Is Your Alcohol Brand Answering This One Crucial Question With Your Marketing Campaigns?

  • by Andi Whiskey
Is Your Alcohol Brand Answering This One Crucial Question With Your Marketing Campaigns?

It's a simple question that is repeated so much around our agency's office on the daily:


Often accompanied by, "Who is this for?"

Everyone's heard often of how marketing campaigns need to always answer the, "Who, What, Why, and Hows" but there's more to it than that. And even then... this is often a crucial step that gets overlooked.

At our agency, we use Commander's Intent to accomplish successful marketing campaigns.

Commander's Intent

Commander's Intent is still a well-used practice in the military.

The idea behind it is to make sure that no matter how clear the directive is, the team involved still understands what the end goal is. This is important because of the old adage, "No plan survives contact with the enemy."

In the military, they can prep a unit for a mission, but once they're out in the field, if their commander isn't directly in their ear giving direction on every choice they make, they need the wherewithal to make decisions for situations that they may not have been expecting. In those moments, even though they weren't given the explicit directive for what to do, they still know what the overarching mission is and what the end results must look like, and they're empowered to make decisions accordingly.

Commander's Intent include's the campaign's mission, key tasks, and the conditions that define success as the result.

Surprisingly, this military framework is perfect for creative agencies, because it lets creatives and experts do what they do best, while still working together as a team to meet the end goal.

We use this framework internally for our own agency and externally for our clients in order to leave flexibility for our creatives and experts in the industry to do what they do best while still knowing the direction they're headed in.

Cocktail Photography by Twist & Tailor

An example:


Mission - WHY

Our goal is to increase brand loyalty for Tequila Brand.

Key Tasks - HOW

We'll do so by providing deeper education about the tequila and mezcal industry in an email campaign.

Success - WHAT

Success will look like increased engagement for this email and emails in the near future.

You can get more specific from here, but I like to keep the initial Intent more general, because even success can be measured a number of different ways. We would be happy to see this email garner sales online, showing that we worked toward the mission of the campaign of increasing brand loyalty through sales. But also open rates and click rates can also mean success for that goal and the overall mission.

Some campaigns may have more direct goal outcomes like an increase in sales or sign ups, but in marketing, there are a lot of immeasurables when it comes to the different ways you can find success in marketing.

The deeper dive into specifically how things will be accomplished and the specific KPIs that will be measured are considered Marketing Directive (Commander's Directive in military, but this is where we'll diverge from the similarities).

Marketing Directive

Marketing Directives are providing specific steps for action. We do this when specifics are highly necessary for campaign effectiveness, but it does slow down team agility and flexibility. At times, it's necessary to meet a client's specific needs, however.

Marketing Directives look like step-by-step instructions for how to complete a task. This is further instruction than a standard SOP that we have for completing tasks.

Cocktail photography


Why This is Important

Every campaign needs direction.

If you've ever been driving and seen a billboard or sign and thought, "How did this get past their people?", it was likely because there was not enough of the Why and What, the Intent and Goals, provided. The How was clear: create a billboard sign. But that's not enough.

As a creative agency, we believe in something that may sound contradictory, but creativity does work best with strong boundaries or constraints.

Know the Rules Before You Break Them

That being said, an operational term we use around our office all the time is, "Know the rules before you break them." This actually is a very similar concept to Commander's Intent. If you know why the rules exist (the Intent) and the end result goal, a good creative can operate outside of the rules to still achieve the same goal.

A quick example of this in practice is the rule of thirds. We are sticklers for making sure our composition is on point at all times for our photography and video, and all of our horizon lines are straight. That being said, once all of our team understands the rules, we allow them to be broken sometimes, as it adds dramatic effect or intentional variety to the end goal. If the end goal is to delight, surprise, stand out, scroll-stop, and/or shock, then mission still accomplished.

Cocktail photography by Twist & Tailor

All Marketing Campaigns Need a Who, What, How, and Why

We stand by this in our agency.

If a client comes to us to send out an email marketing campaign, these are the questions we'll be asking our client and our marketing team before the email gets created.

In Practice

  • Who is the email for?

  • Why are we doing this?

  • How will that look in practice?

  • What does success of this campaign look like?

It's the same across our services, whether it's creating a single photo or a library of videos. We start with the who and work our way through.

An example of the quick small decisions we make using this structure is in our photography. If we are charged to make social media content for a tequila brand, and they have a mixed audience of bartenders, home bartenders, tequila aficionados, and tequila newbies, we'll make a mix of content for them accordingly, but with intent. We would never make a complex custom cocktail in a home bartender/lifestyle setting on purpose (unless the campaign calls for it for a specific reason). We would also rarely show a simple vodka+juice cocktail being made in a bar setting. In those cases, we're mixing up our Who's and our Why's.

Need Help With Your Marketing Strategy?

Twist & Tailor's whole mission as an agency is to help elevate the wine & spirits industry by helping brands answer these questions.

If you feel like your brand is struggling to figure out the Who and Why of your campaigns, we can help by running a Consumer Insights Audit to get a better idea of who you need to be talking to and what words to be using, and we can help craft a marketing strategy so you can better understand the Why behind your campaigns.

Let's talk! 

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