Pretty weird headline for a business article, I know! Weird but true, absolutely true!
I like to go to the gym when I am back in my home town of Chicago. I am relegated to hotel gyms and cross fit drop in sessions when I travel, so I really relish my “home” gym. I can move slower, have more of a home base comfort level and basically have a better workout at my home town gym.
Today I went to my hometown gym and I forgot to pack my shorts. The most basic of basic needs to be successful- I forgot. Shoes check, shirt check, the new Apple Air Buds check, and awesome, by the way, but I forgot shorts.
Switching worlds to our universe of adult beverage I think that many of my readers are makers and producers. They are the creators of fine libations that win awards, score points 90+ and have great stories that can engage any drinker from now until the end of your average shelf life.
I also think that many of the brands that I consult for and with, forget their shorts. No I do not mean literally forget their shorts, but they do forget the most basic part of the brand “outfit,” they forget the marketing and promotion story.
Many makers or producers focus entirely on the “juice” of the product and not on the forward facing part of it. The marketing, packaging and the overall selling approach are often a forgotten element for the brand. You become as naked as I was today at the gym. You are only half dressed for your big moment.
I have said this before many times. On premise and off premise accounts buy goods for their packaging, bottle shape/size and marketing support. They buy deals; they buy EOM, EOQ, and EOY claw backs. That is what makes product attractive, I promise you all. While all makers want to tell how many days of sun and rain the growing season had for “said” product the retailer wants marketing, merchandising support, dinners and tastings for their customers. That is what sells goods much of the time. They don’t want you to bring it all to the gym and forget the shorts!
Today I walked out of the gym without working out. Many brokers, sales people and brand managers leave an account without a sale because the story is incomplete. Marketing sells everything. I worked with a brand many years ago, Cielo Tequila, which used stainless steel briefcases and sent their tequila to influencers all over America. The did this to market the brand to the influencers that could intern market it again for them. The tequila was ambient noise in this transaction, the packaging and marketing was the driver.
Focus on brand story, focus on bottle and label design, focus on what makes your brand “pop” off a shelf without a retailer having to hand sell it. There are less and less retailers and those retailers hand sell less and less. You need to make your product sell itself. You will see velocity. Wine making, craft brewing, and craft distilling are all skill sets I do not have and are rarified air for sure. Selling the goods to John Q public is where the battle is. This is where the battle will be won and lost. The difference between 5x and 6x distilled is only something the finest pallet can tell between, the rest of us buy visually.
We buy with our eyes open and hopefully, with our shorts fully on our bodies. Don’t go to the gym with everything but your shorts. Don’t go to market with the great product and bad marketing, you will literally be naked on the shelf.