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By Clare Goggin Sivits On June 30, 2021

Tips for Working with an Alcohol Branding and Marketing Agency

After spending years developing your product, at some point, you need to spread the word about those spirits. That means honing in on brand identity, creative style, or overall marketing strategy. Since most distillery employees will spend the bulk of their time on spirit and recipe development and production processes, it may make sense to enlist alcohol branding or creative agencies to achieve your marketing goals.

These spirits marketing agencies offer expertise when it comes to marketing projects and tasks. Services range from developing and maintaining a high-quality website to creating in-house assets and overseeing content marketing. These functions cannot be done without input, feedback, and attention from the distillery itself.

When working with an alcohol branding agency or alcohol marketing agency, your distillery needs to contribute to every project to make sure it gets done. Since we have a good deal of experience on this topic ourselves, we’ve pulled together a few tips for craft distilleries on working with a creative or branding agency.

Set Expectations and Deadlines Upfront

To get off on the right foot with a new firm, it’s important to set expectations about what your distillery wants. Of course, that means you need to know what you want too. If you don’t have a clear picture of your overall branding beyond your logo, ask an agency to schedule a workshop. This exercise will help identify critical goals and strategies the agency can pursue on behalf of your spirits brand. We offer a workshop that both new and existing brands have utilized to find their purpose, mission, and archetypes. 

Once those goals and strategies are identified, it’s essential to set deadlines both for the agency and for your in-house team. Put dates on calendars for delivery of assets and completion of projects. Ensure that you have someone responsible for keeping on top of those dates and communicating between your team and the agency.

Appoint a Contact Who Understands Marketing

Ideally, the individual at the distillery responsible for communicating between brand and agency should grasp marketing. In many ways, this person will act as a project manager, ensuring that targets are hit and deliverables are handed over on both sides. Additionally, they’ll need to translate marketing ideas and concepts to decision-makers who may not understand the purpose of certain initiatives. Without that marketing know-how, those translations can get lost and lead to confusion and even a bit of mistrust between the two parties.

Short of having a point-of-contact with that marketing experience, someone at the distillery who gets marketing should be involved in those agency conversations. This way, both the spirits brand and the agency can stay on the same page throughout the relationship.

Communicate Regularly and Clearly

Once you have the point of contact, make sure they’re in regular communication with the agency. The correspondence should include updates on assets and deliverables while staying on top of current tasks and projects. This way, the contact can keep projects moving forward by answering questions in a timely manner and alerting the in-house team to any upcoming deadlines or needs.

Setting a regular check-in, whether it’s a phone call or an email, allows brands to review any issues that may come up and quash any misunderstandings that might occur as well. Additionally, having constant contact with the agency team provides brands with intel on how deliverables were received, whether updates are needed, and if additional assets will be required.

Provide Assets in a Timely Manner

Nothing holds up a project like a late asset or deliverable. Any time a brand needs to provide content, whether it’s a company description, a logo, or product photos, it has the potential to cause a backup. Deadlines should be well understood across all involved departments to ensure those pieces get to the agency on time. 

The point of contact needs to have the authority to push responsible parties to deliver assets. Perhaps calendar alerts and regular emails will keep their coworkers moving. But they’ve got to be comfortable with being a little pushy when required. Remember, you are paying the agency for their time, so you want to keep them moving.

Make Yourself Available

When you have an alcohol branding agency amid a project, design, or build, someone needs to be available at all times. If the point of contact will be unavailable, designate a backup to make sure your agency team has someone who can answer questions and review work. Any time there’s a gap in communication or the agency doesn’t know who to contact with an issue, it will slow the project down.

Are you ready to work with a craft spirits branding company or alcohol marketing agency? Contact us today. We offer free consultations for craft spirit brands. Book a meeting with our founder, Karen Locke.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.
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