Hello and welcome to our Beverage Industry Blog. I am Lukas Borisovas and I’m going to talk about beverage marketing, brands, go-to-market strategies and all beverage industry related topics. Well, in majority of cases. My personal goal and priority are to introduce you different parts of beverage marketing. I don’t want to overwhelm you with tons of theories, but rather to give you more practical knowledge about the beverage industry, beverage products and how to market them. Imagine this, as a conversation, so if you do have questions, please do not hesitate to ask them. Well, this is the core idea of our approach here at MyDrink Beverages – we strongly believe in both way communication, where our clients become our partners and we all go the same direction.
Today, I want to review different parts of beverage marketing, based on what is usually gets overlooked and where often mistakes are made, especially by fresh baked beverage industry entrepreneurs. You probably have heard of these things tons of times, but you would be surprised how often the same mistakes are made. Keep in mind that this is not something that came from the top of my head, these are the real issues, we see every day while dealing with various clients globally. Over the course of time, we will review different parts of beverage marketing on a broader scale, but now let’s overlook what are the main pillars of beverage marketing, especially for new brands.
So, where to start first? At first, you must understand how the beverage market works, how competitive it is, what are your capabilities, both experience-wise and financial. The industry is evolving like everything around us, and what was possible 20 years ago is completely different today. The level of competitiveness is higher than ever. That is because to launch a new product became much easier, and we can see tons of new small brands appearing all over the globe. And because it is much easier for small brands to innovate compared to huge companies, retailers and consumers are more open to those innovations.
Sounds good right? Well, there’s another side to it too – retailers are not as patient as they used to be because they have what to choose from.
You will get a very short amount of time to succeed in their market, or your product will be replaced by others. And keep in mind that you cannot compete with big companies, based on different marketing budgets. And somehow you still have to make sure that your product will be selling. This is where marketing comes over.
So what is beverage marketing? No, it’s not only the logo, packaging and few posts on social media. It is a much more complicated process, which starts the same moment you have your idea. And it definitely needs investment, this is why it is important to set up your budget before you even start. It is a long journey and you have to be prepared.
The consumer is the first things you have to think about when launching a new beverage product. It is not about you, it is not about your product, it’s all about the consumer. They buy products, they dictate the rules. Pretty obvious, right? However, majority of new beverage entrepreneurs 90% of their time and resources spent on developing the product and forget everything else. It seems that many of them think that you just have to make an amazing innovative product, and everybody will buy it. Well, there’s minimum chance that it will happen’ this way. Don’t get me wrong product is very important. It is that element that builds customer loyalty.
But you have to attract them to try your product in first place.
So when developing your product think about your target customer and actual need that he might have. You must avoid assumptions. Base your decisions on actual market needs. Yes, market research is not a cheap process, but at first there are plenty of alternatives at least to gather some insights that can be very valuable for you. At least go out from your office, and go to the supermarket or other sales premises and just open your eyes, notice how consumers are behaving, what they are buying, etc.
Look through the shelves, see what’s been discounted, which shelves are empty and which parts are’ covered with dust’. Notice how other brands are communicating, what kind of POS material they are using. These things can help you differentiate your product. You can also search on-line for open data sources about different markets with exact data. That can also help you to paint a bigger picture. If you do have some budget for market research, there are plenty of options, but consumer research can be really valuable for you. Please, remember, that opinions of your friends and family are not worth so much to you, because they like you, they cannot be objective.
It also extremely important to identify your target customer. You have to be specific about it. Very often the description of target customer is too generic and it gives no added value to you. If you know exactly who are you targeting, you can find out more, what motivates that specific person, what are his interests, what are his needs. Basically, you can create the product and brand, based on actual existing need in the market, not on your assumptions.
Innovation is probably the best word that describes current trends with new beverage development. Every new beverage entrepreneur has an idea that will change the world. And what is innovation? It is a better ways of doing things, so we can all agree that it is good. Consumers became more health conscious, they search for better ingredients, higher quality products.
Well, we all know about the war against sugar. Me personally, I’m really happy that staying healthy became some kind of a trend. That is definitely, probably the best trend we’ve had in years.
However, when it comes to new beverage development, entrepreneurs focus only on the recipe and tries to make some kind of magic potion that does everything.
Remember, the product you are developing is for the consumer. Does he understand the core benefit of the product? Do you have to educate consumers about your innovative product? Do you have the budget for that?
My suggestion, find those functional benefits that actually is clear and stick to them. If the product is too complicated, you will have to spend a lot of your resources, just trying to educate people what it actually is. Beverages belong to the FMCG (fast-moving-consumer-goods) category, and decisions made by consumers are also fast, this is why the must understand the core message and benefits of the product right away. So when it comes to the product it is a combination of various motivations, such as functional benefits, emotional benefits, understanding of key ingredients, the brand, etc.
When it comes to the brand, many people think only about the visual looks of the brand, logo, and packaging design to be specific. It actually is much, much more. Again, I want to remind the level of competitiveness in the beverage market. In order to compete, you have to stand out. Your brand should have its’ unique point of view, something that consumers could relate to, be emotionally involved. From psychological aspect the majority of decisions we make every day are irrational, but we base them on rational reasons, in other words, we allow ourselves to accept those decisions by some logical reason. So, to base your brand only on those rational reasons like ingredients or functional benefits is not enough.
The brand is not something that is in the bottle or your head, it is actually in consumer’s mind. For that, your brand must have a purpose and story. Imagine your brand as a person. What kind of attributes does it have? How will he communicate? What does he believe in? These attributes can help you differentiate in the market, and give something for consumers to believe in. The brand is not only the fun stuff, it is fundamental.
Any product can be copied. The brand is what makes you different. It is your protection
Packaging design is another element that gets often overlooked by starting beverage entrepreneurs. You have to understand that packaging design it is the first and best marketing material you have. This is what attracts the consumer, it communicates, represents the product. And it is not just the beautiful graphic design, it must be functional. This is why there are many cases when starting brands, do their designs by themselves and after a while are approaching professionals and ask to fix the existing design. It is always better to do it right at first, rather than fixing it later. Don’t get me wrong, you do not have to overspend, if you have someone really talented in packaging design around you, you can get the result, but please spend more time when creating the design. When we think about the consumer and packaging design, these are the main pillars, how the packaging must affect the consumer:
If your packaging design will have elements that will have all these elements, you might have a chance to be successful in the market.
I am really happy every time I see brave people, who have their dreams. But at the same time, I want to remind you, that you must be smart about it. Beverage brands are not made over night, it takes a lot of effort and various resources. First, evaluate, are you willing to go on that journey. Today, I reminded some of the elements, that you must consider first, even before you even start to develop your product.
We live in a very exciting time when lots of different information is available for us couple clicks away. Use it to your advantage. Research, gather insights, build your budget, evaluate every part of your project and be consistent about it. It is not easy, but definitely doable.
In near future, we will review different parts of beverage marketing on a broader scale, with various practical tips and examples.
Original article was published in Beverage Industry Blog.