Don't Miss Out on Your Product's Story

  • by Andi Whiskey
Don't Miss Out on Your Product's Story

Spirits brands get so wrapped up in the product, they miss out on their product's whole story.

We see it all the time when we bring on new spirits brands as clients.

I liken it often to a first time parent. They love their kid. They have this ideal image of who they want their kid to be when they grow up, and they're doing all they can to make that happen.

And the reality of it is that that kid is going to meet other kids and other adults and form their own ideas of what they want to be when they grow up. And the best they parent can do is really focus on instilling their core values, then hope for the best.

That's what raising a brand is like. You can try all you want to form this perfect brand that people will see a specific way. You may think your vodka is made for sipping neat, or that you've made the best gin to ever sit on a rock.

But your customers will have other plans with your bottle.

Let's take this metaphor too far now. 

Your kid will go out into the world and have other guiding influences on their lives. What if you made friends with some of the adult guides in your kid's life? The teachers, the mentors, the other parents. And you, as a good parent, recognize that they might see your kid differently than you want, but as long as you confirm that they match your core values, you know your kid is in good hands.

Those guides for your spirits brands' life are the bartenders and influences in the industry.

Look, it's fucked, but my parents knew that to give me a chance to thrive in my early years in school, they needed to make sure I had teachers that paid attention to me. Kids that got less attention in school tend to not go as far in life, according to stats in some books my parents read (don't quote me on it).

So my mom dressed me in cute red dresses and showed up to talk to the teachers often. She put bows in my hair when I was really young because she said, "Little girls with bows in their hair get picked up and held more," and she had read that physical touch was important in early development.

Photography of a whiskey brand

So, with my weird and uncomfortable and maybe sexist (hey, I turned out fine, but I'm not really a bows-in-my-hair kinda girl) story as an imperfect metaphor...

What are you doing to get your bottle picked up more?

Now let's circle back to one of my first statements, while continuing to beat this metaphor to death.

Spirits brands get so wrapped up in the product, they miss out on their product's whole story. 

My parents, and most parents, had such a specific idea of who they wanted their first born to be when I grew up. They wanted a straight A valedictorian who went to a top college, etc.

What they got was a girl who got her first business license at 16, a web design business, and used the money from her first big client to drop out of high school and go to community college. It didn't look like their ideal at all.

I got my associates degree before any of my friends got their high school diplomas. I went on to go to CSULB, a good school in CA for international business, my major, but not the best school, but to be honest, my transcripts looked like a junior transfer rather than a freshman coming from high school at 18 years old, and a lot of top schools don't like transfers as much as freshman. After that, I never held a normal job. I just ran my businesses. I ended up dropping out a year later from college because my business was taking off and I needed more time for my clients.

So I don't have a high school diploma or my bachelor's, but I do have a digital marketing agency that is the grown up chapter of that little web design business I started decades ago. 

It's a whole thing and it was complicated and messy from time to time, and not my parents' ideal idea of me. They had a hard time with the path I had chosen, even though now, on paper, most would see that I was still a smart girl just applying myself in a very different direction. 

But they missed out on celebrating and encouraging my story because they were holding onto an idea of me that wasn't true in the real world.

Are you holding onto an idea of your spirits brand that isn't true in the real world?

Spirits brand photography

Learn how your customers see your brand by ASKING. 

We say this so often in all of our blogs, but it's always the most important part of marketing. 

Ask your customers why your brand matters to them. Ask your customers what your brand means to them.

If you're a values-based brand, you do need to check and make sure that those values matter to people.

 If you're a features-based brand, where you care more about the juice in the bottle, you need to figure out why that matters to the people who buy your bottle. Dig into the reasons behind their purchasing choice. If they really just love how easy it is to sip, are they looking for comfort after a long day of work? Because if that's the case, you can now paint a marketing picture that they can relate to.

If the brand product has a lot of flavor notes that stand out, you might think that makes it more appealing to drink neat or on a rock. What you might find, though, is that the flavor notes help create more interesting or complex cocktails, so your spirit is primarily being used in cocktails.

You won't know if you don't ask.

Once You Ask, Use the Info

Now that you have the intel, use it. If you learn that your spirit is being used heavily in citrus cocktails, lean into it.

If that's why current customers are buying, don't you want to multiply those customers by finding more like them?

The more you can repeat your customers' own words in your marketing, the more you can speak your current and potential customers' language.

Learn to Celebrate Your Brand's Journey

The moral of this story is to let go of how tightly you hold to your brand's ideal shape, and listen to the market more.

Your brand has its own story to tell. You're going to be a better help to your brand's success if you celebrate that story as it grows.

Need a Customer Audit?

We audit customer journeys and brands for clients, to help them get a better understanding of how their brand exists in the market. 

If you need help understanding your brand and communicating it to customers, let's talk. We'd love to help you celebrant your brand with your customers. Book a consultation with us >>.

More Marketing Tips

Tips from our marketing team who are in the field daily, for how to market your alcohol brand.


No Products in the Cart