When you are starting a new distillery things can get a little crazy. You have a thousand things you need to think about and then there’s a thousand things you didn’t even know you needed to think about that inevitably pop up. You need to think about your product, your product line, your grains, your yeast, your masher, your still, and on, and on.
Whether you are a startup distillery or one that has been around for a while you should always take some time to reflect on your brand and ask if it’s the best it can be. Does it tell your story? Does it stand out behind the bar? Does it stand out on the retail shelf? And, at the end of the day, does it help to sell our spirits?
Here are six quick reasons you may need a new label for your craft spirits brand.
You Designed the Labels Yourself – Ouch!
Maybe I should have started with something a little softer but I figured we should probably get the hard one out of the way. There are always exceptions, for instance if you are an artist or a designer, but they are few and far between. As business owners, we have more than enough on our plates. Design tends to be a last minute thought. It becomes the period to your sentence rather than a chapter in your story. Hiring a designer allows you the space to focus on your recipes or the federal paperwork.
We’ve also seen design become emotional baggage rather than a practical sales tool. Since the design is a part of our businesses identity many small business owners see the packaging they created as an extension of themselves rather than a way to draw in customers. That means we begin to lose objectivity and with it the ability to reach a mass audience.
You have a considerable amount of responsibility. Let someone who has your success and a more complete sense of what the market needs create your label design.
You Chose Cost Over Value
We all do it. We look at the financial landscape. We see that we’ve overspent on our location. We realize we can’t launch as soon as we hoped. We feel like we are sweating money. The last thing we want to do is spend money on design. So we shop around for the best price even if it means not getting exactly what we need.
But that was in the past. Look at the bottles on the shelves next to you.
- Does it look like you are the best value for the price?
- Will people overlook your hard work because it lacks appeal?
The cost of your package design isn’t just the artwork. There is research, hours of sketching, refining, market testing and print consultations…all the things that are vital to creating a package that will convince a new customer to buy it.
There is no value in missed sales.
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The Packaging Is Familiar
I fully understand the importance of strong branding. I believe in it so much that I have a business built around that principle. However, there are times where small adjustments can make a big difference. After time, people begin to become numb to what they see on a regular basis. Making a small change in typography, layout, color or even paper styles can readjust your potential customer’s eye.
If you’ve had some bad press, now would be the time to completely overhaul your entire brand identity. Reinventing your design convinces the world you are a different entity. I feel like this should go without saying but unfortunately that’s not always the case.
Your Packaging Isn’t Targeted
Nearly every time I ask a new client who their ideal target market is they answer “everyone.” That sort of optimism is commendable but entirely unrealistic. There are hundreds of different styles of spirits for a reason. Different people have different palates and those people are looking for something pretty specific. My job is to find out how to sell your product to the people who are eagerly waiting for it…and just don’t know it yet. Creating a label to appeal to everyone is the design version of trying to please all of the people all of the time.
Your Packaging is TOO Targeted
On the opposite spectrum, markets change. What may have been a “man’s drink” or a “woman’s drink” in the past are not even part of the conversation any longer. Light beer was for women while whiskey was for men.
Not the case anymore.
It’s easy to just go with the flow and maintain that times haven’t changed but they have. And you may be losing market share because you have packaging that is uninteresting to your specific region or people groups. It may even be offensive to them. It’s probably time to allow some breathing room, drop some assumptions and increase your profits.
Nothing is Perfect
There are always ways to make your labels better, pure and simple. It might involve small refinements or scrapping them and starting over but everything has the potential to be better than before.
What’s on the Outside, Will Help to Sell What’s on the Inside
In the end, our goal is to help distilleries sell spirits, breweries sell beer, cidermakers sell cider, wineries sell wine and coffee roasters sell coffee. Your package design is the only thing that will be selling your product once it hits the shelves.
I think you’ll agree that it’s probably just as important as what is inside the bottle.
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