HUMAN INTERACTIONS HAVE GONE ONLINE It may still be the very early days, but human interactions are increasingly happening online, and savvy businesses can take advantage of this move. You’ve probably seen them on Instagram and other platforms — it isn’t just about posting on social media anymore. There’s a growing emphasis on interactions between pages and the people behind them. Q&As, cocktail hours, live videos, and more, this is a rich area with lots of potential to be customized by a company. Vetroelite, a glass manufacturing company based in Italy, has adjusted to the new normal by embracing the digital opportunities at their disposal. Since they typically would attend around 40 global showcases during a single year, they felt that, in the new contactless world we have found ourselves in, this effort needed to be recreated in a safe way. “Without having the possibility to enter in contact directly with a customer, everything changed for us,” said Arianna Morimando, a marketing strategist at Vetroelite. “But I have to say that we have been very quick at understanding the situation and starting to use all the digital tools we have, so a lot of Skype calls.” That also includes developing a digital showroom that allows current and potential clients to e-tour their Italian showroom and get a feel for some of the tangible parts of their business.
BE MINDFUL OF COMMUNICATION The way that you communicate, as well as the content of your communication, matters these days. If you are making a choice to develop an element of your business that you feel gives back or is philanthropic in some way, you should be outspoken about that; however, you should also be careful to communicate that part of your business correctly. A good example of this would be any sustainability or climate-friendly changes that you’re implementing. The beauty of this kind of action is that it resonates with a large group of consumers, it’s a genuinely good thing to do, and it plays into the value-for-money proposition that’s important for businesses these days. Talking about and emphasizing your company’s commitment to sustainability or more environmentally conscious production methods can sway frugal shoppers to feel better about spending the extra money, because then they feel that they’re getting something back in return. However, “gre-
enwashing” your marketing materials, or simply throwing all sorts of meaningless terminology that doesn’t actually connect with consumers or adequately communicate your passion, could backfire on you. More and more consumers have become savvy enough to sense when the marketing material itself is canned and inauthentic, and that outcome would be particularly disappointing if you have real passion for the message you’re trying to spread. It’s one thing to be a moderately successful distillery that gets by on the strength of their products and consistent support from the local and regional market, but becoming a better-known brand requires more work than that. If your only hope with marketing is to maintain communication with your base and slowly trickle in new fans, then you likely can do that without much additional effort. “But at a high level,” said Matt Ebbing, founder and chief creative director at Ebbing Branding and Design, “when you think about brands that transcend what they literally make and become more of a lifestyle brand, they all stand for something that moves people. They all have a spirit or ethos that carries a lot of value. They got there with great storytelling.”
ADD VALUE TO CONSUMERS’ LIVES This last year and a half have been tough on us all. At this point, if brands are not already well-known, breaking through and getting loyal customers will be hard without offering something that will add value to their lives. In the spirits industry, this can be interpreted in many ways. You can support certain organizations or movements that mean something to you with each sale that you make, or you can offer education and entertainment as part of your marketing. However you choose to add value, make sure to do so with thought and integrity, or risk losing those hard-earned sales. Even as the fears related to the pandemic wane (less so now that the delta variant must be dealt with), drinkers will still be looking for a more holistic experience from the products they choose to purchase. If you can offer an experience with your product, whether that’s through education, entertaining content, live interactions, or a cobbled-together approach of all those and then some, you will find more success and support from a wider consumer base. It’s a lot to ask from small business owners who already have so much on their plates, but to ignore these trends could cost you fans and consumers.
Devon Trevathan is the co-founder of Liba Spirits, a nomadic distilling company that focuses on capturing a sense of place in every bottle. She also continues to write about spirits and cocktails, including the science behind distillation and the history of drinks culture. Devon travels constantly these days; if she's not working, she's probably exploring her surroundings in the best way she knows how—her mouth (AKA through food and beverage). You can find her online @devontrevathan or @libaspirits across all platforms. W W W . ARTISANSPIRITMAG . C O M