Connecting To Your Customers:
Are you in the business of beverage sales… specifically craft beer, wine, or spirits? Maybe you even bought a winery yourself or are building a craft brewery?
If you are, then you understand the importance of getting people through your doors and picking your product up off the shelf. The importance of engaging your potential customer and creating a positive connection with them, ideally leading to a purchase. There is no shortage when it comes to other brands and products all vying for that same attention, engagement, and money! When it comes to these buying decisions, a lot of factors come into play.
What are buyers looking for?
Quality. Price. Design. Recommendations. Availability. What else?
How about your brand story? Not your brand as a whole… just the literal story that you and your team tell to your customers while you are in the tasting room or on a sales call. The story that is written on your labels and on your website. Your story.
Hopefully, this story is a lot more than the technical details about your product. While those technical details are very interesting to some, they are rarely the reason your core audience will try your product or remain loyal even if they do try it. Data is boring. So when it comes to storytelling, you need to focus on the experience and emotion of the audience and give them a reason to connect with your products and your brand.
Crafting Your Story:
The art of crafting your story can be the easiest part of your business… or the hardest. Some stories practically write themselves, while some are created out of thin air. With well over 300 wineries and nearly 200 breweries in BC alone, people can find great wine and amazing beer all over the place. Beverage sales are booming as consumers are becoming more educated and more enthusiastic. Again, this means that there are a lot of brands with great stories out there, competing for the buyer’s attention and money. It is now ‘the why’ of your brand that can most easily separate you from your competition and gain you an advantage in finding loyal customers.
This almost always comes from an emotional place. From the brand’s perspective, ‘the why’ is often more literal. It may be comprised of your history, your passion, an opportunity, or even a legacy. From the buyer’s perspective, it is an opportunity to build an emotional connection to your business. Typically, buyers aren’t actively looking for that connection but they know it when they feel it. We all do. It’s that same connection that makes us recommend a bottle of wine to our friends, or choose one restaurant over another. When we make an emotional connection to a brand, we become loyal for reasons beyond quality or price. We become invested as brand ambassadors and place our trust in you and your business.
People want to learn why you are different, but it’s why that difference matters that you should focus on.
A great example of this is in automotive brand advertising… they don’t sell extra airbags, they sell your children’s safety. Use emotion to help create a connection to the consumer. Maybe that emotional connection is to the owners, the property, the packaging, the quality, the community impact, or a million other things.
When you are working to increase your beverage sales, remember that the buyer is not making a rational decision based on facts, data and logic. They are making an emotional decision around their experience with that brand. Then they justify that decision because of the brand value you have built with them. People want to learn why you are different, but it’s why that difference matters to the customer that you should focus on. This can then become ‘the why’ that will drive a customer to purchase.
It is then that ‘the why’ becomes ‘the how’.
Let me start by first saying… maybe you don’t. Perhaps you already have a beautiful family of labels for your products. Labels that hold a long standing tradition, or are so perfectly designed that every beer, wine, or spirit connects to it’s specific target market 100% of the time. But that seems unlikely. Designs can become outdated, brands may change, and sometimes sales can lag due to the customer becoming bored with the same old thing. Label design is a great way to refresh your brand with existing customers, to expand your business to new market sectors, and to sell more!
So how important is it then that people are interested in your label? Your label design is a massive part of the way people see your brand. No matter if you are a beer, wine, or spirit, the label is often the first touch point a customer has with your product. I know I’m not the only one to have bought a bottle because of an eye-catching design, interesting emboss or foil treatment, or a unique package. But why exactly do you need a new label design?
1. Your packaging doesn’t connect to your customer.
It is very easy to make this mistake. One way to help avoid it, is to have a clear understanding of your industry and an honest picture of where you fit within it. Product quality, price point, sales channels, and competition are just a few of the factors that determine who is buying your product and why. Are you selling high end wines to collectors or craft beer four-packs to hipsters? Table wines for dinner parties or artisanal spirits for the custom cocktail crowd?
Tell your story. It is yours, it is unique, and it sells. You have far more than just one customer segment. It makes sense then that you should have more than one line of products in one package, telling one message. Your packaging is one of your first opportunities to connect your product to your customer… take advantage of that.
2. Your labels look like every other bottle on the shelf.
Have you ever wandered the liquor store aimlessly, trying to decide what to buy? Even with a specific idea in mind, you can get lost in the search. Classic, trendy, artsy, modern… you need your labels to invite the buyer to pick your bottle off the shelf instead of your competition’s. Customers are looking at product cost and design on the shelf. They are far more likely to purchase a product that they have picked up, so give them that reason! There is no profit in a missed opportunity.
3. The design was an afterthought.
Sound harsh? It happens far more often than you think, and it is an easy place to find yourself. Don’t feel bad. You have a million things to consider and work on while you are running your business. While you are working on your products and making sure they are the quality that you want to produce, it is hard to also be thinking about how to get that product into the hands of your potential customers. Hiring a professional will allow them to connect your brand story to your packaging so you can concentrate on the quality of the product and experience.
4. Cost was the main factor in determining your chosen labels.
This one happens a lot as well. The thing to remember when working on your beverage packaging is that the perceived value of your product begins at first glance. The weight of the bottle… texture of the paper… quality of the print… the design of the label… all of these things help reinforce the buying decision. If you don’t invest in your product, why would a customer?
5. It’s time to refresh or launch a new product.
This is an exciting one. New brands and products are a great thing to develop, but it is easy to get lost in a sea of competition. Make sure that you take design and strategy into consideration when launching new products so that you have the best chance possible of connecting your story, to your products, to your customers. Once your bottles are on the shelves, it’s out of your hands and your labels are now your sales team. Make sure they are working for you!
If you would like to discuss the design direction for your product, please get in touch. I would be happy to work on your business, while you work in your business.