Brands create purchasing power when consumers feel they identify with their messaging, ethos or values. It creates meaning and belonging. You’ll have likely made these choices in your everyday life. Starbucks v Costa. Coca-Cola v Pepsi. BMW v Mercedes. Apple v Android.

This feeling of belonging fosters a community – of like-minded people who make a similar choice. But how can we strengthen this strong emotional bond with customers? And are there ways we can enable more customers to have an active role?

How to create a community with an alcohol brand

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

Sammy Verghese, CEO and co-founder of Degen Distillery is using his background in technology to pave the way for a premium drink brand through NFTs. The concept of “social currency”, as developed by Pierre Bourdieu in his theory of “social capital” and expanded upon by Jonah Berger in his book “Contagious”, gives the buyer of a product the satisfaction of owning something exclusive. By incorporating technology such as NFTs, brands can create unique value propositions that resonate with tech-savvy consumers. Offering digital collectables or membership tokens provides exclusive access to events, products, and content, enhancing the sense of exclusivity and loyalty within a community.

Beta testing

Building a genuine community around your brand means more than just engaging with consumers; it’s about creating a shared journey. In episode 4 of our podcast Signet Unpackaged, Sammy shared the disconnect many brands experience from the board to the people buying the product. To combat this, transparency and active communication are key. Degen Distillery integrates consumer feedback into the decision-making process through continuous dialogue on platforms like Discord. This constant interaction not only echoes a sense of ownership among community members but also provides the board with real-time insights that guide product development and marketing strategies.

Cross-cultural collaborations

“Ulysses” is one of the most famous books in literary history and has created its own following. Fans flock to Dublin for Bloomsday each year to celebrate and reenact the events of the novel. This celebration, held on June 16th, commemorates the day in 1904 when the novel’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom, makes his way through Dublin. The event includes readings, performances, and walking tours, allowing participants to experience the city much like the characters in James Joyce’s work.

In an international collaboration of master distillers and literary masterpieces, Ulysses Whiskey x Art is a unique super-premium whiskey collection made up of 18 limited edition bottles (aligning with each chapter of the novel), each highly collectable and rare. These bottles are released every year on Bloomsday, June 16th.

This collectability – having the full set – creates a sense of belonging.

Capitalising on FOMO with limited-editions

The fear of missing out is a psychological trigger that humans can’t help but respond to. Scarcity sells. Exclusive or time-limited opportunities drive consumer engagement by tapping into the consumer’s innate fear of missing out to make them more likely to convert.

Design special packaging for limited edition releases that are available only for a short period. Unique bottle designs, special labels, or packaging that celebrates specific events or milestones can create a sense of urgency among consumers.

Collaborations and pop-culture references

Quest’s End Whiskey is a brand inspired by the popular fantasy tabletop game ‘Dungeons and Dragons’, which is played by over 50 million people around the world. The brand leverages pop culture to create a tight-knit community and also benefits from the founder’s Hollywood status, aiming to attract fans and build a community with shared interests.

Used as a tool for inclusivity and to appeal to different markets, collaborations serve as an entry for consumer sentiment. Among Gen Z and millennial consumers, 60% or more report that they have purchased special editions created by brands in collaboration with different artists/brands. Notably, the appeal extends to Gen X consumers as well, with approximately 40% expressing a similar inclination towards such offerings.

A dramatic image of a bottle of "Quest's End Paladin" bourbon whiskey. The bottle has a unique shape and is adorned with a shield emblem and a neck wrap, both produced by Signet. The background is dark with a hint of golden light, highlighting the rich amber colour of the whiskey.

Interactive Packaging

Incorporate technology into your packaging, such as QR codes that unlock special content or augmented reality experiences. This can create a buzz and enhance the consumer’s experience, making the product more desirable due to its innovative and exclusive nature.

Since COVID-19, more consumers have become acquainted with QR codes, opening a gateway from the physical world to the digital space. NFC is one step further, and although it may require some additional instructions for users, it can bring brands a wealth of opportunity.

A close-up image of a bottle of "The Wild Geese Irish Honey" liqueur, featuring a QR code attached to the neck by a string with a faux wax red seal produced by Signet. The bottle is filled with a golden honey-coloured liquid, and the background is a warm yellow.

User-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) has become a popular term in recent years. But how can it benefit your brand in creating and strengthening communities? UGC refers to any content created by users rather than by the brand itself, including social media posts, reviews, photos, videos, and blog posts.

UGC is an effective way for luxury brands to reach a wider audience, as it provides an opportunity to connect with customers in a more meaningful way. Research indicates that UGC is 20% more influential than any other type of media when it comes to purchasing decisions.

In a world where consumers have access to an entire catalogue of spirits and wines at their fingertips, these are just a few examples of how brands can build a community of support. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help make your brand stand out on the shelf.


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