Alcohol is one of America’s favorite past times. A relaxing dinner, a celebratory toast, or a night out with friends, alcohol tends to define the contours of social, as well as professional gatherings. A study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 86.4% of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime. Despite strict advertising and marketing rules, plus age restrictions, the alcohol industry is very much at the forefront of branding and digital reach initiatives. Crafting alcohol branding and marketing strategies, however, can still prove to be incredibly difficult.
Understanding the various restrictions that surround industries like alcohol is important to executing a sound strategy geared toward reaching a wider audience. With data-driven insights and defined audience personas, alcohol brands are better equipped to implement systems that help convert more customers. The rise of microbreweries and distilleries has created more competition within the market, making it imperative to explore various digital marketing funnels.
The Brandsmen craft alcohol branding and marketing campaigns aimed at amplifying brand voice through story development, design, content creation, and much more. Contact us today to learn more about our alcohol industry services.
Alcohol: The Industry
The alcohol industry has remained an important part of American society both socially and culturally. The United States produces over 52 billion gallons of alcohol annually to include beer, spirits, and wine. That’s over 15% of the total beverage volume.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. noted that distilled spirits sales increased by over 5% last year. This is an increase of $1.5 billion. Total distilled spirits sales topped out in 2019 at almost $30 billion. Almost 240 million cases in 2019 showed an increase of 7.6 million cases over the previous year. According to The Drinks Business, American alcohol sales increased by over 5% in 2018 reaching sales of almost $254 billion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics study, Americans spend about one percent of their gross annual income on alcohol.
While the consumption of alcohol has continued to skyrocket, even amid the 2020 pandemic, the way in which American’s are interacting with alcohol continues to evolve. More recently, U.S. consumers are shopping online with nearly 30% of all Americans and roughly 47% of US Millennials purchasing groceries from online retailers. In addition, the societal culture surrounding alcohol has continued to expand.
Many have noted the various subscription boxes that are applicable to the alcohol industry. A few examples are:
- Mash & Grape
- Shaker & Spoon
With upbeat, captivating marketing campaigns, these subscription boxes have changed how younger generations, who spend upward of 30 minutes per day shopping online, interact with alcohol products. In addition, 60% of Millennials reported that they prefer purchasing generic brands over name brands like Coors, Guinness, and Samuel Adams. This further exemplifies the importance of incorporating digital strategy into marketing campaigns. Standing out among the noise can be difficult if not working with the right brand messaging and distributing it to key audience personas.
Linchpin contends that competition in the industry has reached an all-time high in 2020. One area of increasing competition is cannabis sales. As the rising popularity of cannabis continues to grow, alcohol sales have decreased. One strategy to counteract this is to attract as many female consumers as possible.
Impact of the Digital Revolution on the Alcohol Industry
Drinks Insight points out that smart technology is changing the alcohol industry. The alcohol industry is highly competitive. When technology increases efficiency and cuts costs, it gives businesses an edge over their competitors.
Every aspect of the manufacture, marketing, logistics, and new product development can profit from being increasingly tech-savvy.
What are the innovations on the horizon for the alcohol industry? Consider how moves to smart factories and robot workers, driven by artificial intelligence, are changing the industry. Automation is increasing efficiency, reducing production costs, and improving worker safety. Smart sensors have increased both the speed and accuracy of packaging.
An article produced by Shutter Stock asserts that branding and brand design for alcohol differs from beer and wine. Manufacturers of packaging and labels strive to make their designs stand out on a crowded shelf. Many are searching for unique experiences, emphasizing value for their money in combination with great customer services. It is, therefore, important that an alcohol brand or company is able to focus heavily on making sure their customers are satisfied. Why? Nearly 40% of Millennials refer to online reviews and testimonials before purchasing a product.
Managing a brand’s footprint helps maintain identity and story. Similarly, through story creation and content syndication, brands can connect and resonate more deeply with their audience long-term.
Alcohol Branding and Marketing: Better Styling & Stronger Story
The look and feel of the bottle itself have become almost as important as the contents. Manufacturers and brand designers need to consider how to package their brand being mindful of its customers. With an eye to healthier consumption, the company needs to market smaller packages and serving sizes. Promotion for important causes also helps consumers to make selections among like-brand products.
Cardboard boxes, etched images, and screen-printed logos aim to catch the attention of the consumer. As Dave Waite, founder and creative director of Zookeeper notes, the processes begin with the product name.
Label design and product packaging decisions are often as important as the ingredients used to create the product. The story of the birth of your product can be a great design and marketing tool.
There is an advantage in direct-to-consumer sales of alcohol. A brand should make it accessible to consumers shopping online. Consider even audience members who may not have heard or tasted a branded liquor product. Direct-to-consumer branding can boost sales in a highly competitive market.
Alcohol marketing and brand building is about utilizing technological tools to pronounce how a brand establishes itself within the industry.
Brands make use of paid social media tools by setting up websites and blogs. Companies often pay specialists to analyze the effectiveness of their content and recommend changes aimed at driving more traffic to new or established websites. Honing in on content creation and syndication is an important strategy for alcohol brands to consider when approaching digital media. Usually, failure comes from having an inexperienced team unfamiliar with alcohol or doesn’t consider data trends and analytics when evaluating the best strategic initiatives for getting in front of the right customer.
Companies can also make effective use of social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These free sites allow branding to play a much larger role in digital marketing. For one, social media allows brands to be more present and interactive day-to-day, giving them that B2C vibe that is hard to forget. Lifestyle brands are no longer limited to coaches, clothing, food, and mom bloggers. In fact, alcohol can very well intertwine itself in the fast-paced world of content creators, influencers, and complementary brands.
How Does Social Media Work for Alcohol Marketing?
A University of Connecticut School of Medicine study by doctors Jonathan Noel and Thomas Babor highlighted the power of social media in alcohol advertising. Published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, their research showed that alcohol advertisements on social media sites such as Facebook are effective when they have received positive, pro-drinking comments from fellow users.
Social media experts suggest effective strategies for using the Internet include focusing not solely on drinking but rather on outside life influences and “feel good” activities like music performances, sporting events, and large summer or winter gatherings.
Another strategy is offering behind-the-scenes and early-access offers to new products.
Engaging with those who make comments or ask questions is another effective social media strategy. Contributors want to know their comments are heard and appreciated.
Manufacturers frequently publish newsletters full of new product news, contributor photos, recipes, and tips. A website or blog that adds new content frequently drives traffic to the company’s site.
Engaging with Customers
It is vital to keep opportunities for reader engagement simple, fast, and easy. If you make readers click to another site for content or access, you will lose over half of them immediately. Engage reads with a short video that goes directly into your Twitter feed or Facebook and you command immediate attention.
Content may take many forms: photos, video clips, podcasts, recipes, announcements, coupons, or invitations. It is crucial the content conveys your brand’s message.
Abandon traditional alcohol advertising. Those party scenes and tailgate party photos and videos once worked. Now it is more effective to link your site to a cooking site that uses your brand or to an event you’re sponsoring for a worthy cause. Avail yourself of opportunities to show how your brand is popular without making blatant self-aggrandizing claims. Personalize the company by showing special moments in the lives of the company’s employee family and fans.
People love free things. Offer discounts on fan gear of product coupons for demonstrated consumer loyalty. Provide prizes for original recipes using your product.
Social media influencers have built a reputation for their knowledge and credibility and/or expertise on a specific topic. Consider the following questions when approaching influencer marketing:
- How can influencers be used in the alcohol industry? (First, you need to consider your target audience.)
- Where are they on social media?
- What common traits, interests, or concerns do they have?
- What are the most effective ways to reach this demographic?
- Is their niche complementary or similar to an alcohol brand?
Next, you need to decide whether you can afford to hire an influencer. How is this person going to increase your sales? How do you intend to track influencer effectiveness?
Your influencer must be chosen carefully. He/she should be someone who interacts with your niche market. (S)he also must be a good fit for your industry and brand.
The influencer also must possess a documented ability to write the kind of content you need for your brand. The most successful influencer for fabric softener might—or might not—be an effective influencer for your product. You want someone who has a large following in your target market. This is the best way to promote your brand.
Content Marketing for Alcohol Branding and Marketing
According to the Statista 2018 survey, there were more than 4,200 craft breweries and nearly 2,000 distilleries scattered throughout the United States. As such, many alcoholic brands are creating powerful content marketing campaigns allowing them to sell unique stories and experiences to audiences and consumers.
The strategy surrounding content marketing relies on the creation of a journey. Customers are able to find aspects within a brand that clearly resonate or compel them to interact. Content marketing becomes an incredibly important piece of crafting sound digital marketing practices. Rather than promoting a product outright, wise brands are producing social media posts, blog pieces, influencer articles, and more to further identify with targeted audiences. A great example of an alcohol brand utilizing content marketing to promote the active outdoor lifestyle of their vodka can be found in this article: Why Switch Vodka is the Best Alcohol for Camping.
Marketing is less about selling. Content creation has evolved into a series of personal touches geared to convert at higher rates. Lead magnets are very much a top-selling point among alcohol branding and marketing campaigns.
The Brandsmen Alcohol Marketing & Branding Services
Alcohol marketing and branding strategies lean heavily on digital experiences. With a wave of Millennials slowly rejecting parents’ preferred beer and wine options, alcohol brands have a fair chance of competing within the alcohol industry. Today, alcohol brands, like any other major retailer, are promoting products across a wide range of platforms like social media, email, website, content creation, and influencer marketing. Utilizing powerful brand messaging, video, and sophisticated technologies, brands can highlight key components of their journey or story, and exemplify key attributes that resonate with audiences nationwide.
Working with marketers like The Brandsmen helps alcohol brand companies ensure engagement online through unique design, content crafting, marketing strategy, and customer engagement. We help brands to manage their digital footprint long-term and stay ahead of the newest trends in digital marketing. For more information contact us today.