September last year… Janna and Anders, two master distillers from Sweden contacted us. They were looking for a strong, recognisable brand identity for their new Swedish gin.
Just another gin please
To start understanding the market we looked at the numbers. There are some 600 spirit brands and 193 distilleries in the UK, with most of these positioned at a premium price (most over £25 per bottle and many over £30). Out of this there were 51m bottles of gin worth over £1.4bn bought in the UK in 2018. This was an increase of 27% in volume (9.5m bottles) compared to 2017. The forecast in 2019 by IWSR was that gin would continue to grow by a further 37.2% by 2021….
OK, Janne and Anders were on to something here …
Understanding the market
So to define the brand’s identity, we looked deeper into the market and selected 20 of the most popular Gins to study. What we took out from our analysis was that all the most successful Gin’s shared the following….
1. The local provenance was undoubtedly a useful marketing tool for brands looking to differentiate from the competition. But to rely on this as the only USP was restrictive.
2. In consumers eyes a strong story is an indication of a good Gin with the passion behind the craft coming through in the taste. A lot of the brands traded on the rich history behind Gin.
3. The eccentric, surreal positioning based on the bizarre history of Gin has been dominated by Hendricks and its unique medicinal bottle. So, this territory was clearly taken, but many less popular brands would try to mimic this position.
4. Botanicals have been used as a point of difference for years and it’s opened up a space for innovation, but it seemed to have reached saturation point and so we started to ask ourselves whether the bulk of consumers will continue to pay attention to these multiple flavours.
Now was the time to look at what consumers actually thought about our consumer culture.
As all new brands know… when starting out it’s always a good idea to understand who the trend setters are and why. So cultural insights must be a good persuasive start. Clearly, we wanted the gin to appeal to a wide age of male and female consumers, which can be ‘neatly split’ between Generation X (born: 1961 to 1979), Generation Y (born: 1980 to 1994) and Generation Z (born: 1995).
The cultural insights revealed the following trends and attitudes amongst our broad base of Millennials…
DRINK LESS DRINK BETTER
Consumer lifestyle, cultural and social factors are all combining to make the millennial audience, drink less but drink higher quality drinks
Younger generation seeks drinks with a more interesting story created by individuals rather than faceless.
HEALTH IS THE NEW HEDONISM
Millennials are breaking away from the recklessness of previous generations by adopting a more disciplined attitude towards health and wellbeing.
SOCIAL MEDIA OVER NIGHTCLUBS
Gin's core audience matches closely with that of the most active and engaged social media demographics.
FOOD & DRINK EXPERINCE
High quality food fits in the millennial lifestyle and is becoming the thing they plan their nights out around.
MORE NIGHTS IN
Millennials are going out less and drinking in more. Off-trade sales up 4.6% in the last year.
We concluded our research and understanding stage with an in-depth appreciation of the truths that would define our new brand. It became the blueprint or core essence of the brand. This was the brief, against which we could measure the creative ideas expressed through verbal and visual identity, key messages, packaging, website look and feel and launch campaign.
Finding the essence
The gin’s Swedish origin had been our starting point and a clear source of the brand’s personality and the USP of… ’Swedish Dill’ was its unique ingredient. Janne and Anders had crafted and infused the gin will dill to bring out a uniquely smooth and clean Swedish flavour.
Consumers are increasingly savvy to marketing spin such as ‘Welsh mountain water’ and ‘Grain from the Urals’. So, no surprises why we all wanted to be as straight talking and direct with an authentic narrative around ‘gin with dill’ which had taken years to get right, thanks to the hard work and determination of Janne and Anders.
We summed everything up as ‘STUBBORNLY SWEDISH’. Referring not only to the time it took to craft, but also in the manner it took to bring to market, becoming an inside joke amongst the team.
It's Just what is says on the bottle
The word ‘JUST’ became the verbal and visual identity. JUST GIN WITH DILL, was direct both as a no-nonsense brand and also as a ‘bar call’. It clearly described the GIN’s flavour and personality. The ‘umlaut’ on the U, was a node towards the Gin’s Nordic origins and placing it vertically on the bottle, created another hint to its Swedish roots, doubling up as Swedish flag’s cross. A subtle hint, not noticed by everyone, but when its pointed out creates a talking point and a touch of wit.
... and now lets have a Just gin party
JUST GIN’S debut was at The Tokenhouse in London. We had a Swedish band playing and a Swedish magician interacting with the guests. Today, JUST GIN WITH DILL is served across more the 400 Fullers pubs and clubs, and it’s only the second week since the party... It's got to be JUST Stubbornly Swedish!