Mezcal can be considered the Scotch of Mexican spirits, as it caters to an audience that looks high above the well. However, as mezcal becomes increasingly popular these days, it’s starting to attract the attention of a broader demographic. But how do you stand out from the other mezcal brands, as the casual “cocktailer” picks out a new favorite drink? The quality of the liquid should not be the only distinguishing factor in assessing the brand itself. To make a lasting impact, it’s going to require more than a dead worm at the bottom of every bottle. It’s going to take a focused effort on mezcal branding, which consists of the entire story told – from the vision to the farm, to the bottle.
Continual Growth and Appreciation for Mezcal
Back in the older times in Mexico, mezcal was considered “the poor man’s tequila.” It wasn’t as popular as its close relative. However, as society is becoming more health-conscious, curious to try new things, and looking for more meaningful experiences and relationships, mezcal moves front and center.
According to sources, mezcal sales in the U.S. alone have more than doubled in the last few years. It’s bound to make a long-lasting impact and continues to grow in popularity, as it’s a taste so different from any other type of spirit – even tequila.
Desire to Learn About Mezcal
This is how the casual drinker turns into a connoisseur: curious about it, tries it, appreciates it, learns more about it, and then becomes an expert on it.
At that point, they know what they’re looking for in a mezcal – even if it’s one they’ve never tried before. Information is more available and accessible than it has ever been, which gives mezcal brands an advantage. As the casual drinker becomes curious about a mezcal, there’s typically some research done online. Everyone wants to be an expert, so, of course, they’re looking online to find answers to questions like:
- Where does this mezcal come from?
- What is the story behind the mezcal brand?
- What are other people saying about this brand?
- How long have they been around?
- What is their vision and/or mission?
There is an instinctive desire for us to connect on a personal level – to have deeper connections to people, places, cultures, and, yes, even brands. So, of course, when someone is trying something new, they’re looking for answers to these questions above. They’re looking for connections and stories that they hold onto as well as other people who share those commonalities, in what we call “brand tribes.” Where do these tribes exist?
Throughout online platforms.
A mezcal brand cannot afford to miss out on having an online presence.
Keys to Effective Mezcal Branding
The questions your potential audience is looking for can be answered through your online branding – through your logo, content, and online platforms. Mezcal itself has a strong, bold, unique taste that will speak for itself. What will help your mezcal brand stand out is how the story behind your brand is told. Mezcal and Mexico, for that matter, have such rich, historical, and cultural backgrounds.
The more you can highlight that outside of your bottle, the more success your brand may see. Focus on a few key things that speak to mezcal’s characteristics:
- Authenticity – Mezcal is straight and to-the-point. It is typically enjoyed “neat” so there’s no real hiding behind other mixers or flavors. Of course, certain flavors can complement the drink, but it mainly speaks for itself. It’s not false, it’s not copied, it’s not sugar-coated. Be real, be genuine, and stay true to yourself.
- Artisanry/Tradition – The tradition of making mezcal dates back to over 400 years ago. There’s a certain way it’s been made and a certain expectation (as well as reputation) behind that. It involves high-quality ingredients, special care, and many hands that are dedicated to such craftwork. People appreciate the effort and process behind craft spirits such as this.
- Transparency – Mezcal is completely transparent – you can see right through it. There’s nothing to hide. If something is added to the drink, you can tell and people will ask questions. How will you interact with your audience? We encourage you to show your hand and your intentions. The more open you can be, you will find that it is one of the most powerful ways to build trust and loyalty as a brand.
Of course, the logo is usually the first impression your mezcal brand is going to make. Because your logo is such an essential part of your brand, designing a logo requires a great deal of self-discovery.
- What is your brand identity?
- How do you stand out from your competitors?
- What types of logos are they using?
- How will you be inspired by others yet different?
As you develop your logo, your color palette and style will start to take shape. Use these as your “Brand Guidelines” as we call them, to help paint the picture of your brand.
Now that we have established what the mezcal brand will actually look like, the label will help describe what the mezcal actually tastes like. Since mezcal is made from a wide variety of agave plants, this is your chance to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- What flavor notes may we expect?
- What’s the background story/history behind your mezcal?
- What are all the fine print details?
Although it may cover up what’s inside the bottle, you must be as transparent as possible. You have your audience’s full attention by the time they are looking at your label – what will you tell them now?
A website isn’t just your own space for a digital billboard. It’s the main reference point for your audience. It should have content that addresses the main questions, concerns, and talking points. It adds credibility and establishes your brand. This is the foundation of your online presence and marketing
- Who can your audience contact and how?
- What will you offer in your online space?
- What is your mission statement? What is your vision?
- Where can your audience find your mezcal?
- Who are the people behind your brand? Everyone from “palenqueros” and their families to the ones calling the “shots”?
The more content that’s regularly uploaded to the website, the better. Have a blog and include information about your mezcal, mezcal as a whole, and maybe your own insight on the whole thing. Make sure that search engines are recognizing who you are as a mezcal brand through the content and links on your website.
This one may seem like the last on the list, but it’s more important than that. Social media is where you learn about your audience, what they like and dislike, and how to interact with them.
- What times are they on?
- What are they saying about your brand?
- Are they creating their own content with your mezcal?
- How do you get them to engage with your brand?
The answer really isn’t a secret, although it seems a lot of brands don’t know – be social. Yes, socialize. It’s not a platform where you simply post a link or a promotion and call it good. This is where you engage with others through commenting and ‘Liking’ other content. Get to know them through the stories they’re sharing and incorporate those into the story you share here.
If you’re just on there to yell into the News Feed about how great your mezcal is, your brand won’t stand out here.
Mezcal Branding and Marketing Services
When it comes to mezcal and everything about it, there’s no doubt you know what you’re doing. Branding and marketing, however, may seem a bit more intimidating. Where do you start? What do you say?
As The Brandsmen, we consider mezcal branding one of our specialties. We’re nerds when it comes to all things branding and marketing and when it’s for a product that we personally care about (like mezcal), it makes it that much more special. Let us talk about your mezcal so that others start talking about it, too.