How Exclusivity Makes a Premium Liquor Brand a Cultural Phenomenon

As in so many consumer product categories, it would seem that there is little room left for innovation in mature businesses like liquor. Most of the world’s best selling alcohol brands have pedigrees that extend back for generations, if not centuries. Johnnie Walker scotch, Jack Daniels whiskey, Dom Perignon champagne, Heinneken beer, Pusser’s rum and Stolichnaya vodka are just a few examples of seasoned products that are recognized and consumed around the world.

When an industry seems to be settled and stagnant, however, is actually when opportunity can be greatest for entrepreneur’s seeking to roil the waters of staid competitors. In category after category, from cosmetics, to bottled drinks, to retail, to automobiles, to ready to wear, and many more, new brands pop up, penetrate the market and seize sales and market share from old line companies that become bloated and lethargic.

A recent example of this phenomenon occurred in the vodka classification of the liquor industry. The largest selling alcoholic spirit in the world for many years has been vodka. The category is highly fragmented, consisting of premium Russian brands and much cheaper eastern European and American produced varieties. This striated marketplace created an opportunity for an aggressive entrepreneur seeking to capitalize on the industry’s corpulence.

Sidney Frank was a highly successful serial entrepreneur. In studying the premium spirits business he thought he identified a niche that was not addressed by any of the endless labels of vodka he saw on store shelves. Mr. Frank decided to develop and target a niche brand to address this perceived unaddressed soft spot in the market.

He quickly assembled a team of distilling specialists and took the crew to Cognac, France. Mr. Frank correctly concluded that American consumers associated French manufactured products with quality, luxury, exclusivity and high end craftsmanship. His simple, elegant idea was to craft a premium, French vodka that would be distilled and marketed to appeal to American tastes.

Sidney Frank’s vodka uses French winter wheat, is distilled through a column still with alpine spring water and filters the bulk through the limestone plateau of the Massif Central. Each of these artesian elements adds to the unique taste and brand mystery that has become entwined with the product that was introduced to the American market in 1997. In addition to the production features that make this vodka unique, Mr. Frank supported the launch with a most contemporary guerrilla marketing strategy.

For young hip Americans, the club scene, hip hop personalities and sports and entertainment are the beacons of contemporary fashion trend making. Sidney Frank made sure that his new vodka, priced at a super-premium level compared to his competition, was featured in the exclusive bars, clubs and restaurants that are enjoyed by these trend setters. Promotional parties and tastings were held across the country and invitations became highly prized. Soon rappers, actors, athletes and media personalities were seen drinking the product and mentioning the brand in numerous songs, at award ceremonies and in interviews.

The platinum vodka that Sidney Frank created and launched so successfully was Grey Goose. Only seven years after the brands appearance in the American market, Grey Goose was sold to Bacardi for $2 billion. This was the largest valuation ever placed on a single liquor product.

The hyper-success of Grey Goose has been replicated in various products and industries throughout American history. The particulars of the march to market of successful brands are remarkably similar, even if the end products are totally dissimilar. Invariably the process begins with an aggressive entrepreneur identifying an un-served or underserved niche in a mature market and filling the space with a superior new offering.

The success of Grey Goose has lead to a raft of new, super-premium alcoholic brand launches. Limited edition drinks and celebrity sponsored lines have become ubiquitous. However, Sidney Frank, now deceased, created the super-premium category and reaped the largest fortune because of his keen eye for consumer taste trends and his ability to respond with a superlative product and a unique guerrilla marketing strategy.

The Best Dog Food For Skin Allergies and How You Can Keep Your Dog From Suffering Today

Think for a moment about why the best dog food for allergies in your pooch may be the kind of homemade meal that you make from home. You can make these meals easily in your very own kitchen using only the ingredients found in your pantry and refrigerator. Believe it or not, making homemade dog food for your dog’s skin allergies no doubt helps your pet get over the agonizing discomfort and incessant scratching. How do I know? Because my wife and I faced this problem head-on with our sweet boy Whiskey. And after doing a little research, we now know what the best dog food is for allergies.

Skin allergies in pets unfortunately has had a long and storied history. But to really understand why, you have to know the pet food industry and why their products have affected skin allergies in dogs for years. It’s no secret that specific dog food for skin allergies actually causes more of the same problem instead of helping. Why is this so? My wife and I also asked this very question and then began doing some research ourselves.

We found that a true food allergy can be triggered by particular ingredients found in store bought pet food. People think that by just purchasing a dog food brand that lists the benefits of being “allergy free” will solve the issues with your dog’s dry flaky skin. Sadly this is not the case. What my wife and I found, much to our horror, was the fact that these commercial dog foods, even the most expensive premium and ultra-premium brands are literally dripping with chemicals, additives and preservatives that further worsen the issue for your dog’s skin problems.

In fact, we learned that these chemicals and additives severely cause HUGE health issues for your dog that can lead to a whole range of issues that severely cut your doggie’s lifespan short. From our experience, we were through with expensive trips to the vet and endless pills that we religiously smashed in cheese only to make our precious boy choke them down time and time again. Enough was enough for us! My wife and I became determined to find the absolute best dog food for our dogs allergies so that we could stop the madness for good. We became our own investigators.

Through our tireless research, we stumbled upon a plan of action that was both scientifically sound as well as easy and practical to use from day one. We began creating easy, homemade, all-natural recipes for our Whiskey using ingredients we already had in our kitchen. We learned how to transition our boy Whiskey slowly off the chemical laden commercial brand while slowly implementing new healthy meals my wife and I easily made. Not only that, we began introducing new sources of lean, healthy protein such as salmon and even duck while keeping his carbohydrate intake to a minimum. The results after a few weeks were nothing short of astounding and my wife and I had finally discovered the best dog food for allergies had been staring us right in the face for months while we fretted about our dog’s health.

So, yes, the short answer is after doing the proper research, the best dog food for skin allergies in your pooch is very easily attainable and is certainly NOT going to be found down any commercial pet food isle. Once our Whiskey was completely done transitioning off his old dog food, his painful red flaky skin healed incredibly fast. In fact, just a few short weeks later, one couldn’t even tell he had been a suffering and miserable boy such a short time before.

If you’re serious about how you can discover exactly what the best dog food for dogs allergies is, then the first step you can take is to learn how to slowly begin to transition your dog’s diet to a wholesome, all natural, homemade meals. And what’s important to note is that my wife and I knew nothing about how to go about creating easy and quick homemade meals before all of this. But through our research we found the right information that easily explained everything we needed to know to help our Whiskey’s skin issue.

Homemade dog food recipes are quite simply the best dog food for allergies because you have total control as to what the ingredients are going to be.

Why Building A Personal Brand Is Good For You And Good For Business!

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does” – opined Stuart Henderson Britt in New York Herald Tribune in 2005. The same applies for branding.

Advertisement is the best way to get noticed. And it is impossible to advertise without a brand. To get noticed and carve a niche in the market companies and personalities create their brands.

Generic businesses and practitioners do not have an identity or recognition. Therefore they do not have any referrals or repeat business. Branding gives you or your business recognition. A brand conveys succinctly and yet vividly what a product or service stands for. A brand for product X states that it has certain qualities and characteristics that make it unique.

“Branded companies are beginning to understand that if they don’t spend enough time thinking about, ‘How is my brand going to differentiate me?’ they lose out big time,” says Wharton marketing professor Americus Reed.

A brand creates an image of your product or service in the minds of the consumers. Brands associate products with certain messages and images and the consumer immediately recalls the product when the brand is mentioned. The image gets etched strongly in the minds of the audience due to consistent exposure to the brand image. For instance, the name Harley Davidson instantly conjures up images of sturdy bikes with a lot of steel on them, free spiritedness, and wander lust. BMW stands for ‘driving’, Mercedes for ‘prestige’, Toyota — ‘reliable’, Nike for ‘doing it’, Red Bull stands for ‘energy’, and Fed Ex stands for ‘overnight’.

These days every successful business or personality has a brand. Branding is not the domain of big corporations alone. Even the small and medium sized businesses are getting branded. Some wise start-ups enter the market with an already created brand. They have clear cut goals about what they are going to deliver.

A Brief History of Brands

Branding started in earnest after the industrial revolution. Manufactured products needed to be marked as belonging to a particular company while shipped and transported to keep them separate from other product consignments. Soon manufacturers realized that branding their products in such a manner also helped in getting identified better in the market place. When pitched against generic local products in the market, the branded products sold better. Thus the use of brands was extended to sales from transportation and shipping.

But the history of branding dates back to almost 3000 B.C. Branding of livestock to mark ownership goes back to 2000 B.C. The owners of livestock burned a distinct symbol on the hide of a calf to ensure that in case it wandered off or was stolen by a competitor it could be easily identified and claimed.

Potters in China used marks on their pottery and porcelain as far back as 1300 B.C. The practice was also followed in Greece, Rome, and India. Though not relevant from a marketing point of view, criminals were branded literally as a method of identification and punishment in 1600 AD. Bread makers, gold smiths, and silver smiths marked their ware to ensure honesty during the medieval period.

Post the industrial revolution manufacturers started to brand their products as a method of distinguishing their product, an innocent way of simply publicizing the existence of one’s brand. Soon branding was extended to drum up the quality of products. Brands increasingly signified characters and gave personalities to companies and their products.

This was the mid 1800′ to early 1900s. The sole aim was to increase the consumer’s awareness for a product. Quaker Oats for example, just wanted to make sure that people somehow could trace their otherwise generic product.

The Quaker man showed up in 1877. This was the time when hiring a copy writer meant, hiring a newspaper journalist or a salesman to write a few lines attributing to the product that the consumer would remember. Branding was not serious and the Quaker man wasn’t designed to sit on the consciousness of the people edging away other such rival images.

The increasing competition in the mid 1900s led to the growth of advertisement on the basis of branding. The development of print, radio, and television revolutionized the world of advertisements. Brands beckoned people from packets and covers of products, newspapers, magazines, bill boards, and television screens. Companies shifted focus from describing their products to creating images for them. Lovable characters were created to represent products under the Chicago School of Advertising, which was an idea of a Midwestern adman Leo Burnett.

Tony the Tiger, Morris the Cat, and the Marlboro Man were some of the brand characters that Leo Burnett created. Brand images were also based on situations like the ‘Kodak moments – signifying childhood memories worth cherishing’.

Slowly the scene got so hot that businessmen and manufacturers realized that they needed to spend a considerable amount of money on developing brands and promoting them. The media always welcomed the idea. Moreover, the returns on building a brand were higher than improving the product.

Most whiskey drinkers cannot tell the taste difference between their ‘favorite’ brand with that of two closest rival brands of whiskey. They just buy their whiskey enticed by the brand image. This is true for many products and services. Realizing the timeless truths like these the manufacturers concentrated more on brand promotion even though the product had nothing great to offer over the competitors’ products. More and more money was pumped in to brand design and promotion. This resulted in a proliferation of brand creation and management agencies – or ad agencies as we know them.

Starting from the 1960s to the present day, the importance of branding has assumed newer proportions. The late 1990s and early 2000’s have taken brand building to greater heights with the use of the Internet. Brand equity is something most companies are concerned about. Brands are so overwhelmingly present in our lives that it’s annoying sometimes. It’s not uncommon to sit to watch a program on TV only to be disturbed by countless commercials promoting different ads shown hundreds of times during the telecast of the program. And brands pop up regularly while reading content on a web site.

But brands are here for good. Big companies as well as small ones know that investing in a brand makes sense. Small enterprises have joined the branding bandwagon without any reluctance. Even a small blogsite has its own brand.

Bushmills Distillery – Oldest in Ireland

The Antrim Coast is one of the great scenic drives of the world. The A2 road meanders its way around the north eastern edge of the island of Ireland offering spectacular views and scary moments of exhilaration at the cliff top bends and dips. One cannot explore the Antrim Coast without calling to the world renowned Bushmills Distillery in the village of the same name located close to the famous Giant’s Causeway at the most northern part of Ireland.

The old Bushmills Distillery is truly a legend amongst distilleries the world over. Over the past four centuries, the art of distillation has largely remained the same up to today, ensuring that all whiskeys from the Old Bushmills Distillery retain their distinctive taste. Bushmills holds the oldest license for whiskey distillation in the world. On April 20th, 1608 King James 1st granted the Governor of Ireland’s Ulster province, Sir Thomas Phillips, a licence to distil in the Bushmills area and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Bushmills is the second biggest selling Irish whiskey in the world and the village remains a community of whiskey makers, artists in their own right, located in a village in the heart of Ireland’s corn country where the distiller’s craft has been preserved against all the odds in order to produce the original and best Irish whiskeys. There is a huge sense of community running through the workforce and the families associated with the distillery and distinct pride in handing down the skills acquired to the next generation.

It is the only Irish whiskey where all stages of production are still conducted under one roof, guaranteeing the consistently high quality demanded by consumers around the world. Bushmills produces a family of malt and blended whiskeys with a wide range of flavours, but all retain the same Bushmills qualities: they are sweet with a soft, pleasant mouth-coating texture – and they all balance depth with finesse to give an exhilarating experience.

Part of the distillery is a Visitor Centre, which takes you through the whole process of distilling from the corn fields to glass in hand. The art and history of distilling is explored and explained in excellent detail during the hour long tour. They even let you taste some samples! If you are in this beautiful part of Ireland, ensure you spare an hour to marvel at the wonders of the creation of one of the worlds outstanding brands of whiskey and the fascinating history associated with it.