Brand activation – campaigns, events, or experiences enabling your brand to engage directly with consumers – is a hot strategy in beverage alcohol sales these days. Building a loyal brand community around your beverage via trade marketing through the 3-tier system can be tricky and costly; especially if these (often) big ticket campaigns fail to yield the desired result. Here’s a look at some of the types of experiential strategies being employed by producers and some insight into how to ensure effective results, should you decide to pursue experiential marketing for better brand activation.
Younger drinkers diverge from the drinking and buying habits of older generations, seeking “experiences” more than brands when it comes to deciding what to drink. And the experiences are often tied to different activities – travel, concerts, holidays/occasions, etc. In addition, consumers today are savvier than in the past when it comes to the perceived authenticity of the products they consume. Seen in the composite, it makes sense that these trends are driving trade marketing & brand activation events that deliver experiences validating the authenticity of their products.
For example, Budweiser’s recent “mobile brewmaster tour” was a 45-week mobile activation bringing the immersive experience of an Anheuser-Busch brewery tour to distributors and retail locations. Delivering an experience at the same time as demonstrating the authenticity of its production processes is a prime example of this dynamic.
Insights USA’s Joss Davidge reports on this fantastic marketing from Champagne brand Veuve Clicquot who, “threw a stylish and immersive branded party for Champagne lovers in New York. As a nod to the mailbox design of its new sleeve, which can keep a bottle cool for as many as two hours, Veuve Clicquot transformed an empty studio in New York into a post-office, with intricate and tongue-in-cheek references to mail, letters and postmen. The mail accents were not limited to décor only; we particularly love that a selection of the mailmen-dressed waiters acted as on-site messengers, delivering personalized note cards from one guest to another from their branded mail bags – basically old school texting!”
This article in Forbes magazine explains how leading alcohol producers are marketing their brands as “experiences” which involves not only trade promotions through distribution channels but also more cutting edge “influencer” marketing on social media.
While you may not have even a fraction of the budget these leading producers allocate to producing and executing experiential trade marketing at this scale (or even if you do), it goes without saying that you’re going to want to see ROI on all money spent in this regard. Whether it is spent on experiential activities like tastings and producing POS/promotional materials to position your product as appropriate in different occasion-based scenarios or through more traditional channels such as agency activity and distributor incentives, measuring results is key. Tools like GreatVines enable a supplier to accurately plan, budget, execute and audit all promotional spend and tie results back to relevant metrics.