Building brand awareness through positioning in the consumers’ eyes, associated with national (or regional) branding, is a standard procedure for increasing recognition of products and services.
By associating a particular brand with the image of a country, a kind of “fusion” of associations is created in the potential customers’ minds (as long as their values do not contradict each other, of course). How does this work in the marketing of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, or those that burn the esophagus?
The famous “Made in…” – indicating a brand’s nationality – effectively raises the profile of products such as alcoholic beverages. Virtually all wine, beer and other liquor brands invoke their country of origin as an integral part of their brand strategy: Czech lager, English ale, or Irish stout.
The same is true for wine brands. French, Spanish or Italian wines are classified by region of origin and grape species. In addition, the quality and type of soil are taken into account, as well as the characteristics of growers. In Germany, on the other hand, the labeling of wine brands used to be so intricate that you needed a guide to figure it out. It happened that specific brands, in the minds of consumers, communicated a veritable marketing mish-mash.
All this creates countless opportunities for bragging. Wine brands associated with a particular region may have different bottles, such as Hock – brown, Mosel – green. Wines from Franconia are bottled in special cracked bottles, called bocksbeutel. Already these visual aspects – design – which have not yet even touched on the logo (and the rest of the visual identity elements), are of great commercial importance.
These complex differences seem to say: “here is something authentic. No imitations.” That’s why French champagne producers from the area around Rheims, known as Champagne, so passionately defended their generic name (including their reputation) against sparkling wine producers from other regions, and especially from other countries.
(Today, these are tried-and-true methods of building brand awareness among customers; a positive brand image in a particular product category. Back then, such a play was a real coup. Branding is a process, and today we can see that even messages of a particular brand, which are not understood at first, can sell a company’s image effectively and reach an audience even in a few hundred years!)
New World wines, from Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and many other countries follow the same path, although usually with less intricacy. The end result of this procedure is brand awareness of the wine, which bears the name of the country as well as the place that gave it its identity. This is why the idea of a Eurowine, a “cocktail” made up of various European wines, seems so absurd and even repulsive. (Perhaps the target group for such an experiment is just being born and we will only know it in a few years?)
Scotch whisky is believed to derive its special qualities from the natural qualities of water and soil, as well as from the hereditary talents of those who distill it. Different grades of malt whiskey come from different regions, and each is distinguished by just the right flavor and bouquet.
Irish whiskey (spelled with an “e”) is different than Scotch, and Bourbon is even different. Regardless of the cleverness of Suntory, Japan’s whiskey producers, are unable to produce a liquor that matches that made in Scotland.
It all comes down to the fact that for many food and beverage products, especially liquor, nationality is a kind of seal of quality. Few people would choose to buy Italian whiskey or Scottish olive oil.
We all take for granted, quite without thinking, that in the world of liquor, country of origin and brand are inextricably linked. This is the most obvious sign of a relationship that has always existed, ever since commerce existed, and which is still alive, although it has been violently undermined recently.
In the 19th century, most countries produced products mainly for use in the domestic market, although exporting certain goods was very important for some countries. Almost every product differed significantly depending on its country of origin. French, German, American, and British locomotives were different, although they all ran on the same tracks.
Each country had its steel mills, munitions factories, chemical factories, soap factories, shipyards, and so on, and each of these enterprises had an individual character. Everything from bread and pastries to architectural styles and cuts of the dress had a national “flavor,” and it was often of great importance.
The above text was written with the support of various brand stories that Wally Ollins introduced to the world 19 years ago in his book. Ollins is a marketing and advertising guru who (interestingly) also helped increase Poland’s brand recognition. Among others, he advised creating a coherent strategy related to our country’s brand and creating awareness among the brand’s audience, i.e. foreign tourists as well as Poles themselves.
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