- Silent Selling
This week’s post is the first of three to discuss the topic of Branding.
Brands: What’s Your Crafted Message?
Are you a boutique, family-owned winery that makes hand-crafted wines or the latest crowd-funded brewer to open in your city? While this may be true, these are not unique brand stories. What sells the experience is what makes your brand different from your neighbors and other craft producers. What you and your team think of as your brand story may not be what your customers perceive.
Do the “gut brand reality check” to see what others describe as their intuitive or “gut” feeling about your craft beverages’ unique brand personalities and promises. If these reactions are significantly different, it’s time to re-align your branding and messaging. Work with your team to develop sound bites that work for your brand. What’s your brand story? And if you need some help to get started, continue reading and we’ll take a look at what larger brands from a wide variety of industries do.
Mega Big Brands – What can we learn?
What is this esoteric thing is called brand? Do you have to have an MBA to understand it? Do you have to a lot of money to really leverage it?
We dedicate many lessons during our WISE Academy certification courses to help craft beverage DTC team members tell a better brand story – to have their brands do more of the heavy lifting in creating a memorable guest experiences and in selling more product. But “teaching” how to use the power of our brands can get a bit . . . fuzzy. The good news is we are all consumers. So they best way to teach what makes a good brand – and how to leverage it – is take off your industry hat and put on your consumer hat.
Here is a simple way to think about it: We use a Product. We buy a Brand. But we remember an Experience. It is the emotional connection that makes brands powerful, that makes brands stick.
From Marketing 101 we know that a strong brand:
- Delivers your Differentiated Message Clearly
- Confirms your Credibility
- Connects to your Target Emotionally
- Motivates the Buyer to Buy
- And Cements their Loyalty
For really strong brands the company actually becomes the category of the product or service it sells . . .I am going to sneeze, please hand me a Kleenex . . .Wait a minute while I Google it . . . Don’t worry. I’ll FedEx it to you.
While in some parts of the country “Bud” or “Coors” may be ubiquitous with beer, we’d argue that’s more a result of distribution and a lack of consumer choice than necessarily being a result of branding. The new craft beverage reality is that there are really no uber-dominant brands; so what can we really learn from these examples? The key lessons from these mega brands centers around the personal and emotional connection. Again – to get these mega lessons – we go back to Marketing 101 basics to find that:
- They deliver a Promise that we can rely on. “Use FedEx when you absolutely need it there overnight.”
- They have a Personality we identify with. Think of the battles in your own social circle of the differences between Apple vs. PC user. Think of the difference between a Mercedes buyer vs. VW Bug buyer. This is not about good brands vs. bad brands. This just about different, personal, emotional choices. There is no social pressure about which brand of salad dressing, so why craft beverage?
- They deliver an Emotional Experience we will remember. Like receiving a Tiffany’s blue box and white satin ribbon says some much more than any other type of “bling” gift.
With more and more wineries, breweries or distilleries opening up in neighborhoods all over the country, how can you possible get your brand to stand out?
That’s the wrong question.
They right questions is: how can you leverage the power of your brand though emotional connections?
Your Promise. Your Identity. Their Experience
Remember, the beverage you produce is the product you sell while your brand is the “gut” feeling customers & prospects have about your company. Not just your logo, but also your tours & tastings/consumer experiences, your website, your phone manners – every consumer touch point should reflect your brand and bring it to life.
In the end, the brand experience is not what YOU say it is . . . Is it what THEY (your customers) say it is. So, what are they saying?
Note: This is the first #WISEwednesday post in a three part series on Branding: What is Your Crafted Message*.
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