beer branding

“the art of product positioning is about finding the sweet spot”

Tristan O Connell, a London advertising executive, stated for any agency, careful selection of clients is a critical success factor.

We carefully select the product and brands – as history proves that organisations with poor products or products with a poor product story will undoubtedly fail. Working with fantastic products, such as Peroni, is a delight and without any shadow of a doubt the better the product the easier it is to craft a compelling story one that communicates the product’s unique value proposition. When a brand’s products are made with great attention to detail and craftsmanship you don’t have focus on communicating a feature and benefit story – the product does that – with fantastic products – less is always more and a light touch is best. You will see that many of our advertisements have a light touch.

To me, the perfect brand is one that has a great story that needs to be told; a truth within the brand, perhaps a hidden truth that is yet to be told.  I like to work with brands where all the customer touch points – the entire customer experience – has an authentic feel.

Tristan’s view is that ‘the art of product positioning is to find the sweet spot’.

Beer brands often talk about the provenance of the product – the country of origin, Peroni is Italian – but Italy is a big place and Italy means different things to different people – Italy is an absolute dichotomy – one Italy is little everyday Italy represented by the image of pizzas, red checked table cloths and candles stuck in Chianti bottles and there are plenty of beers that position their brand on that image. The other Italy is stylish and passionate Italy it is aspirational represented by the la dolce vita and the movies of the 60s such as Roman Holiday, and Three Coins in a Fountain; a time when the jet-set and movie stars were visiting the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Portofino, Rome – and dressing in clothes from Milan; this was a time of the Vespa, and the Fiat 500; products with enduring appeal that are classics today. Today, this is the Italy of la bella figura.

We discovered that no Italian beer was positioned on the image of stylish and passionate Italy and we wanted Peroni in that space. Once we identified the dichotomy the choice was to fight in crowded market or a create a new category. We had a fantastic product and made a conscious, but, brave decision to create a new beer category, to create a premium feel, to be bella figura, and behave like a fashion brand, to create a brand that would be comfortable in the world of fashion. To position Peroni as an Italian style brand we worked the iconography of the brand – the images, the type face, the font and background colours, the number and positioning of the words, even the red Peroni sash is consistent with an Italian fashion label.

Tristan elaborated, we worked on the authenticity of the brand; for example; we like to work with music – often 60’s classics, music that everyone knows – enduring music  – music has the power to ‘entertain’ to provide enjoyment and motivate consideration, to evoke emotions, establish empathy, create an immediate connection with our target market, to linger in the customer’s mind, to create associations and aid recall and to enhance the continuity of the story. When we can we like to add our own twist. For the Peroni advert, which was shot in Capri, we chose “Here Comes the Sun” to maintain brand consistency it was partly sung in Italian, but we recorded it at Abbey Road [where the original song was recorded]. I have to say it is very special to record at Abbey Road, and, it adds an extra dimension of authenticity to the advertisement and ultimately to the brand story.

Tristan continues. We began to play with the finer more passionate points of la bella figura; we created a richness, an Italian spirit, to the brand – over time we behaved differently to how beer brands traditionally behave and because of this we have been able to have relationships with other luxury brands. This behaviour includes how we price the products, where we advertise the brands, and how the brand is promoted. In hindsight this looks easy but it required a massive effort to create a new brand category, and I hasten to add, the first beer brand that is positioned to appeal to both women and men and Peroni now owns the uni-sex space. So we started that in 2004-5 and it has been a phenomenol success

Being authentic to the brand applies across all communication, not just advertising, it is equally important if you are working on a new glass, a beer tap, a piece of B2B communication for the channel partners, or through an event, that there is a connection to the brand and the brand story. We are more than advertising we are managing the brand – generally we avoid TV as we don’t believe that that TV is premium behaviour, we like big screens, and events and sponsorships where the consumer can become emmersed into the experience and the atmosphere. The important part with events and sponsorship, where only small numbers can attend, is to ensure that they are covered well in social media to generate the amplification needed to provide an appropriate return on the clients investment and our time and effort.

When marketing is executed well people can’t help but fall in love with the brand.

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