The Little Black Dress is NOT a Brand Strategy

In the alcoholic beverage world there is a lot of talk about ways to attract more women and minorities to your brand. One of the best ways to do that is by introducing and showcasing your product at large industry events and whiskey festivals popping up all over the country. Brands and local distributors spend thousands of dollars on these events but it is amazing to me how many of them miss the mark when it comes to the most important part, actually sharing the product with the consumer.

If you really want to attract women and minorities then why do you insist on having young clones in little black dresses with little or no knowledge about your product as your brand ambassadors? At a recent event, where there were more than 30 different brands represented, almost half of those followed the same casting call when selecting individuals to pour for their brand.

The scantily dressed young women, in their tight little black dresses, do nothing for the industry or your brand, other than indicate to me that you may not get what is important to me as a consumer. At showcase events, most of the attendees are truly there for the whiskey and not for mass consumption of alcohol. We want to know about your product, understand what makes it different from everyone else in the room and hear more than what we can read on your label. Don’t insult me by having someone who is barely of drinking age telling me how great your product is when they barely know the difference between whiskey and rum, let alone bourbon and scotch.

This all too common profile I find insulting to the many women in the industry who do know what they are talking about and are many times discounted because of the assumption that they are just another pretty face. You want to showcase the art and the craftsmanship of your product not just pour as many samples as you can.

For the distillery owners out there who leave it up to your distributor to sell your product, be mindful of this practice and ask questions about who and how your brand will be represented in the market. If necessary, make it clear what is acceptable and unacceptable to you when it comes to who you want showcasing your product. Insist that they invest the extra time in training them on your story and your product.

Remember the words of Walt Disney, one of the world’s most infamous brand builders who repeatedly said, “Everything speaks.” What does the little black dress say about your brand?

#bourbon #bourbonbadass #brandstrategy #branding #everythingspeaks #customerengagement #customerexperience 

Linda Ruffenach

Founder / Chief Strategic Officer at Execuity. Linda is an experienced entrepreneur, skilled facilitator, and bourbon badass. Her 20+ years of C-level experience enables her to relate to the challenges business owners face every day. As the former CEO of a $100 million international enterprise, she has been through almost every stage a company can experience from fast growth, rapid decline, to complete transformation. In addition to running multiple businesses, Linda is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville's School of Business, leading and mentoring undergrad and graduate students on their path to business ownership Linda’s superpower is turning strategy into results.