By: Hanifa Anne Sekandi
T’is the season to build a sustainable marketing strategy. The beauty of the beverage industry, any brand always has an opportunity to cut through the market. Do not count your brand out or assume that the big brands always finish first. What both old and new brands can learn is the importance of sustainable marketing strategies. A sustainable marketing strategy that runs congruent with the seasons. Mother Nature knows best when thinking about how to create marketing strategies that will captivate your audience. Before you begin devising your marketing plan, hopefully, you will have a clear understanding of why your brand is appealing and who your brand is made for. As you know you cannot be all things to everyone. Once you have these two essential business ideals and a brand blueprint set. Marketing strategies become clear and focused.
What is Your Focus?
Understandably your focus is driving sales. The beverage industry is a business of making money. Although, it is driven by expert beverage artisans, history, and culture. On the world stage, the return on investments is at the forefront. Set this end goal aside for a moment and shift gears to your marketing plans. This endeavor requires direction and targeted focus. For example, Starbucks has created a great sustainable seasonal marketing strategy. They understand that there are certain times during the year that they can boost sales. How do they do this? They understand the behavior of their consumer. They focus on meeting their needs while realizing that the seasons drive buying decisions.
As the fall season approaches all pumpkin things will sell exceptionally well. Not only is the pumpkin in season, but it is also symbolic of a new seasonal shift. With this change, desires and behaviors change. As a beverage brand, it is important to understand the behavior of your target audience. Yearly marketing plans that focus on key variables prove to be effective. What symbols, colors, and themes draw meaning to your audience? Do they enjoy the outdoors? Where and how do they spend their time during the fall months, winter, and spring? Analyze your sales data to discern where your beverage has a high sales volume. What region, state, or town? What is the terrain and weather pattern?
Simplify, do not overshoot your strategy — focused strategies garner long-term favorable results. It might seem like you are aiming small, but these numbers are a good framework for how to build your seasonal marketing strategies. The ripple effect will be that people who may not live in your targeted regions, and who relate to your brand messaging will be drawn to your brand. Although Starbucks may have higher sales and popularity in certain places worldwide, its targeted seasonal marketing will attract like-minded consumers in Scotland for example; fans of their product and branding. Although they may not be the star brand in this region since they will compete with local brands, they are still able to see increased sales during the holidays and seasonal shifts.
How to Build a Sustainable Seasonal Strategy
Familiarity. Use recognizable seasonal branding that is familiar to your brand. Variations in design are admissible but familiar colors and brand mark should be implemented in targeted seasonal campaigns. Remember, people need to easily spot your brand. Your pumpkin spice lager or apple spiced rum should not be a surprise addition to consumers every year due to brand inconsistencies. What you can change is your copy. New slogans paired with familiar branding are a wonderful way to reimagine what is old and make it new. If you build a sustainable seasonal marketing strategy concisely you will not have to spend time during every new holiday or season trying to figure out how to boost sales in these competitive sales cycles. Why? Loyal consumers are attracted to consistency. Loyal consumers look forward to that cool fall branding you made last year because they know it is a limited edition exclusive to a certain time of year.
You might be thinking that there is always room for improvement. Surely, something new each season and year is needed to increase sales. Of course. Rather than reinvent what works, expand on it. Add marketing strategies that complement an existing marketing campaign that has yielded momentous results. The branding you used for your fall beer product line juxtaposed in a fresh setting. Last year you opted for campfire imagery and this year you may consider a tailgate theme. Fall and footfall are faithful companions. Or you can think bigger and add an outdoor projector screening a football game to a backyard setting along with a campfire, and a cooler full of pumpkin or apple lager. A familiar place where friends and family convene. In this scenario, the product remains familiar. But the marketing strategy is enhanced. Your consumers will know how to find this beer when they walk into the store. You can create impactful marketing campaigns without having to do an entire rebrand.
Why is Seasonal Marketing Evergreen?
What is evergreen marketing? It means that your marketing assets can be repurposed or reused with minimal changes year after year. The Tim Hortons ‘roll-up-the-rim’ marketing campaign is a notable example of this. Building strong evergreen assets should never be overlooked. Unless you just want your fifteen minutes of fame. It is okay to have a viral moment if your brand has sustainable supporting marketing material that is relevant for years to come. Always think about what is next if you plan to chase trends. When McDonald’s started putting the Happy Meal in paper bags consumers were not lovin’ it! People like the red box with golden arches. This is a sustainable evergreen marketing strategy that has proven to be timeless. Is there something unique about the items in the box, no but this box became an evergreen gold standard marketing asset. Referencing big chain brands is the easiest way to highlight why consistency and familiarity in seasonal branding and long-term marketing strategies are essential.
In a world where people are inundated with the next best and greatest. It is natural to default to what they can trust. Have you ever watched a classic movie every Christmas? Sure, there are other great new Christmas movies, but nothing beats Home Alone. How can your brand be the Home Alone in the beverage industry during the holidays? Further, new seasons are a perfect time for a new brand to enter the market. It is also a exciting time to introduce a new beverage. Consumers are already leaning towards seasonal buys. A good marketing strategist will do their research to understand what their target audience purchases during this time. Is it a warm cider or a pumpkin spice latte? Do they enjoy flannel clothing and long fall hikes? Put yourself in their shoes and understand how they find meaning. Give them what they are looking for.