Look beyond the liquid. How to build a beer brand?

Within a category of around 11,000 breweries in the UK, it’s no easy task to launch a beer brand.

Craft brands have for too long been inward facing. This is why they will always struggle to catch the big players in the industry. Its no accident that the likes of Heineken and Carlsberg have been around for decades – they sell the spirit of their brand and are building legacies beyond just beer.

craft beers

craft beers in cans

With competition at an all time high, new brands need to differentiate. Verdant and Cloudwater are two recent examples of beer brands that opted for challenger thinking in order to steel a march on their market competitors. With striking visual identities and creative marketing strategies, as well as excellent beer, brands adopting a challenger mindset have engaged their target market and are now starting to reap the rewards.

New beer brands should adopt a similar mindset. Here are a few points of how to create and build a beer brand.

1. Identify the opportunity

Seek to identify the opportunity in a complex category. Be consumer, not product centric and define what’s unique about your brand. Anyone can make a good IPA or lager, but not everyone considers consumer needs in the process. Seek opportunities for your business to make money in a segment of the category that’s lacking representation.

2. Define the consumer

Understand the persona of the consumer and know their world. Develop a research program of qualitative, quantitative and ethnographic research – key learnings will identify the best way to brand and distribute your product, not to mention inform your marketing and content plans.

3. Proposition

Ask yourself, what is the single most compelling message about your brand and what will make the consumer interested. If you don’t have the answer, you have a problem. Consider features and benefits, your key messages and proof points. Focus on unique and standout features and ensure they are both engaging and relatable to your consumer.

4. Distribution

Distribution is key. A wide variety of locations will contribute to a broader spectrum of consumers. Identify where you place yourself in the on and off-trade and which avenues best suite the personality of your beer.

5. Brand development and innovation

It goes without saying that you need a great name. Easier said than done. With a great name, comes a great story. We believe in coherence over consistency. Don’t become boring and predictable – find new ways of communicating with your audience while retaining the spirit of your brand. Build authentic true stories as part of brand marketing and establish an identity system.

kozel beer

At A Little Bird, we’ve worked with numerous beer brands to help them establish, evolve and reinvigorate themselves. For an initial conversation on how we can help you with your brand, contact hello@alittle-bird.com.