How Vodka Brands Use Content to Keep the Party Going

The alcohol industry is one of the most creative spaces for brands today. And they have to be – to sell an idea with a bottle, a sticker and not much else, a brand must surround its product with some seriously creative marketing.

The industry is rife with content marketing case studies – as long as they strike a delicate balance that appeals to their customers, a company can be successful with completely different strategies. For some, connecting with consumers through social media returns great results; for others, strategically branded high quality content is a better route.

Here’s a look at some interesting content strategies for three vodka companies – Absolut, Skyy and Kanon Organic. Which “party,” or strategy do you buy into?

Absolut: The Coolest Club Of The Moment

Absolut is a Swedish Vodka known for its “stylish, unexpected witty brand of superior quality.” It is the 4th largest international spirit in the world, and have been famously innovative with high-concept print advertising.

Their Bottom Line: Know your brand, and maintain image and identity at all costs. Create lust, grandeur and intrigue with selective and well done content.

Content Gem: The Drinkspiration App — it’s a mixology guide using Absolut Products, but with the Absolut look, feel, and cooleness. An example – look for drink tips based on your location’s background noise.

Risky Payoffs to Admire:  Some clever guerrilla marketing videos. They are not in any way typical to the brand’s look and feel, but they are engaging – see the moral simple temptations of Absolut in real life settings, or Zach Galifianakis being himself.

Point of Weakness:  Absolut has pretty infrequent social media engagement (only about 5,000 twitter followers, though almost 100,000 Facebook likes).

Kanon: The Hipster Loft Party

Kanon Vodka is also Swedish, but focuses on making an efficient, organic, and environmentally friendly product. It’s known for being “inventive and tasty,” but also for being exclusively served at hip lounges and progressive independent liquor stores.

Their Bottom Line: Connect with the right internet influencers, and utilize them for creative content and valuable social media relationships. By doing this, your brand will gain the right exposure, seem genuinely cool and get lots of consumer traction.

Content Gem: F.O.K, or Friends Of Kanon, is the brand’s contribution-heavy blog that highlights the lives and parties of internet fixtures, referred to as their “friends.”  Most of these cool people – like fashion blogger Bryan Boy, Party Photographer Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter, and musician Lykke Li – happen to be creatives, so they a. produce great blog content b. make great content themselves and c. attract users from their own blogs and social media accounts.

Risky Payoffs To Admire: Funny, tongue-in-cheek tweets like “Retweet this if you need a cocktail,” or “We like to go to happy hour any day that ends in “day.”

Though this small brand only has around 5,000 followers, it likely gets a lot of retweets and user engagement because it’s relatable and ideal for social media interaction.

Point Of Weakness:
Though the indie approach will  relate to a specific young clientele, they can come off as isolating, especially to potential clients who don’t know who Becka Diamond is.

Smirnoff: The Crazy, Crowded House Party 

Smirnoff is a Russian Vodka owned by corporate giant Diageo, and has been called the best-selling distilled spirit brand in the world. It is available virtually everywhere with a liquor license, comes in tons of flavors and sizes, and is relatively inexpensive.

Their Bottom Line: If people interact with your product and are willing to mention it on the Internet, play a part in these interactions rather than staying super slick and brand-y. Put your brand in the hands of social media vodka lovers at all costs. Harness the customer, and content and engagement is yours.

Content Gem: This brand knows how to engage its fans, and to consequently get a lot of user-generated content surrounding “the people’s” ideas on great parties and fun drinks.

Risky Payoffs To Admire: Whether Smirnoff was directly involved or not, the concept of “icing”  –  where buddies “iced” each other by forcing one another to drink the brand’s fruity and weaker Smirnoff Ice – was one of the biggest viral trends in the last decade. The trend sparked its own website, and tons of internet press coverage, and of course social media buzz. The brand claims no ties (probably because any association with binge drinking causes problems), but it is still crucial to note.

Point Of Weakness: It sometimes tries too hard to engage users with content that’s just not brand relevant. “Help find the Best Backup Dancer for Madonna’s show and win tickets?” Frankly, I think their clientele would rather be drunk.

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