Branding: Understand your ‘reason for being’

04 July, 2018

When we started working with them, however, we quickly realised that the assumption that this back story would appeal to a premium gin market needed to be challenged. A deeper analysis of the sector, consumer and brand revealed that Warner Edwards had a more engaging story to tell that could connect with a wider audience. Premium gin is about experience. Craft, skill and provenance play a part, but farmers in muddy fields do little to support the affordable luxury message, especially in the all-important overseas market.

Biles Hendry created a packaging design that used the founders’ story to underpin the bigger engagement opportunity of artisanal luxury. In the year following our work, the brand achieved 230% growth in off-trade sales, with on-trade achieving a massive 390% increase.

Consumer profiles are changing and so must you 

The role that your brand played in the lives of consumers in the past may be very different from the role it plays today, or that it will play in the future. Consumer needs change, and the perceptions of how brands fit into their lives also shift. Brands need to keep up.

Target demographics are experiencing a seismic shift, too, as the world’s biggest and most powerful consumer group – millennials – moves into its prime spending years. Brand managers need to ask themselves how they’ll remain relevant. We’re constantly being told that this group craves individuality, that they’re looking for something that meets their specific needs. Look at how millennials have embraced the gin boom, for example, along with its customising culture and the sense of individuality that inspires. 

In an effort to ditch whisky’s fusty image and ride the zeitgeist, Haig Club Whisky dropped founder stories, heritage dates, gold foiling and old-fashion typefaces in favour of a square, blue bottle, a no-rules ad campaign, David Beckham and a more balanced gender profile. 

Find your compelling truth 

Brands may have many important truths, however, every brand has only one unique reason for being, and if you can’t see it yet, you haven’t looked in the right place or distilled the thinking down far enough. Understanding the real reason a brand exists, and has a right to exist, is the key to unlocking its potential.

With Warner Edwards, that reason for being was ‘united in spirit’; a gin brand that marries traditional values with a modern tone of voice that engages ‘in the know’ discerning customers all over the world.

Data vs intuition

Research is important, but a slavish reliance on consumer findings rarely produces remarkable results. By looking beyond the output from traditional consumer panels and by asking progressive questions driven by informed intuition, you’ll be able to get to the heart of the marketing challenge.

Keywords: Biles Hendry




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David Williams

Pride and protection

Protectionism. It's a word that has been beyond the pale in the mainstream discussion of politics and economics of the past 30 years.

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