So you’ve created a great beer, well you’re pretty proud of it — but what’s next?
You followed your passion, you’ve experimented, you’ve probably gotten it wrong a couple of times, you’ve crafted, you’ve sampled and resampled with mates, and now… now it’s ready to go out into the world.
Or perhaps this isn’t your first, perhaps you’re already doing well and this is the 5th variation, different hops, different processes and taste profiles?
But how much time have you given to developing your brand? And, if it’s working, why worry?
A great brand can be the difference between your dream becoming a reality, maintaining your passion as a long-term business that supports you, and it staying a hobby — best reserved for the shed.
By strategically thinking about your brand it’ll help you target, focus and communicate effectively. It’ll help open up more markets, make you more competitive, help you gain a more loyal following, attract more stockists and indeed more customers and consumers.
You want to move from shed passion to a commercially viable brand.
Everything should lead back to your brand positioning and values. Right?
You’ve done the hard work, you started with a purpose, your reason to exist, the ‘why’ you made the beer in the first place.
So consider your brand’s strategic positioning and values — who is your target market (no… everyone is not the answer here) and what’s your clear opportunity, can it carry through all aspects of your brand and is it something people will get behind?
Now bring your brand to life, where and how are you communicating? This will need to be delivered through your brand marque, your packaging, your communications, your events, your partnerships — a brand is not just a logo. And remember, it needs a level of flex outside of the core, meaning don’t be too restrictive, your brand needs to live not be suffocated.
Measure — what are you trying to achieve, if you don’t lay this out how do you know if you’ve achieved it or if you need to evolve?
But first, start somewhere. What’s the priority?
Consider this ‘your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room’ (Jeff Bezos, Amazon).
There are places your brand plays where you can’t hold its hand — where the design and the surroundings means the persona has to speak for itself, the biggest being on-shelf (on and off-premise), be that virtual or physical.
Consider what your brand says about what’s in your bottle when you’re not there to promote it?
On-shelf is a lonely world filled with competitors — to stand out you have to really speak / connect to your customer and consumer. They have to want to pick you up, engage with you and promote you. Should they? Why would they pick you up vs. the product next to you?
Does your brand connect, does it provide lifestyle, taste or other cues that make it relevant and does everything you’re doing represent your brand’s purpose?
Remember, HOPE is not a strategy!
Stand out. Period.
Be brave, challenge the status quo — that’s why you got into this right!?
But if challenging the status quo has become the status quo, with quirky caricatures, comic fonts, or just stand out packaging, how do you get ahead?
Don’t just do something because you think you should. Consider the name, consider the design and the environment, consider the range or the next cab of the rank, consider the back of pack as well as the front and consider the supporting collateral / events / team.
You might have a clear thought on what you want and how it should look but it’ll come down to what your customer wants and whether your brand and packaging is something they can relate to. Remember ‘why should people give a shit?’ and it should help you clear out the subjectivity.
Mission and occasion are relevant — what do your customers / consumers want, are they buying for themselves — where are they going to consume it?
Customers and consumers are simple (not stupid), they want to feel something, they want to be part of something and they want it to say something about them — tasting great is a given!
Be bold! If it doesn’t have a purpose then get rid of it.
Why take the time to do this again?
Creating a great brand is a bit like brewing beer, you source the ingredients; the hops, your malt, your yeast and water and the quantities of each, you make your mash, boil, ferment — you know the rest. The point is that to get the right brand strategy and design it takes time — the more you plan for the long term for the greater the result.
You’ve already invested in your brand inside the bottle / can / growler, don’t let it down with an ill-considered brand strategy and packaging design — if no one gives a shit then it won’t matter how good the beer is.
Your brand and how you communicate that brand are what your customer and consumer get behind (and of course your brewery workers, your sales people, the bar tenders, the bottle shop owners etc.), it helps them understand who you are and why they should give a shit — ultimately it makes them buy you, drink you and recommend you.
Great brands don’t appear overnight, they understand that they have to be developed and nurtured, again, like your beer.
And if you’d like some help then we’re happy to help, if not then make sure you get the thinking right and how you’re going to measure. We’d recommend that even if you don’t speak to us then speak to someone — get another point of view, sometimes you’re too close.