Spirits’ true north

Sacramento skyline photoA craft spirits producer in Northern California tasked Market Your Craft with developing a backstory to help secure investor capital as well as engage a desirable consumer segment. Our approach:

  • Identify defining characteristics of the target consumer
  • Create a framework for building a marketing strategy within the current business plan (for investors)
  • Develop an annual plan to help guide tactical execution of the brand story (for consumers)

target audience

Position the product for a new generation of consumers looking to discover and share brands that align with their lifestyle and sense of self. Typically called Millennials (25-37-year-olds as of 2019), the following characteristics are representative of what’s being called in the “largest generation in Western history”:

Most educated generation
Technologically savvy
Global citizens
Pragmatic idealists

communications framework

A framework is a “True North” for all of your marketing programs and tactics and represents a multi-year theme. The benefit is that only with consistency and repetition over time will a message start to resonate with your audience – you want to eventually own your position in the market. Your framework also serves as a filter for your marketing efforts. You should be able to ask yourselves at any time whether ‘X’ initiative ladders up to the larger story. We will create these stories for both the retail and consumer audiences.

Retail: Sacramento’s Authentic Spirit

Sacramento is very hometown proud and is widely accepted as the farm-to-fork capital of the United States. There is an increasing movement to source ingredients locally and market the idea of community very aggressively. Our brand fits nicely into that dialogue, and we should work quickly to establish ourselves as Sacramento’s Authentic Spirit in the mind of key on-premise accounts before another brand realizes the opportunity.

To do this we must identify a strategic set of retailers to own in the first year, adding retailers to the mix during subsequent years once established sales and distribution goals have been met. Through a series of direct mail, email and events we will invite the beverage buyers and decision makers to experience our spirit firsthand.

Consumer: The Spirit of Adventure

Riverboat Captain for spirits example pageOur target consumer audience is hyper-sensitive to what they put into their bodies. For that reason, beverage alcohol producers are nervous it’s a generation of non-drinkers, prompting innovation in low-calorie, low-alcohol and functional beverage options. Rather than give up on this demographic completely, we should create a brand that aligns with who they are, what’s important to them and when they choose to drink (usage occasion). It’s important that we make the brand interesting.

Beyond the origin story, we must create a narrative for our brand that promotes our audience’s sense of adventure and plays to their confidence level in a genuine, authentic way. We will do this through the eyes and voice of the iconic riverboat captain, whose stories of navigating California’s waterways during the era of Prohibition will be pulled forward in a contemporary, relevant way.

Storytelling Sample: #RideTheNight backstory

Storytelling Sample: #RideTheNight

annual plan

With the communications framework as a guide, we start to see natural executions for both audiences across digital, social, public relations and print. While the framework establishes the overall tone and personality of the messaging across multiple years, the annual marketing plan supports the business goals and objectives for growth during a calendar year. Like budgeting for assets, equipment, ingredients and operations, the annual marketing plan should have money earmarked for anticipated campaign, seasonal and other tactical spend.

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