“I got 99 problems but a ……”. Jay-Z.
There are lots of problems for brands these days. Between the government, advances in e-commerce, massive competition, and more, name the day, name the problem. My friends in the business are often busy putting out fires instead of growing their business. I’m continually hearing them fondly recall the days when the spirits, wine and beer industries were fun.
Problem: Outdated Distribution Regulations
This post from Forbes discusses the rampant evidence of corruption in the three tier system that regulators force on the industry. It’s leading to corruption, poor construction of new laws, and candidly when I read any coverage of the industry on a state level, it’s clear that there is one major group that is NEVER considered by law makers…the consumer. The small maker isn’t helped much either. It’s a money driven business.
The folks at Libdib are providing a way to weave much needed transparency into the distribution mix and the currently required, albeit outdated, three tier system.
Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a modern web platform. Restaurants, Bars & Retailers legally and efficiently purchase boutique wines, craft spirits and microbrews from Makers of all sizes. LibDib is changing distribution by leveling the playing field for everyone. http://libdib.com
Problem: Volatility in Markets, Economies, and Supply Chains
While a company like Diageo has concerns not necessarily felt by smaller brands, its issues reflect on the entire industry. When certain companies sneeze all others catch a cold. When Diageo tells us that gin is hot and flavored vodka is not, one is wise to pay attention.
Diageo CEO – https://home.kpmg.com/be/en/home/insights/2017/01/interview-with-diageo-ceo-ivan-menezes.html
So how does one tell the future? One of the solutions being used today is by Radius. Their Go to Market Insights product could do wonders for companies wanting to know about their possible or likely buyers before spending fortunes to get to them. https://radius.com/solutions/go-to-market-insights/
The bottom line? You can’t depend on your distributor to sell you into to restaurants and retailers alone. It just won’t happen. You have to solve volatility and supply chain issues on your own.
Problem: Challenges with Social Media
It’s abundantly clear that alcohol advertising and social media were made for one another. The challenges however are numerous. Working with social media is a land mine. The reach with influencers can be significant and authentic. A magic potion for success. When that social media star blows it and his/her messaging on behalf of the brand reaches millions of underage viewers, things get dicey quickly. Forget the issues around FTC regs on sponsored posts…start hitting inappropriate age audiences and your entire brand narrative comes crashing down.
This Medikix post describes the ups and downs pretty clearly. Much of my recent posts on LinkedIn cover some pitfalls as well.
So what’s a brand to do?
Utilize tech to target the right audience with true social sharing. Build brand in legal ways but build loyalty and affinity using a new wave of technologies.
Safesurv.com – Technology that leverages ID Checks into usable actionable data for brands.
Drizly.com – Alcohol delivery that allows your brand to always be compliant while building intel on your buyers.
SharedSpirits.com – A drink sharing app with an Ambassador/Influencer Platform behind the scenes that positions your Ambassadors to compliantly share drinks redeemable at your key accounts. Marketing dollars = Measurable depletion.
Problem: Increasing limits in alcohol advertising
There are tons of new laws coming on board aimed at limiting or eliminating the advertising of alcohol. Some of these are aimed at the digital landscape and some the “out of home” and print arenas. So there are calls for bans of alcohol related advertising in almost every corner. Billboards, Subways, TV, Sporting Events, everything.
Again, technology is coming to the rescue. Again via technology like Shared Spirits, highly targeted and easily to use for brands that already have lists, ambassadors, relationships, a brand steers completely clear of every ad platform currently called for eliminating.
Brands can use technology to identify, target, sample, activate, and completely avoid regulators while targeting their best consumers.
If you have questions about any of these applications, technologies or the people involved. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Sherman Mohr is CEO and Co-Founder of Shared Spirits, a revolutionary drink sharing platform that solves for major shortcomings in sampling and activation programs for brands.