This is the second article in a series that covers the road to market. In Part Two, we will cover what it takes to follow the more traditional road to market of developing your own distillery. This is by far the most expensive and time-intensive route, but it’s one that allows for the flexibility of creative expression and provides the artistic outlet and lifestyle of physically crafting your own product, which appeals to many distillers.
The Start-Up Costs
The answer … Continue reading
At the heart of choosing a path to market for a start-up distillery is how to best spend precious limited resources and whether it is better to build your own distillery or outsource your production.
Like many start-up businesses, the answer lies in your time and investment parameters: how quickly you would like to get to market, what your flexibility is to change course once launched and how to plan and support expansion.
This is the first article in a … Continue reading
The ready-to-drink (RTD) category has transformed itself from cheap, sugary cocktails with inferior ingredients to a new premium space that is being driven by the craft spirits movement.
No longer relegated to the dusty bottom shelves of retail, these premium RTDs are setting a new bar for the category’s reputation by emphasizing craft and quality as much as convenience, and very well may be the new frontier of opportunity and cash flow for many craft spirits producers. According to IBIS … Continue reading
Improving your craft brand’s online presence and your consumer’s virtual experience has never been more important.
With Covid-19 lockdowns shutting down or at least severely reducing the number of visitors to distilleries, restaurants and bars across the US, craft distilleries have seen their ability to sell their product plummet while consumers have flocked online to purchase their favorite libations.
There are now more than 40 states where consumers can purchase liquor online because regulations for selling spirits direct-to-consumer are relaxing, … Continue reading
If there was ever an opportunity to both support your local community and build brand awareness for your distillery, it is now.
With tasting rooms, restaurants, bars and many retail outlets shutdown over the past couple months due to Covid-19, many distilleries saw a freefall in sales. Once the legal hurdles were cleared, many distilleries quickly shifted to producing hand sanitizer instead of their high-quality, craft products. This shift in production not only answered the call of their country to … Continue reading
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials are anyone born between 1981 and 1996. This massive segment of the population is now 83.1 million people or more than a quarter of the U.S. population and now larger than the baby boomer generation (75.4 million).
The youngest Millennials are in their early 20s, and the oldest are coming up on 40. Far from the assumed monolith of sameness, Millennials are instead comprised of an extremely diverse landscape of life stages, values … Continue reading
The craft spirits boom has flooded the market with thousands of new brands that have successfully carved out a niche for themselves by leveraging package designs that promise quality through evocative design and hand-crafted sensibilities.
Over the past few years, many trends in craft spirits packaging have emerged. Some work well, others may be played out and one may be gaining traction. There is no silver bullet, however, knowing the lay of the land is critical and worth considering when … Continue reading
For many start-up alcohol companies the question of whether to build a Branded House vs. House of Brands is a critical one to answer for their company and brand’s future success.
Whether you plan on launching just one product or dozens, considering your company’s strategy for brand architecture and how it will evolve over time is a critical first step to ensure your brand’s success and ultimately, its strength in the market.
The Branded House vs. House of Brands comparison … Continue reading
Whether a start-up or an established producer looking to expand, developing a realistic and well thought-out marketing plan and budget is crucial to success.
Rule #1: Remember, you are in the business of selling, more than you are in the business of producing.
Many a passionate producer has failed in thinking that the exceptional quality of their product alone would trump a well thought-out marketing strategy. In fact, your ability to influence consumer trial and cultivate brand loyalty are in … Continue reading
Ensure your website redesign starts off on the right foot by following these key tips.
Often the most widely seen face of your brand, your website has to leave a good impression. As Director of Product Marketing for HubSpot Meghan Keaney Anderson points out in her article for Inc., companies retool their sites on average every 18-24 months. While the ever-changing online environment can make for new and unique challenges, these website redesign tips for alcohol brands will help you … Continue reading
4 ways alcohol beverage producers can reduce their packaging carbon footprint without sacrificing functionality or design.
Wineries and distilleries alike are showing their support for the environment by employing sustainable practices when it comes to their packaging. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, advances in sustainable materials and technologies are providing plenty of options for producers to “go green”.
While glass bottles have always been the gold standard for wine packaging, more recently, some cost sensitive and earth conscious … Continue reading
Navigating the legal waters of intellectual property can be tricky – here’s what you need to know when it comes to the two most common terms.
Ensuring your brand is legally protected is crucial if you’re going to compete in the ever-crowding alcohol beverage market. When it comes to developing your logo, package design, and other intellectual property, it’s important to know the difference between Copyright vs. Trademark so that you know what to protect, and how. Failing to ensure … Continue reading
When consumers are choosing a wine, spirit or beer from the shelf or at a restaurant, they are influenced both by analytical and aesthetic cues provided by the packaging and its label hierarchy of information. Here’s what you need to know about this delicate balance to influence consumers to choose your product over your competitor’s.
In very general terms a typical label hierarchy from most prominent to the least prominent is as follows:
- Brand Name
- Product Type/Flavor (Gin,
Sharing your alcohol branding budget with your creative agency up front will ensure a more efficient RFP process, an accurate proposal that addresses your specific needs and the beginning of a business relationship that is based on trust and transparency.
Every time a prospect reaches out to my agency with an RFP, one of the first questions we ask is, “What’s your budget?”. Some prospects are hesitant to share this information for fear of being “ripped of.” They are afraid … Continue reading
A good market positioning statement is crucial to successfully developing a new alcohol beverage brand or repositioning an existing one.
Before beginning a design project, I walk my clients through a comprehensive creative brief. A good portion of this brief is devoted to analyzing and visualizing the market positioning goals of the brand so that we can develop a design solution that is not only aesthetically beautiful, but appropriately positioned within the target market. Once you’ve developed your … Continue reading
Considerations brand owners should be aware of when developing their brand launch and distribution strategy.
You’ve finally done it, congratulations! You have created your product, developed your brand identity and packaging and now you are ready to get your finished labor of love into the hands (and mouths) of your consumers by bringing your brand to market. While it may seem like the bulk of your work is behind you, you still have some big decisions to make with how … Continue reading
How to choose the right distributor for your alcohol beverage brand.
Though the popularity (and legality) of direct to consumer sales is growing, the “bread and butter” sales channel for alcohol beverages is the 3-Tier system. Finding the right distributor for you is crucial to your brand’s success. Distributors come in all shapes and sizes but here are the 3 of the most common:
Top Supplier Distributor
These distributors often have a leading market share in particular state or region … Continue reading
Well executed marketing materials such as brand sales sheets, tasting notes and shelf talkers will ensure that your brand is working hard for you in the market.
DON’T STOP…. You have completed so much hard work by establishing your brand story and your new package and now you are ready to introduce it to the world. Whether you are presenting to consumers directly, distributor teams or retail accounts, don’t enter the arena empty-handed.
4 Keys to Successful Marketing Materials
How to leverage the Direct-to-Consumer sales channel to great success.
The Direct to Consumer sales channel, while relatively new for the wine sector, is gaining popularity as a way to maximize profits for brand owners by avoiding the challenges of the three tier system.As new legislation continues to take affect, this powerful new opportunity is sure to grow. While this new channel provides both direct contact and communication opportunities with the consumer, it is crucial to manage it correctly in … Continue reading
4 packaging innovations and considerations brand owners should be aware of while implementing a new design.
Utilizing the latest packaging technologies and innovations is a great way to optimize your brand’s presence and win mindshare with consumers. Below are 4 great packaging innovations along with tips on how to implement them, sources and packaging examples where they can be used cost effectively.
- Cast Metal, Pewter and Wood Labels
Labels are no longer relegated to paper alone. Now you can source … Continue reading
Check your pretense at the door – Millennials are taking the wine industry by storm, and it’s time for marketers to take note.
As Millennials come of legal drinking age they are consuming more wine than any other generation before them. This new demographic has brought a different type of demand to an industry that, up until now, has largely been driven by tradition. Not any more – from wine cocktails to alternative packaging, Millennials are changing the way we … Continue reading
A great redesign can reinvigorate a brand, but it’s crucial to choose correctly between making a Revolutionary vs. Evolutionary redesign.
It’s a common belief that the motivation for a package design change is largely in the hands of the brand´s owners, but in actuality it’s the competition that compels the need for change.
The brand owners, however, must spend the time to diagnose their brand thoroughly in order to decide whether to make a revolutionary vs. evolutionary redesign. This process … Continue reading
Working with creative agencies can deliver fantastic results and provide you with a tangible return on your investment, but finding the right fit between your company, brand and an agency can be a daunting task.
To set you out on the path for success BEFORE your project even begins, you should take some important factors into consideration as you search for the right creative partner. A little bit of due diligence will pay off later by saving you the headaches … Continue reading
Rising dry goods costs, new innovations and tamper-safe concerns may lead to the end of capsules as we know them.
Key phrase here – as we know them.
Capsules have long been thought as the finishing element on a bottle of alcohol, a secondary closure over a cork or other bottle closure that acts as the “crown” finishing touch on a bottle for wine and spirits – but a shift has been gaining momentum in recent years.
The 3 developments … Continue reading
Like great entrepreneurs, effective leaders, and influential individuals, successful alcohol brands have a distinct set of traits that set them apart from the rest.
Competition for market share in the wine, beer, and spirits categories has never been fiercer, making it more important than ever to assess whether your brand has the qualities necessary for success.
The following are the most common qualities of successful alcohol beverage brands.
- Consumer Knowledge
The most successful alcohol brands have a thorough knowledge of
Custom glass bottles can provide a unique look and provide large brand benefits, but brand owners must evaluate the pros and cons.
Everyone knows that your alcohol brand package has to work hard on the retail shelf and on the back bar to attract consumer attention. Custom bottles are a powerful way to achieve this end, especially when finished with complimenting packaging components.
But brand owners must fully consider the ramifications of committing to a custom bottle before … Continue reading
Color in branding plays an integral role in reaching your consumer, driving engagement and boosting SALES.
Color, though one of the most obvious elements of your brand’s identity and packaging, is often one of the most overlooked, underleveraged and misunderstood. Below, I discuss how color can impact your branding and marketing efforts along with the three reasons to leverage color in your alcohol packaging.
3 Reasons to Leverage Color in Your Alcohol Packaging
- Color Communicates Your Product’s Key Attributes
Since … Continue reading
Important insights in to how and why Americans buy wine today.
Sonoma State University conducts an annual survey on the American wine consumer. Their most recent research answers some elusive questions including: How do they choose a wine? Where do they purchase their wine? and do they leverage social media?
How American Consumers Decide To Purchase a Wine
Despite what many may assume, after considering price and varietal, consumers decide to purchase a wine largely on brand (74%) and rely … Continue reading
Creating a narrative that engages your consumer and embraces their lifestyle will build brand loyalty and bolster your bottom line.
The power of stories in consumer engagement is undeniable, but often deciding how to develop your alcohol brand’s story presents a more difficult challenge. In the following article, I’ve outlined some keys to developing killer stories that will appeal to your consumer, grab their attention, and engage their imagination.
The goal of telling effective stories about your brand should … Continue reading
Whether we are aware of it or not, deeply rooted subconscious cultural assumptions often drive our purchase intent and reinforce our decision after purchase.
Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs.… Continue reading
Jonathan Becher is a technology and marketing expert and the Chief Digital Officer at SAP. He recently wrote a Forbes article entitled, “The Psychology of Wine Labels” and was kind enough to reference my book, 99 Bottles of Wine:
“In his new book, 99 Bottles of Wine: The Making of the Contemporary Wine Label, Schuemann reveals the strategy behind the company’s most successful packaging designs. The book contains a wide variety of photographs of some of the most eye-catching … Continue reading
A thorough creative brief is the secret to getting the most effective, targeted, high-quality work possible from your creative agency.
Why Write a Creative Brief?
- It includes key contacts
- It captures all background information and mindshare
- It connects objectives with strategic sales initiatives
- It outlines all deliverables
- It includes budget and timelines
- It defines your audience
- It sets style, tone and creative parameters
- It includes any brand guidelines
- It outlines production parameters and limitations
- It establishes ideal COGs (Packaging/Print)
It’s time to get disruptive with your wine packaging or risk becoming invisible to consumers.
As the number of brands in the wine industry continues to skyrocket, the task ahead for marketers is more difficult than ever. In 2014 alone, the TTB approved over 100,000 new wine labels. Compounding the issue is the wine consumers’ declining ability to differentiate between this myriad of choices within a category where product attributes overlap considerably. With the number of SKUs on-shelf growing at … Continue reading
Distinct pricing, clear hierarchy, product connection, and thoughtful planning are crucial for consumer engagement and vertical growth.
Proper tiering plays a powerful role in alcohol beverage branding. Designing the packaging appropriately for each price point, product type and quality level is crucial in order to avoid confusion amongst the various tiers. A properly designed system will help attract consumers seeking products at particular price points and provide a strong family look for your brand portfolio. If designed improperly, products in … Continue reading
3 Reasons Why Packaging Can Drive Sales More Than Advertising.
Packaging and advertising are both crucial components to any marketing mix, but which one has more influence at the time consumers make their purchase decision? More importantly, which one is giving you a better ROI?
The correct balance of investment between packaging and advertising is even more crucial for smaller brands with limited budgets. Packaging is a proven ally on the front lines of the retail environment.
Here are 3 … Continue reading
While no consumer research is foolproof, following simple steps can ensure you avoid making critical mistakes (and wasting a lot of money) when conducting research on a new package design.
There’s nothing like having that extra security of research to validate what your gut-instinct is telling you about your packaging. Here are 3 suggestions to consider for your next research project:
- Plan Ahead – What do you want to learn or confirm?
Make sure the research you will conduct can … Continue reading
Every brand has a story. Tell it well and you’ll give your customers a reason to believe and, better yet, to buy.
Volumes have been written about how to build a strong brand, but where should you start? While there are many ways to develop strong brands, there is a common DNA that runs throughout all successful alcohol brands — a strong, well-thought-out and clearly defined brand essence.
The brand essence is the most elemental part of your brand.… Continue reading
Why Consumers Purchase Package Over Product
One of the keys to creating a successful alcohol beverage brand that breaks through the ever-growing crowd of offerings is exceptional design and packaging. There is no question about it: with all sorts of consumer products including alcoholic beverages, visually appealing packaging piques our interest, invites trial, and assists our recall of a brand we tried. New research even suggests that packaging even affects our taste perception of the quality of the product.
If … Continue reading
Why bargains for design and branding services may not be such a great deal after all.
Over the past few years there have been an alarming number of stories from colleagues and clients alike that were burnt by a “bargain” from a design firm or freelancer. Initially thinking they were getting a deal they later discovered their projects ended up costing them a small fortune in time and money and/or results that fell short of expectations. Here are a few … Continue reading
HENRYs (High-Earning-Not-Rich-Yet) are the lucrative next generation of consumers being targeted by luxury alcohol brands in the US.
As the HENRY demographic matures, they may become the next generation of the ultra-luxury consumers; making the investment in gaining their loyalty early an opportunity that will appreciate over time.
The American middle class has lost some of its spending power, even with recent economic gains over the past several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 Consumer … Continue reading
Discover the 10 rules for developing a killer brand name for alcohol beverage branding.
Naming and branding can be a powerful combination when developed correctly. Together they form the vision and the essence of your brand, communicate the benefit of your product, and ultimately support an emotional connection with your target consumer.
Developing and choosing a name is a delicate balance of art and science. Names that follow these 10 key rules will have the greatest chance of success:
6 telltale signs that it’s time for a package redesign.
Whether you’re a boutique producer or a multi-million case global brand, the time will inevitably come for a package redesign. For better or for worse, market success simply doesn’t allow for stagnancy – it demands change to keep up with trends, expanded product lines, and maintain engagement with your core consumers.
If you’re still using “Boomer” marketing tactics, your brand is destined to be a “bust”.
Love them or hate them, Millennials currently represent $200 billion in direct spending power, 25% of the population and are on track to make up 75% of the total workforce by 2025 (CMSwire.com).
I work with brand and marketing managers on a daily basis that struggle with how to make their brands appeal to the next generation of the American consumer. What’s … Continue reading
Black labels were once assumed to be recessive and ominous, but today black is one of the hottest new colors in alcohol packaging.
Your packaging is, in many cases, the first experience the consumer has with your brand. Use of color can communicate volumes to your consumer before they ever pick up your product.
Black has been a standard in sectors like consumer electronics and automotive for years, but was considered taboo for the food and beverage categories. Previously thought … Continue reading
With the marketplace becoming increasingly crowded, learn how to make your packaging POP on shelf.
With the introduction of new products, package redesigns, and an abundance of general point of sale materials, the wine and liquor isle at your favorite market can be a tough place to compete for the consumer’s attention – all the more reason to make your packaging POP!
Ensure you are reaching your core consumer in the best way:
Take the time to do a little … Continue reading
Save money, time, and headaches with some simple considerations.
You’ve spent months developing a new brand package and all that is left is to get it produced. Unfortunately, there is no easy button…There are, however, several easy things to consider that will ensure you new packaging is flawlessly produced and avoid production nightmares.
Bottle – Size Does Matter.
A label has to be applied to something… and most of the time it’s a bottle. If you are developing a custom … Continue reading
Packaging is a crucial driver of initial trial, perception of quality and repurchase decisions.
The overwhelming number of choices in the marketplace makes choosing a wine, beer, spirit or any other product a difficult task. Exceptional packaging can be one of the keys to cutting through the noise and standing out from the crowd.
The three reasons exceptional packaging will benefit your brand:
Numerous studies have been conducted to determine the extrinsic versus intrinsic factors that affect how … Continue reading