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The Final Decision: Which Brand? In late 2018, a new point of tension materialized between Le and Chin. For years, Le had been following the emergence of craft brewing products in China, systematically tracking their growing success and influence in the premium and super-premium segments. He observed: It used to be that a Heineken or a Miller could waltz into China and gain share as a high-end brand because of their European or American image. But our market has shifted radically, and now high-end Chinese craft brews like Boxing Cat and Great Leap are taking market share. It's just like the United States in the 19905, when a wave of craft beers transformed the taste and image of American beer. The large breweries misjudged the trend, and in a classic case of disruption, the microbreweries snuck up and stole a

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huge share of the high-end market. That' 5 what China is poised to do now, and the recent success of Chinese craft brewers is evidence of that. Along with his local marketing team, Le had been developing a concept for this segment under the umbrella brand Forbidden City, a name referencing an imperial palace constructed during the 15th century. The team proposed to market the product only in China using an airplane— and airman- themed visual image. Initial product concept testing had verified the brand's appeal as well as its positive impact on the image of EBC's other brands. Le planned to set up two small-run brewing operations, one near Beijing and another in Shanghai. Both would produce only Forbidden City, and each would be co—located with a pub and a retail store. He hoped to receive a waiver from a Chinese government regulation on minimum bottling requirements, a rule designed to favor large producers. If that was denied, his backup plan was to produce Forbidden City as a craft beer in existing EBC domestic breweries. This proposal immediately ran afoul of the global marketing team in Singapore. After a year of secret planning, Chin's team had recently concluded a successful Singapore test market of Wild Dog, a craft-style beer. They were now in final discussions to launch it as a pan-Asian brand with the potential for global distribution. Though Wild Dog's marketing campaign would present it as a premium craft-type beer, EBC would brew it in small batches at its existing large-scale breweries. Chin said, "The brand name 'Wild Dog' was well received in focus groups. Its edgy, masculine vibe is backed by marketing themes centered on manliness and virility." Targeting affluent, young to middle-aged males, EBC's marketing team believed this brand image would clearly differentiate it from the fashionable and elite positioning of most American and European brands. "Our Singapore launch showed favorable results, and early market tests in Kuala Lumpur and Manila suggest it could succeed in those markets too," said Chin. "We now feel we could give Tsingtao a run for its money in the international market with a more modern and compelling Asian-sourced brand. " Because of her commitment to Wild Dog, Chin was quite negative when Le's team presented its Forbidden City proposal to Singapore management. She said its launch would confuse EBC distributors in China since it would appeal to the same customers as Wild Dog, and at a similar price point.

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Le pushed back. Responding to Chin's insistence that the Forbidden City proposal be shelved, he countered, Our markets don't need another faux craft beer. Wild Dog won't convey the same authenticity as Forbidden City. And its introduction won't convince my team that there's support for the innovation needed to propel the company forward in one of its most critical markets. We believe the market is ready for a strong brand that builds on national pride. In response, Chin claimed that recent news confirming Heineken's agreement to buy 40% of CR for $3.1 billion underscored the need for EBC to have a global marketing strategy rather than a local plan. But Le responded that Chin should be more concerned about a different local industry deal. He argued that AB InBev's recent purchase of the Chinese microbrewery Boxing Cat suggested that the big global players recognized that launching their own craft beers in China would be difficult. As Chin concluded the meeting, she insisted that EBC must have an integrated brand strategy, rather than respond with products for each of its respective markets. She said, "The only way EBC

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can benefit from being a global company is to act like one. We must pursue brands that have widespread appeal and enable us to coordinate our marketing campaigns across markets." Le accepted that Wild Dog' 5 early success in Singapore and promising rollouts elsewhere probably had led EBC's senior management to see it as both a budding pan-Asian opportunity and a potential global brand. But he also knew that given how committed his local team was to Forbidden City, a product that they felt was creative, innovative, and attuned to their local market, he needed to respond to Chin's challenge: "You don't know the China market like I do," he said. "If we are to grow, we need to nurture new channels and experiment with different marketing models." The exchange ended awkwardly; both Le and Chin knew that Victor Wang would need to be involved. As Wang planned for his meeting with Chin and Le, he recognized that both their arguments had merit. As he began to write up a meeting agenda, he wondered how to resolve this dispute.

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In this case study, Victor Wang faces internal conflict between members of the organisational team and wonders how to resolve the brand dispute of 'Wild Dog' and 'Forbidden City'. Leveraging

Eastern and Western perspectives as outlined by Filototchev et. al (2020), suggest a way for Victor Wang to resolve this internal conflict between members of the organisational executive over the brand dispute.

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