The food and drinks industry is evergreen and ever changing and so is the level of competition. There are many choices available today for a consumer and getting your brand to penetrate this market requires a good grasp on various determining factors. Keeping this in view, we have framed this article to give you all the possible strategies for drinks branding that will help you to get a good start. The drinks marketing and branding given here are arranged with the assumption that you have not yet started the drink manufacturing, if you have already started production, then you can skip the first few steps.
Branding Steps for a Drink/Beverage
1) Determine the Type of Beverage
Within drinks and beverages, three major (broad categorization) types are alcoholic, energy drinks and cold-pressed juices. Depending upon the type of drink you want to focus upon, the strategy might be slightly different owing to competition, demography, values. However, the branding strategies given here will apply to all of them.
2) Market Research
Once you are done with the type of drink, you need to focus on market research to understand what are the possibilities in this sector, who are the top competitors? what is the expected growth? what type of licensing and permissions are required? etc. There are many options to get market research done. There are agencies that can do this process for you. You can find a list of market research firms here. You can also buy ready-made market research reports available on various sites.
3) Decide on Manufacturing
Depending upon your budget, you can either go for self-manufacturing (costly and bulky operation) or contract manufacturing (low cost and less risky). Most startups nowadays use the contract manufacturing route to get started and once they get a good start, they proceed with self-manufacturing or either hire more contract manufacturers to level up the production and sales.
4) Distribution and Profit Split
Note the key distributors that can take your product to retail stores. Decide the pricing and commission structure you are willing to give to distributors and retailers. Another low-cost strategy here is to start the distribution by employing the service of any other beverage maker who is not your direct competitor. After getting a fair start, it will be easy to convince big distributors and to get the production and sales to grow bigger.
Understand your target audience, their likes, dislikes, values, etc to stand a better chance in the brand positioning of your drink. It also helps to determine the packaging aspects like color, fonts and overall look of the drink.
Find out what message you would like to convey to your audience. A part of this element depends upon the target group to whom you intend to reach out with your drink.
Find out who your key competitors are, especially small and new ones as it helps to learn from their marketing and promotion mechanism. The big ones are already known and sell by their brand name, the newer ones have smaller budgets and are more aggressive in applying creative methods to increase their market share.
Many people judge a product by its looks. The appearance of a beverage must be in line with the type of product. For alcoholic beverages, using light color and bold fonts depict luxury and purity. For energy drinks, bright colors instill a feeling of energy and vigor and are therefore better suited. For cold-pressed juices, green and its shades are used to indicate freshness, cleanliness and closeness to nature.
9) Special Packs and Limited Editions
Getting limited edition packing and special time-limited combos and packs is an essential marketing method that is creatively used by companies to create hype around a product.
10) Exotic Addition
One new strategy to launch a unique taste in the market is to test exotic products in making your drink. With online interconnection, it is now very easy to source products from different regions of the world and to become familiar with different types of drinks. If you become successful in getting a different and tasty blend for your drink, it can open a different reign altogether.
People are becoming more health-conscious and you must involve this element right from the start of your drink brand. Any negative impression created about your drink in the early stages is sufficient enough to crush the entire business model as people take health risks seriously.
Your drink branding methods communicate the message of being environmentally sustainable. Sustainability branding is a new phenomenon and more people are looking to choose brands that involve this factor in their brand.
13) New Trends
Always keep an eye on new trends and competitors as the beverage market is competitive and any sluggishness can cause a new competitor to make roads into your customer base. It also helps to launch a new range of products to diversify your portfolio of drinks.
Have a firm vision and let it reflect across all your marketing efforts. Be it on your website, social media, ads, banners, let the message be consistent so that it resonates and becomes memorable.
15) Competitive Advantage
Find out the best distinct features that your drink has to offer and highlight them across all your marketing efforts to give people a reason to test your product. Remaining vigilant of competition is an important factor in drink branding efforts.
16) Right Name and Logo
Take special efforts in naming your brand as it takes too many resources and time to do rebranding later. You can seek professional help to come up with a name and logo for your business.
Using pay-per-click ads is the fastest means to create brand awareness and sales. The top two sources for getting interested visitors are Google Ads and Ads on Facebook.
18) Press Releases
Press release is one of the top methods to get the announcement out on a number of sites including some of the well-known news sites. Many companies utilize it to regularly send out updates and announcements.
Using influencers with a large following on Instagram and other sites like Facebook, YouTube can be a quick way to get the message across to many people. Apart from influencers on social networks, you can also get guest posts on top blogs and websites related to your industry to get a related audience.
20) Affiliate Networks
You can utilize affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Shareasale, etc to get 1000’s of affiliates to promote your product for a commission.
21) Newspaper Ads
You can get ads on leading newspapers and magazines that have good distribution in your target area and have a greater segment of your target people. Another way is to get your interviews covered on such platforms to let more people know about your brand.
22) Direct Retail Outreach
You can hire people in big cities, towns who can directly pitch up your product in big retail stores and malls. At this stage, you must provide good margins to retail stores as most of them are unlikely to take your product initially because of the brand being new. Therefore, high margins will be a good incentive to convince most of these retail stores.
23) TV Ads
You can run ads on TV if you have a good enough budget. Nowadays there are platforms that allow you to run ads directly on many platforms using a single interface.
24) Pitching Investors
Once you have some data to show regarding your sales, you can start pitching out to investors who can invest in your business so that you can accelerate the brand by advertising on many platforms and grow your brand recognition.
25) Youtube Ads
Ads on Youtube are very cheap as compared to many other big platforms. Also, youtube allows many targeting options so that you can reach the right audience without wasting your advertising money in mass and untargeted advertising.
We hope that you can gain many insights into drink branding with this article. If you have any valuable addition to this list or comments, do share below.