We live in a noisy world and it is getting harder for beverage products to stand out and succeed in the marketplace. Now more than ever consumers are not only surrounded but inundated by information clouding their thoughts, beliefs purchasing decisions.
This experience is the same when it comes to consumer products. There are more and more products in every category, more and more product reviews, and determining which product is superior to another is difficult. The question is how a new beverage product can compete in a crowded and “dog eat dog” world?
The honest answer is –integrated marketing and public relations, creating trust and subsequently a loyal customer base, however, it is essential to start at square one – creating a sustainable brand and business model.
If you examine the world’s most successful beverage brands, one will find fundamental principles and themes successful brands use during the building phase, and quality, price, and ingredients are not part of those. Put two similar products side by side, with one being lower in price; still, most consumers will select the one with name and brand recognition. As an emerging beverage or an established beverage entering a crowded marketplace, you might ask how come great brands continue to increase market share, profit margin, and brand awareness? The answer might surprise you. It boils down to a brand’s relationship with its consumer and consistent beverage public relations and marketing. Global brands have massive marketing budgets and run consistent global advertising campaigns, and that does help; however, CEO of Dreamweaver Brand Communications Cynthia Srednicki believes:
“Large marketing budgets and mass advertising will help build brands, but lasting brands have authenticity and trust. If both internal team members and your customers share values, consumers will remain loyal.”
Unfortunately, many beverage startups fail, so building a brand is not difficult, creating a brand that can succeed over the long-term is. CPG brands, especially beverages are much more than a slick name and a logo. At Dreamweaver Brand Communications we view a brand like a puzzle, with many different and unique pieces like the brand name, positioning, USP, brand story, target audience(s), brand persona, buyer personas, visual identity, influencers, the pieces go on and on. If and only if, all the parts fit together, the consumer will see the whole brand picture, ensuring your product connects with them and ensuring your product can succeed.
What Does Your Brand Stand For?
First, it is crucial to identify key reasons why you have started this brand? Why does your brand exist? What purpose does your beverage brand serve? Start by writing your mission statement, which will be the heart and soul of your brand and its related elements. Every successful brand large and small begins its brand building processing from the inside-out. Every member of the team needs to believe what you are doing and more importantly believe in the brand’s values.
Identify Your Target Audience
Defining your target audience(s) is vital to success but highlighting and eventually communicating that you understand their needs, dreams, and aspirations can create an emotional and connection to your brand. When building your integrated marketing strategy, create a brand that consumers relate to or you do not stand a chance.
Identify and Communicate Your Competitive Advantage
New beverage brand executives often argue about their products versus their competitors. Gerard T. Rogan, Chief Operating Office of Dreamweaver Brand Communications often hears “Our is one of a kind or nobody does that anymore.” Those comments could not be farther from the truth. In the beverage marketplace there are always new and upcoming competitors and established brands looking for new products and markets, therefore, being clever, creative, remaining true to what your brand stands for and looking around the corner to see what is next is important.
Founders, typically look for the competitive advantage within the product – how can we make it better, why is it different from others in the market. While many successful beverage brands have built them that way, other elements can make your product superior. Think back to all of the work that you and your marketing and PR agency put into developing packaging design, brand positioning, USP, buyer persona development, etc. The beverage is in the consumer’s mind, so building and maintaining that image in their mind is mission critical. For example, beverages share similar ingredients, taste, and benefits. However, some are more expensive and perceived superior. An marketing and public relations agency can communicate your brand’s competitive advantages and keep your product in the consumers’ mind and their hands. Just think bottled water. The product is very similar, yet one brand is more popular than the other. The answer why is simple: strategic CPG marketing and PR.
Building Your Brand
Brands are similar to a person. What do they like? What is their unique story? Do they have personal preferences? What are their values? To thrive in the marketplace, the founders and your beverage marketing and public relations agency must answer those questions. It is no surprise that products fill our needs, but brands through their USP, their value proposition, their benefits, their integrated marketing and PR, and beverage influencer marketing make us want those products.
Defining your brand’s values, identifying the strengths and opportunities within your target audience, you can now start building your beverage brand by developing a brand persona and a compelling brand story that connects with consumers on an emotional level.
Many marketing executives, CEOs, CMOs, and brand founders have the brand story backward. The brand story is not your story and vice-versa. It is the soul and DNA of the brand that gels all parts together: USP, purpose, brand values, and most importantly the promise to the consumer on what they can expect. Brands large and small need a story that consumers can emotionally connect with.
It is the same with brand persona. It is the set of values and level of excellence that your brand delivers to consumers. Your brand persona is highlighted through personalized marketing communications, branding, and the overall consumer experience. An experienced integrated marketing and public relations agency understand the importance of the brand story and brand persona and how they relate to consumers. Ever interesting and established brands understand this and know that people are interested in people and stories, not products, hence why influencer marketing for beverages is exploding. While there are a variety of influencer marketing campaign types, choosing the right one to share your brand story and persona is important. Just because they are your favorite actor or athlete does not mean they the right fit for your brand and your target audiences.
Strategic communications with your audience and customers is a must. Living in digital age consumers are overwhelmed with irrelevant email. According to one study, email users receive an average of 88 emails per day, but only send 34 emails per day. Since people are receiving on average 2.5 times email than they are sending out getting your brand’s message through is getting harder. With statistics like that, one can see how a brand’s message will get lost or even worse ignored. However, there is a tool that can help. Personalized marketing can help your brand break through the noise and reach your audience and customers. According to a recent study: Consumer Email Habits Report: What Do Your Customers Really Want? 76 of consumers surveyed agree that retail brands are now sending relevant and tailored emails which reflect their shopping preferences based on purchase history and their location. What is the goal of the personalization? Increased conversions. Since the shopping experience is now just a few buttons, optimizing your messaging is vital since the marketplace is more competitive than ever. From beverages to shoes, to tools, and other CPG product most companies now use personalized marketing.
At the end of the day is not about your product, it is about that person who is in the marketplace that fits one of your buyer personas. Take Nike for example, Nike is more than a product or a sneaker a superstar like Lebron James wears; it is about that everyday person, who works out at their local gym, trying to better themselves that Nike marketing and branding is targeting with “Just do it.” Nike has transcended sportswear; they sell the feeling of being on the winning team. Take a lesson from Nike, know thy audience, their needs, their goals, their aspirations and build your brand around them.
From day one, you must know what is your brand, what is represents, your target audiences and don’t let those get lost during the growth to maturity phase of a product. Brands that grow and last longer have to be careful about getting sloppy and losing that core, fundamental brand consistency. The minute founders turn their head for one moment and enjoy their well-earned success; they naturally begin to let small thing morph within your brand. Moreover, if you believe that consumers do not notice little things, you are gravely mistaken, and they will turn their backs on you and choose a rival who is consistent. Every minute detail matters, the visual identity, the tone of communications to various buyer personas, content, social media posting, responding to social media customer service questions quickly, to even the website speed. Consumers are hawks! Your beverage product is your brand, and that is the only thing that makes you different from your competitors.
At Dreamweaver Brand Communications we help established and emerging beverage brands ensure your brand promise is kept to your customers. Through integrated marketing, public relations, influencer marketing, and other personalized strategies and tactics, we help the consumer trust not only your brand but your product. Building or rebuilding brand trust does not happen overnight. Step by step, with honesty, integrity, and transparency, we build customer loyalty through strategic communications consumers will trust, which in turn makes your brand successful long-term and not a one-hit wonder.