5 Digital Marketing Trends Alcohol Brands Should Be Embracing

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By Michaela Macintyre - Head of Social

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2017 is an extremely interesting time to be working for or on an alcohol brand. There are new products coming into the category almost daily – gin is exploding at a rate of knots and more and more craft drinks brands are popping up left right and centre.

Start with consumer attention, not what your competition is doing

Marketers forget that consumers are not waiting around all day to hear from brands (this goes for all categories). Consumers don’t care about brands. 93% of them told us that they wouldn’t care if brands disappeared entirely*. They are not waiting to hear from us – as much as we’d love them to be. In truth, they’re too busy watching cat videos on the internet to give a flying patootie about your serve suggestion on instagram.

It therefor stands to reason that getting consumers’ attention in the age of cat videos and dog memes is the most difficult challenge facing brands and marketers in 2017. It’s why we often refer to ourselves at Gravity Thinking as an attention agency, not a digital agency.

Therefor, your competition is not your competition. Forget what the bottle next to yours is doing. Your competition is the general culture, activities, celebrities, people, animals etc who have the attention of your consumer.

See how we did exactly this for Hendrick’s Gin in the most successful campaign the brand has ever done.

Recognise that what you’re calling ‘influencer marketing’ is just advertising

Did you send some free product to someone with a bunch of followers and hope/ agree they’d post a picture of it on their instagram? Sorry to break your bubble, but that’s not influencer marketing – that’s advertising. You’re only paying for an audience/ readership to have the opportunity to see your brand. And that’s fine, but it’s not influencer marketing. I’m going so far as to rebrand this type of influencer marketing as “reachfluencer marketing”.

If you really want to work with independent creators to help change an audience’s perception of your brand or create positive brand associations, you need to start co-creating and working together with influencers aligned to your brand ethos and who you give freedom to create in their own way. Creator marketing is far more effective, delivers a more authentic brand perception and will ultimately be received better by the consumer.

(I’m reporting back live from VidCon US in June this year where I’ll be asking creators how they best like to work with brands – follow me on Twitter for more).

Forget websites – divert more money to social content & media

So you think consumers are looking for branded destination websites in 2017 and just willing to spend ages reading about your history, your process, your commitment to craft, your guide to how to drink/ serve your brand? Wrong. They’re not.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a brand website at all, but with average bounce rates on alcohol website LDA’s sitting between 25-65% of all traffic, I’d be seriously considering the volume of content and the structure/ purpose your website. Keep it functional, salient, easy to use and rather spend more money creating  & boosting/ promoting social content aligned to consumer passion points and targeted effectively.

While I am here, if you’re not retargeting in social yet… get on that. We’ve seen unprecedented results for our clients recently.

Embrace dark social & transient social

Dark social = messenger/ whastapp.

Transient social = stories/ Snapchat.

In a nutshell, why aren’t alcohol brands using chat to collaborate with high net worth consumers, influencers and the most loyal? Chat is the new social and whilst it’s closed to the public and hard to measure, it should be how you communicate with your nearest and dearest and the output of that communication is what you amplify & put media behind.

And finally, if you’re not yet thinking about every piece of content you create in portrait, geo-stickers. and considering how you can still make a big impact and drive a message home through short, snappy, transient content like stories, you’re going to miss a huge opportunity to connect with consumers in the moment as they are doing themselves. Over 200m are now using Instagram stories alone – it could be called one of the fastest successes of social functionality adoption of our time.

(It’s worth noting that Snapchat’s audience base is younger than most alcohol brands are looking to target but Facebook & Instagram stories are the right sort of channel to be working in – be careful about targeting and mindful of under LDA audiences).

Content is King, context is queen, yes. But media is the Prime Minister.

OK, that’s the least snappy headline/ marketing jargon line ever… but it’s absolutely correct. Content is absolutely the cornerstone

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