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brand building



June 6, 2010

Brand Building Via A Category Portfolio
By John Henry

Photo by Steph Goralnick, Courtesy of PDT

The elusive “brand building process.” What does it take to succeed? Cash? Russian oil money? Scandinavian potatoes? Clawing solo up the greased mountain to distinguish one brand’s diamond dust filtration or crystal skull from the rest? How did the 2oth Century American Master Sidney Frank (rest his soul and his dozen Dunkin’ Donuts a day habit) do it with long shot Jaegermeister, and then do it again with the lightning in a bottle Grey Goose in a mere seven years…then finally rest a year or so after sharing all that wealth? (Theory: Perhaps it had something to do with years of suffering and excommunication from his in-laws, ruling liquor scions, The Schenley Family).

To paraphrase Lennon and McCartney: What does it take to do it on the street?

I had the fortune of working on Maker’s Mark from the late nineties to the mid ‘00’s.
Now that was a brand who truly believed that if the waters of the whole Bourbon category tide would rise so too would Maker’s. Plus it was a brand built on the pillar of active listening. It charted its own steady course of “blue flame growth”, plus throughout ownership changes it kept a stellar team which firmly buoyed it on the dock and stayed the course. Still does. Nothing mythical here fellow ferrymen. Maker’s will hit a million cases this year. And are even finally introducing a limited release expression, the elegant and wry Maker’s 46.

We worked hard to teach Bourbon 101 seminars and preach the faith of the whole category from Day 1 back in our day. Never talked any brands down. Even trusted Old Granddad and the Wild Turkey. Today Continue Reading…