Marketing Matters: More… On The Art Of Branding & Identity

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AUTHOR: Glenn Johnson


I’d like to take the opportunity to continue with the Marketing/Branding points brought up in my previous column in the Brand Identity Infographic and focus on a few points related to the look/feel and mission/vision of building your brand for scale.


Defining your brand is paramount. Define who you are, what you stand for and who you are not. Provide a relevant point of view to the market you serve and develop your brand message & voice to match it. This can begin simply by either looking at the work you’ve done to date in developing your brand to ensure it all aligns with a relevant point of view, or, from the nascent stages of developing your brand by defining a mission statement. This can be done in your own vernacular, from be a kickass cannabis brand that provides unique strains” to “providing quality craft cannabis to a connoisseur seeking an experience.”


Communicate the values and mission of your company. Be clear on what sets you apart, and define the audiences with whom you want to do business. Simply placing product on shelves isn’t enough if you want to play the long game here. Building a brand is important now more than ever as larger investments are infusing money into the market that is quickly eclipsing some of the smaller players.


We as an industry can learn a lot from the work alcohol of brands who’ve faced regulations and constrictions on doing business over the years post-prohibition and which continue to struggle for awareness and consumption in a crowded market. There are innumerable similarities to what makes these brands different, unique or special, taste, of course is paramount, as well as consistency, quality of ingredients and origin story are all important across every vertical.


The larger portfolio companies that control the most ubiquitous brands in alcohol have spent millions to garner their share of the market. These behemoth producers have also adapted to the younger consumers who are seeking “experiences.” Pernod Ricard CEO Alexandre Ricard has made a shift away from category-to-category competition (our vodka vs. their vodka) to what he likes to call the “five key moments of conviviality” it’s portfolio of brands are targeting, including “Let Loose, High-End Drinks, Hanging Out, Out to Impress, and Sharing a Drink.”


Consumers of alcohol have also adapted for years as brands identify themselves as an experience, as part of the consumers life, that unlocks something special for them. It’s been said that in the last 25 years we’ve gone from a label culture (which Absolut did an amazing job in the 80’s/90’s of establishing) to a craft culture of terroir and small batch distillations.


Listen to your customer wants, needs and requests and deliver upon them. What experience are you providing your customers? Vendor days are an important opportunity to engage with consumers and LISTEN to what they’re saying to you about how, when and why the purchase product. Empower your sales team to listen, and capture insights so that you can learn more about the markets in which you’re doing business, and build marketing and messaging to adapt and adopt these as appropriate for your brand.

Create experiences for your customers that are memorable and positive, and shareable.

More and more, alcoholic beverage brands, as well as many/any CPG product brands are turning the spotlight on their customers themselves, mining content and insights from social platforms in order to uncover trends, preferences, and lifestyles.


Content can be used to create loyalty and drive better customer relationships.


Create a content strategy. Apply your Mission Statement, who you are, to what you say and what you show on your social media, you can’t be everything to everyone so it’s important to maintain your integrity and post meaningful content, don’t oversell your brand, be real, be informative, optimistic and friendly. Listen to which posts resonate most with your audiences and track this to emulate in future postings.


For example from a recent Greenentrepreneur post: We can teach the importance of knowing your farmer, your source and the process by which your chosen product was made. We in the cannabis business can help consumers understand their power to support the artisans and stories that resonate with their heart — not just their pocket book. Educate your consumers on the power of their voice.


About Glenn Johnson

I am a Marketing, Branding and Communications Consultant w/ experience in high-touch luxury consumer marketing in the travel/hospitality, wine/spirits, fashion/beauty/grooming and Cannabis categories. My talents include Branding & Brand development, Business Building, Strategy and Brand Storytelling. I excel in working with Founders, funders, start-ups, and small brands.

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Previously I was co-founder & moderator for the Creative Mind Salon series hosted at Soho House NY w/ industry innovators, creatives & decision makers from fashion, film, photography, music and digital industries which provided IRL intelligent discourse amongst highly-curated leading edge creatives.

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