Boozy branding is a bit of a passion for me. After spending many years as a part of the NW Ohio technology community, I ventured out to co-found a distillery – Toledo Spirits – here in Toledo, Ohio with two other friends in 2013. We have spent countless hours executing branding and the marketing strategies around our products. I’ll let this post be a shameless advertisement for you to find me on LinkedIn and explore my products, if you’re not familiar. However despite my tech background, I’m getting some pretty good experience with alcohol branding.

stella-brown-bottleMoving the blog along, another old friend of mine and I were hanging in a bar some time ago and had this really neat product revelation – it will be helpful for you to know he’s from Belgium. Newly to the USA, we sat at this bar and pondered the beer taps in front of us. He abruptly asks, “What the world is that?!?” pointing at the Stella tap. We as Americans know Stella Artois as an iconic premium beer; its signature curved tap, lovely paper wrapped bottles, and of course, the gold rimmed chalice. Different story in Belgium. I’ll save you his colorful description (that could possibly make the late Tony Bourdain blush), but he quickly leveled the brand to a simple, cheap, working man’s beer. So far from the premium price we Americans pay for the knife-scraped, gold rimmed glass of suds.

stella-usWith some work, you can sell a completely different experience from the exact same product. You can see from the two photos, there is a clear difference – which would you find a ‘premium’ based solely on appearance? It would have been easy to just push product to the US market to grow sales. But with some additional thought, Stella brought an average product into a premium space for higher margins. Perception is everything in the consumer market. Don’t sell your product’s branding short, you could be missing big profits.

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