Published 1st July 2021 in The Brewers Journal
It was the question everyone was afraid to ask Last year. haw many breweries were going to close?
In the States. 45 percent was the believed number. which was close to the same number being mooted around here. While some did sadly shut. the number was nowhere near as high as was expected and many that did closed were already suffering before Covid.
The opportunities you took advantage of during last year’s survival-made shouldn’t be abandoned but instead now incorporated into your business plan. It’s not a time to be safe. but to take a risk to not produce six styles of beer that everyone is producing. but something instead that will make you stand out.
To expand on this forward thinking. consider your branding. As CODO Design asks. is it time for a refresh ora rebrand: an evolution or a revolution?
Do you need just a little tweak to get rid of a perception of brand staleness. or do you need a rebrand due to outdated thinking. e.g. New Orleans’ Dixie Brewing Company changing its name last year to Faubaurg. or to reflect new ownership. or some ather major change?
The Covid-19 pandemic was worldwide event that none of us were expect ng. like Looking up and seeing a black swan flying across the sky. When lockdown started last April, people started panic-buying toilet paper, pasta and flour – an odd combination in the best of times.
Some countries like South Africa flat-out banned alcohol sales – prompting a massive buy of pineapples used to make homemade hooch – others limited the hours alcohol could be sold. while here in the IJK pubs, taprooms, tasting rooms. restaurants and clubs were all closed.
While many of us were positive the corona Virus would disappear by summer and there would be a quick return to normal, that never happened, and a Covid summer, led into a Covid autumn, winter and spring.
But, finally a light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. One of the coldest springs in decades has ended pubs have reopened and breweries are ramping-up production.
As this issue goes to print. it appears that tough travel restrictions will be remaining in place through summer.
People who would have been doing their beer drinking in Spain, Greece or France. will be doing it here in the UK.
It is back to being a good time to being a local brewer. But. if there has been one thing we have all Learned from the biggest to the smallest brewer, the days of centering sales along only one
distribution method are over.
Like how you’re changed how you’re doing business, consumers have changed how they enjoy beer. With pubs and taprooms closed beer fans didn’t switch beverage. they just switched how they consumed it, instead of going to pubs. they drank at home. Considering the state of many pubs and prices they charge. after consumers have become used to just adding beer to their online food shopping list. will they want ta go back? How will your branding reflect this?
REBRAND FOR NEW TIMES
Let’s first go over a few definitions so we are all singing off the same hymn sheet Your brand is your customer’s perception af your brewery. including your products and your culture It’s your total package, defining who you are and what makes you different from all your competitors.
Your brand identity is the visual Language you use to tell this story. This includes your Logo. your battle shape. can label, and image. Brand essence is a distillation of the most compelling idea behind your brewery. When you’re having a meeting and someone says: ‘This is who we are’. and you all nod in agreement. that is brand essence — though most times someone says: This isn’t who we are-‘
Rebranding is a shift in your core message Coors realized that by far its biggest seller was Coors Light – they dropped the ‘light’ and now it’s just Coors’. Kids’ cereals dropped Sugar in their names. Sugar Frosted Flakes’ became Frosties’. Core logo. website. and brand identity can all be changed. Sometimes these rebrands work and sometimes theVre total disasters.
Remember Royal Mail’s change to Consignia What does the Royal Mail do? It handles mail What does Consignia do? Nobody knew and after a year. it rebranded its rebrand back to Royal Mail Camden Town Brewery’s new identity in 2016 was a huge success San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing’s major rebrand this year has been seen by most as a huge failure. When your PR and marketing team have to go into overdrive to explain and justify your rebranding. you know you’ve taken the wrong approach. What most af you do from time to time is a brand refresh. Think of this as an update. like painting your house.
Same core values, just adding a bit of excitement to something that seems a bit dated. Another term we need to define for you is positioning. which is also called a point of difference A point of difference is a something about the brand that makes it different from other competing brands What brings hese terms together is educating the consumer. according to Richard Horwell of Brand Relations.
Since 2007. Brand Relations has helped over 100 brands with product and brand development. along with marketing campaigns.
“You can have the best tasting product on the market, but if no one picks it up and tries it. no one will ever know.” says Horwell. ‘Ninety percent of a first-time purchase is based on the branding
it’s why a consumer will pick your product aver their regular choice or your competition.’
What Hanwell cautions is that you do not confuse design with branding ‘Design is what goes on your can’s label. branding is the message you want to give your target consumer – and that message should be ‘BUY ME? he says.
So how do you communicate your message to your target audience? Education and that starts with yourself.
It is hard thinking of another industry where the founder sees themselves as the product. as much as in craft beer industry If it is impossible for you to take a step back and see your beer as your customer sees it and how it reflects an them – not you – then you’re wasting your time in rebranding
When you first start developing your product you will need to ask yourself a lot of questions. those questions will be much the same as the anes your target audience will ask For example:
– what is unique about this
– why is it better than the competition
– should I risk spending money an this untried brand?
– does this product offer value for money?
Your branding needs to answer all these questions. he most expensive word in the Food & Drink category’s ‘education’ if you need to take time to educate the consumer. away from the packaging. then you will either spend millions or fail. or both.” says Horwell.
The best place to educate your target audience is an your product’s packaging. so your branding needs to be clear and perfect. Trade buyers and consumers need to understand the product without having you standing there. That’s what the branding is for: to provide instant education.
According to Horwell. what helps this along is linking your brand to what your audience already understands.
“We all tend to pigeonhole everything in our lives and whether we are conscious of it or not. when we see a new brand, we put it in it’s place. So. if you are attempting to break new ground with an idea or base ingredient then you need to add something to the mix that the consumer knows.” he says.
The key is to make sure the messaging is easy to understand and include elements that consumers can understand instantly Trade buyers only want products that will sell, they don’t want old stock taking up room on their shelves. A product has to sell easily and quickly. Buyers won’t give you long to prove that your brand works, it’s in one day and out the next. so. make it easy for the consumer to choose your product fast
Horwell says that in order to get your branding right. you need to ask yourself and others some questions:
– Where will this product sell and what
– brands will sit alongside it?
– How will my beer stand out against them?
– What is my brand message? For example. is it based an great taste.
– treating yourself or pure refreshment?
– Will my consumer be able to read the messages I have an the packaging from a distance. without picking it up?
– Why should a consumer buy my brand instead of their regular choice?
– What is the point of difference between the ather brands and mine?
Getting the answers to these questions is the first step to creating brilliant branding today we have more choice of food and drinks than ever before and the big brands are no longer dominating the market Many consumers want to try something different, but that doesn’t mean they have all day to stand around in-store or go online to research every product They need to be drawn to a brand that relates to then and says. ‘buy me. I am new and exciting’: says Horwell.
“When I lived in Australia. I knew a very successful businessman who could turn his hand to anything. When I asked him his secret to success. his response was when you explain something to someone and they don’t understand it’s not them that’s stupid. it’s you for not explaining it properly’.
“This is the same with branding. just putting your brand name on the front and thinking the brand will sell is crazy’, Consumers don’t care about a ‘new’ brand name, they care about what’s in it for them. So, make sure your message conveys this. Always focus on them. your customers. not you’