Australian beer market has been in decline for the last four decades with more than a 5%+ drop in consumption in the last 10 years alone. A core drive has been the steady increase in consumer preference for spirits, RTDs, wine, and ciders over beer, largely fuelled by negative social and functional perceptions (misunderstanding of the beverage has led to perceptions that it is loutish, ‘bogan’, fattening, unsophisticated etc).  As the market leader, Lion knew that failure to address these perceptions would continue to undermine their business.

Our Brief

Lion wanted to evolve the culture around beer in Australia and believed external change could not happen without building a more powerful internal advocacy.

Our brief was to createa cultural change programme of education and engagement which will provide Lion people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to effectively advocate beer inside and outside of the workplace”. Our core objectives were to: 1) create an ongoing journey for Lion people, 2) be accessible for all levels of the business and 3) be self-sustaining; i.e. the project team would provide the framework but Lion’s people would need to be able to own and run the programme themselves.  

Our Approach

Advocacy comprises many different facets: loyalty, worship, teaching, storytelling etc. Thus, we examined best practice around the world from these perspectives in order to build a multi-layered advocacy programme:

  • we followed the 70:20:10 model of experiential:collaborative:formal learning, through a series of ongoing challenges and set piece learning events
  • we broke the denser (but vital) content around beer history, brewing and beer appreciation into engaging animations that were easy to re-watch and easy to share
  • we applied gamification to create a 4-tier loyalty journey
  • and we put mobile at the heart of the experience, so that learning and advocacy could be achieved in real time and in the drinking occasions when it was most needed

How to Impact designed the content, built the programme structure and led the team through rounds of prototyping and pilots for all structured education sessions.

The complete Beer Works programme contains 4 levels of advocacy, multiple interactive and hands-on workshops, dozens of discovery and communication challenges and more than 20 animated videos. Most importantly, the programme applies as much to an experienced brewer as it does to a beer novice from an office support function.



Since its launch in September 2014, more than 1,500 Lion staff (90% of the business) have moved through the programme, which has now been extended to retail partners and is being considered for a full launch to consumers.

The Beer Works program has contributed to a sizeable rise in key metrics, such as a 40% increase in mastery of ‘How to pour, taste and appreciate a beer’ or a rise in the number of people in the business who understand ‘why different beer styles are the way they are’ from 48% to 67% of staff.

“How To Impact’s vision and ingenuity is exactly what a significant cultural change project of this scale and complexity required. It was the team at H2i’s enthusiasm, energy and determination which was critical for building such momentum, both in the lead up to launch and beyond.” – John Green – Innovation Director

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