Mon, Nov 24, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Heineken office embodies brand’s personality, value

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

A view of the guest room of Heineken’s office in Taipei.

Photo: Courtesy of Heineken Taiwan

Heineken’s house-warming party commercial, where a group of men scream and cheer as they enter a walk-in fridge filled with Heineken beers, became a worldwide hit.

A glass wall filled with Heineken bottles at the company’s Taipei office often elicits yells from visitors.

“I didn’t hear you screaming,” Heineken Taiwan’s general manager Peter Huizing said during a recent interview with the Taipei Times, as he invited the reporter to scream together for a few seconds.

Anyone who visits the company’s Taipei office for the first time will find it hard not to be impressed by its brick-walled guest room, which is decorated with warm lights, sofas and bar stools. It not only looks like a bar, it is one.

“Yes, we have a bar next to our office,” Huizing said. “We come here for coffee, tea or just to relax ... of course alcoholic drinks are only available after office hours.”

The atmosphere at the company’s newly renovated office on the 23rd floor of a building in Taipei’s Xinyi District, is nothing but relaxing.

Behind the reception desk hangs a huge hollow Heineken star, but the artwork transforms into a big sailing ship when looked from the side.

“The work entails two meanings about Heineken,” Huizing said.

It suggests the flow of energy and one of the brand’s famous slogans, “Beer can travel,” he said.

Having worked for Heineken for 13 years, Huizing has traveled to 20 to 30 cities and lived in four countries.

Asked if he had encountered any cultural shocks when he came to Taiwan four years ago, Huizing thought about it for a few seconds, before saying: “No, I don’t think so.”

“I had lived in Europe, the Caribbean and Africa before I moved to Taiwan,” he said.

“In fact, I was born in Asia, so it felt really good to come back,” he added.

“Taiwan touches my heart and Taiwan stole my heart,” he said, stressing that he has never been to a country where people are as friendly, helpful and just very easy to get along with, as in Taiwan.

“Here in Taiwan, people are so polite. The only fight I had was in an elevator, when a stranger and I were convincing each other that the other one should be the first to get out of the elevator,” he said, laughing.

Culture shock is a matter of whether you have respect for others or not, Huizing said, adding that he believes people will get what they give.

If people respect others, then they will get the other’s respect, he said, adding that this is true for companies as well.

“We live the values, not just talk about it,” he said.

Heineken has 119 employees in Taiwan, with a retention rate over 90 percent, he said.

“We work as a team and I am very proud of them,” Huizing said, “It is very important to respect every team member.”

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