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Hooch Branding and Marketing Trends

06/13/2018 • Shawn Patrick

We all know that it takes more than an excellent product to be successful. Distilleries have to create a feel, a mental picture, and an emotional connection to consumers so that whenever they see your label or hear your name they're buying.

Ethics & Honesty

People aren’t just drinking your hooch. They’re drinking who you are as a company as well. People expect ethics. They want to do business with a company that is responsible (environmentally, commercially, socially, etc.). Some customer bases will care about different parts of this more than others, but even a person who doesn't believe in climate change won't stop buying a product because they support the environment.

Consumers are also looking for the ethereal concept of genuine. Sure, every business needs to develop a persona and craft an image. Just make sure that image is as real and accurate as possible. Don't pretend to be something or someone you aren't. Your GenX and older Millennial consumers will appreciate this above all else. Don't be a poser.

Be Creative with Spirits

Every brand of craft spirits has their own unique flair or something that differentiates them from their competitors. Eventually, though, you will need something a little more out there. Make sure you have your core brand locked down first. The last thing you want to do is confuse a customer base by releasing a wild and impressive, yet oddball, flavor when your regular product is just hitting.

Find Influencers

Influencers are regular people who've developed a massive audience on a platform and are able to sway consumer opinion of that product or thing. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian or PewDiePie are good examples of this. That doesn’t mean big names are the only names.

Local celebrities or people in a relevant niche with a big following on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, or even LinkedIn work just as well. Even a regular person on Facebook with a lot of friends with similar interests can be influencers. People trust what “peers” have to say more than any marketing or ad from a company.

There is a fine line between getting your product into the hands of influencers to spread the word and buying a shill. If your customer base thinks you are just paying someone to sing your hooch’s praises they will jump ship. There are also legal issues. The FTC gave warnings to 90 companies who had compensated influencers in some way to hawk their products without stating that it was a paid endorsement.

Build Consumer Confidence

Several high-profile data breaches in the last couple of years coupled with the ongoing Covid-19 virus, have made consumers leery of both giving out their information and venturing out in public. Every step that can be taken to protect customer data and ensure their physical safety at your distillery should be taken. Let your customers know that you take their privacy and safety as serious as they do. Be transparent about the security measures you have in place. They'll thank you for it - if not verbally, then with their dollars.