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How traditional shot brands can get noticed with experiential strategies

Alcohol brands are constantly searching for new ways to encourage consumers to try something new, expand their horizons, and sample their products.

28_Kreate_JCShoot__53A0530By Duncan McCaslin, MD Kreate

For new and innovative shot brands, this can be somewhat easier, as they have the ‘novelty’ concept to fall back on when attempting to get the attention of their most valuable customers. However, traditional shot brands have to focus on using their existing credentials in a new way.

Today, there is a significant focus in the market on experience – and people are seeking out alternatives to the ‘traditional’ in an attempt to find new experiences. As consumers search for new tastes to suit their own perceived characteristics, traditional bands have been forced to adopt new strategies to acquire new audiences, by re-establishing themselves in the market and proving they’re not just yesterday’s news.

Driving curiosity with experiential methods                             

For new shot brands, the curiosity that’s required to prompt consumers to try a new drink or flavour is there naturally. However, traditional brands need to find ways to cultivate and drive that curiosity by reintroducing their brand personality, showing versatility, and allowing consumers a chance to re-experience the story the brand hopes to tell from a new angle – with new experiences and opportunities.

For example, Jose Cuervo recently wanted to update their consumer perception by showcasing the versatility behind their spirit. To do this, they used a campaign that was designed to drive a higher rate of sale, through a pop-up sampling event that engaged with consumers across ten different Walkabout venues over a five-week tour. The aim was to embody the ‘rebellious spirit’ that Jose Cuervo encompass using music, dancing, and Mexican mules. The results of the campaign were phenomenal, with 5,250 samples served, 100% positive brand experience, and 72% consumers claiming they’d be happy to purchase the brand again after their experience, compared to only 15% before.

In a similar vein, Disaronno were searching for ways to recruit new consumers within the 18-34-year-old demographic – including both men and women. They used an experiential in-bar sampling experience for Disaronno sour, which involved the use of independent bars and groups across Liverpool, Manchester, Brighton, and London. The result was the distribution of 27,000 samples across 208 different events.

Ways traditional shot brands can use experiential

One of the most appealing things about experiential marketing is the fact that it is so versatile. So long as you are willing to use creativity and imagination, the options for what can be done are really only limited by the available budget of the brand. Because the experiential experience that any traditional shot brand introduces will change according to their specific goals and intended results, it’s hard to list all of the different options available in experiential marketing. However, it is possible to establish how shot brands should be using the experiential medium to appeal to a newer, younger audience.

1.     Make it fun and fast paced

Shots aren’t intended to be sipped at elegant balls and fancy feasts – they’re designed for social, entertaining, and exciting experience. Shots are the alcohol for those who want to let their hair down and focus on nothing but experiencing the night at hand. Because of that, your experiential marketing event should be as lively as fun as the alcohol you’re selling. Fast-paced is the way to go.

2.     Use the right staff

Besides simply having fun, consumers who interact with shot brands want to be around people who make them feel great. When you’re running an experiential event, therefore, the brand specialists that you include should be funny, engaging, and outgoing. The people who are selling your alcohol for you need to be the kind of people that everyone wants to be friends with instantly – and the type of characters your consumers will remember long after they head home.


3.     Go to your customers

One of the beautiful things about experiential marketing is the fact that you can choose to meet your customers in places where they’re already ready and willing to try something new. No matter what kind of event you host or attend, your consumers are already planning to drink, and have therefore made arrangements to allow for it. That’s crucial for shot brands.

If you really want to establish an amazing experience, make sure you set up your events in places where your customers are likely to already be. In other words, for shot brands this might mean setting up an event nearby festivals, community events, and colleges. You should have at least some demographic information about your audiences that will help to guide you.

4.     Consider the local angle

Perhaps one of the biggest areas in which traditional shot brands fall short, is that they struggle to achieve the same level of emotional and personal interaction that can be managed by smaller, less established brands. In other words, if you want to earn new and loyal customers, then you need to refresh your local image, and show customers from various areas that you aren’t just a faceless organisation working on a worldwide large-scale basis.

The local alcohol movement is huge right now, with new refineries and distilleries popping up all the time. If you can show that you’re willing to get involved with your customers from a local angle, by supporting causes or getting involved with new craft companies, then you might be shocked to see how good the results can be.

5.     Encourage responsibility

Finally, it’s worth noting that large traditional companies are often disregarded by customers as faceless organisations that don’t care about the people, or environment around them. However, one of the things that most consumers take into account when determining whether to support or eschew a company is their level of social responsibility.

Shot companies by nature are encouraging experiences that focus largely on fun times and fast-paced drinking, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t encourage responsibility in your patrons. Remember to focus on balancing fun and caution as you look forward to your activation.

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