Marketing Transformation for Alcoholic Beverage Brands


Why alcohol marketing deserves an extra splash of integration.

Alcohol mailer graphic

In the old days alcoholic brands ran some of the world’s best advertising to drive demand for drinks brands available in pubs, clubs, off-license retail outlets and bars. The challenge was predominantly a creative issue.

Now it is different. As one alcoholic beverage CEO once said: “We are an analogue product in a digital world”.

Alcoholic beverage brands need to create theatre, experiences and content that immerse the consumer in the brand’s world. These “porous” brands need to invite consumer participation and propagation of the brand into the drinking experience. Changes in legislation are also providing drinks marketers with new challenges in new channels to and from the consumer.

The challenge is still creative, but also now one of marketing integration – not just the “what” of marketing, but increasingly the “how”.

The new environment requires new marketing capabilities; new marketing structures with new skills. It requires new marketing operations processes that favour horizontally integrated “always on” marketing techniques rather than static, vertically integrated point in time campaigns. It requires marketing procurement to secure a different set of agencies, working together in close collaboration. It also requires seamless marketing project management often using smart technology to manage workflows, approvals, content asset management and great analytics to assess return on marketing investment.

Let’s highlight the point by taking just one example of something that many alcoholic drinks brands have tried to do; create “bar shout.”

Bar shout is some “branded language” that enters into public use. It is highly desirable as it creates a social currency around the brand. In the old days TV ads helped create bar shout by dint of a great ad, probably a jingle, and a great end-line. Some from the 1970s and 80s are still memorable today “I bet he drinks Carling Black Label” was a famous campaign in the UK. This was mentioned whenever anyone did anything of note in the pub, on the sports field, at work etc etc. It became a social phenomenon (without social media).

To deliver bar shout in 2015, PR, Social Media, SEO and Digital/CRM skills are probably preeminent and the packaging and promotions will need to be carefully integrated at the heart of the campaign. The mass of the marketing resources and shape within a drinks manufacturer’s marketing team is necessarily different, the measures are different, the process to grow, deliver, and maintain a campaign are different.

At Flock we have marketers who have led ABInBev & Coca Cola Global Integration efforts. We have global leaders from agencies who have led Diageo’s Guinness 250th celebrations creating Arthur’s Day, driven Heineken’ brand portfolio through integrated media strategies and so on. We help marketers address the challenges they face every day and can do the same for you.

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