– Thomas Simon, Founder & President of QBP

The digital age and social media have created many new opportunities to build and grow beverage and food brands.  Connecting with your target audience has never been easier.  Successfully navigating the digital world allows you to differentiate your brand and directly reach and engage with consumers.  The list below was created based on my experience as a wine importer/wholesaler and working with numerous alcohol brands both new and well established, distributors and retailers.

  1. Create an emotional connection between your brand and your target audience. Give them a reason to love, respect and support your brand, not just to buy your products.
  2. Understand your current and untapped target market(s). If you don’t know who is most likely to buy your products, how will you reach and sell to them?
  3. Research your competitors. Why do they fail or succeed?  What differentiates you?
  4. Be really creative when promoting your brand. Think outside the box.  Don’t copy another brand’s ideas.  Be original, never boring.  And take it one step further than anyone else.
  5. Never give anyone exclusivity on creativity. Use creative crowd sourcing to get input from as many creative minds as possible.
  6. Develop and foster a well thought out brand image. Make sure it is constant throughout every message and campaign.
  7. Promote your brand, not just your products. If consumers like and trust your brand they are much more likely to buy your products. Including new products.
  8. Use social media to your advantage. Relevant social media content allows you to reach and engage directly with your target consumers.  It allows you to measure ROI like no other media.
  9. Understand that you have the primary responsibility for marketing and building your brand. Not the retailers, not the distributors and not the importer.  Remember that and act accordingly.
  10. Only hire service providers who actually do the work you need done and who do it well. Avoid subcontracting.  Ask questions.  Many questions.
  11. Spend your marketing budget wisely. Even if you have a large marketing budget don’t be wasteful.  Look for quality impact on your brand image and positive long-term ROI.
  12. Use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  Avoid people who tell you what you want to hear.
  13. Be patient. It will take a while for a new brand to become successful, profitable and grow really big.