Ads depicting irresponsible behavior or people imbibing who look like they could be underage can cause a serious and damaging backlash. A 2020 research paper in Preventive Medicine suggests alcohol brands' portrayal of their products sets the stage for adolescent drinking. As a result, many leading beer, wine, and spirits brands have signed on to a set of “rigorous standards” for responsible digital marketing of their brands to reassure people that they’re only directing the CPG marketing at adults who can legally partake of their products.
While this does draw some clear boundaries around what they can and cannot get away with on social media, there is still plenty of scope for creating strong social media CPG branding strategies for alcohol brands. Here are five social media CPG marketing strategies that have worked well for leading alcohol brands.
1. Put the Focus on Something Other Than the Product or Drinking
The alcohol CPG sector experienced big challenges during the 2020 COVID pandemic. Brands were forced to revisit their CPG branding and marketing efforts in light of physical restrictions. This led to a push for CPG branding to put the focus on something beyond drinking, to encourage stay-home messaging and other types of campaigns that didn’t push getting “liquored up” when depression rates were skyrocketing.
This is easier for big brands like Jack Daniels or Kronenbourg because people don’t have to be reminded what the actual product is. In these cases, focusing social media content on socially responsible events like fundraisers or positive social distancing measures can pique readers’ “feel-good” factor while keeping the brand name in their minds.
2. Offer Exclusive, Behind-the-Scenes Access
For either new or established brands, offering unique, behind-the-scenes access to information about the brand can engage followers while drawing in new interest at the same time. For example, a wine brand could produce a short video featuring their vineyards or showing how the product is made.
These CPG marketing efforts helped increase social engagement during the 2020 pandemic by more than 326% that year. Interestingly, The Spirits Business reported that eight of the 10 top-performing posts by alcohol brands mentioned the pandemic.
3. Engage Regularly with Social Media Comments
All brands, including alcohol brands, benefit from engaging positively with their social media followers. If, for example, a post includes a picture of a cocktail and a reader asks what mixer is used, chiming in quickly to answer that question is a great way to build goodwill during a CPG branding campaign with existing and potential customers.
4. Don’t Make Users Click Away to Access Content
Social media platforms offer numerous options for presenting content right on the platform, so it makes sense to use them rather than always making readers click away to another site to access the content. For example, a short video directly in the Twitter feed engages people more quickly than a link to a video on the brand page.
5. Connect to Relevant Events Featuring the Product
Suppose a cooking show features your brand of beer in a beer bread segment. Linking to that content and including captivating photos raises the profile of your brand while showing that others are using it in creative ways. Doing this shows your brand’s popularity in a way that is not overt or “in your face.”
During the 2020 pandemic, CPG branding campaigns for alcohol products did well on social media by using new video content, live-streamed tasting events, quizzes, and other engaging content.
In some ways, successful social media CPG marketing for alcohol brands upends traditional concepts of what alcohol advertising is about. The partying, tailgating, and sports-centered alcohol ads of yesterday are riskier on social media because any backlash from a misconceived ad can be swift and viral.
Fortunately, a strong social media strategy for these types of CPG branding campaigns can avoid these problems through more creative and subtler forms of brand-building. One of the keys to doing this successfully with alcohol brands is to only trust social media marketing to a skilled, experienced social media team that understands the risks and benefits that are uniquely associated with social media. Hangar12 is at the forefront of CPG marketing strategy and more. Subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date with our latest insights.