Fresh off The Great Chicken Sandwich War, we are beginning to see how the power of social media can propel even the biggest brands. Popeye’s may or may not need the extra attention that their sandwich is getting to survive, but it’s driving people to their nationwide locations. However, there’s another company who, while being around since 2016, is also approaching the realm of monoculture, and it’s doing so with some seltzer and a hint of alcohol.
Overnight Success and White Claw
White Claw didn’t exactly rise from the realm of the unknown. The company’s owner, Mark Anthony Brands, also owns Mike’s Hard Lemonade, so they know a thing or two about the niche drink market. It’s been around from 2016, but over the past few months. the drink has gone from a moderately popular twist on the La Croix phase to an internet phenomenon, but how did they do it?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the rise of White Claw started. It’s been around since 2016, but 2019 has seen sales nearly triple. It wasn’t the first hard seltzer to hit the market, but it is the first to reach this level of popularity. Memes, YouTube videos, cultural references, merchandise, and an entire lifestyle known as the “White Claw lifestyle” have come. All of this considered, business owners should be asking themselves one thing. What can they learn from White Claw’s rise as they try to build a brand of their own?
White Claw’s Cult of Personality
Whether this is what the brand intended or not, this White Claw Lifestyle has shown the way a brand can rise up from the realm of memes and tweets. People don’t just buy the cans of alcoholic flavored water, they live it. While they could, in theory, make a similar drink using some vodka and La Croix, the brand speaks to the modern-day millennial’s tendency to not just support the things they like, but let them dominate the aspect of their very being.
Introducing all-new White Claw Pure Hard Seltzer, the refreshing alternative to vodka & soda. With no carbs or added flavor, you can enjoy it straight or add your own twist.
— White Claw Hard Seltzer (@WhiteClaw) March 28, 2019
Commercials for White Claw show an idealized world of beautiful people taking their yacht out onto the ocean jumping into the water while having the clean-looking cans of White Claw close by. It’s a strategy that has been used to promote everything from music festivals to vacations to other brands of alcoholic beverages. Shutterstock lampooned this strategy in a recent ad campaign to promote its stock image service.
Shutterstock very cleverly recreates infamous Fyre Festival ad… Entirely Out Of Stock Footage.#ShutterStock #Fyre #FyreFestival #FyreFestivalNetflix #FyreFestivalDoc #FyreFestivalDocumentary #FyreFest #FyreFraud #Advertising #Advertisement #Commercial #Commercials #Ad #Ads pic.twitter.com/PVsYF8BubC
— Jonathan Aufray ☕ (@JonathanAufray) July 30, 2019
And herein lies the key to White Claw’s success. Build your brand around the life that people want. This doesn’t mean that it will be boats and beaches and beautiful people bobbing around the water, but whoever you think will most desire your brand.
Knowing your brand
Let’s say that you are trying to sell your homemade trail mix. Sure, you can beautifully photograph the peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chocolate candies, and dried fruits that are included in your brand. You could even hire a food photographer, a copywriter, and a social media team that can help promote your brand, but you’re not just looking to sell your brand, are you? You are looking to make your brand a part of your customers’ DNA.
Your trail mix isn’t going to reach the same people that White Claw has reached, but using the same strategies will have people tattooing the name of your trail mix company in no time.
Who is going to be most likely to buy your product? Outdoors people.
What is going to sell them on the idea of your product? The outdoors.
What kind of outdoors imagery can you use? Camping, campfires, neverending hikes, oversized backpacks, thermoses, and tents which have been put together almost too perfectly.
You’ve learned everything that you need to know about how to market your product. You have built a web site, a social media following, and even a loyal base, now it is time to use that loyalty and turn it on its side.
The (Your Brand Here) Lifestyle
Now is where things get fun. You sell your product to the masses using relatable imagery from a camping trip. This spreads through social media across all platforms. People start eating your trail mix and enjoying it. They were drawn in with your crisp imagery and promises of the perfect outdoor life. You’ve even got a logo of a raisin holding hands with a peanut called Dryin’ and Legume. When people eat your trail mix, they are suddenly thinking about their dream outdoor experience, and it is a dream that they have not been able to realize without your product.
Eventually, they begin tweeting about this experience and join together in a world of like-minded fans, fans who both enjoy your product and the aura around it. They want to get together, and eventually, they do get together. First, it’s a group of half-a-dozen people who were guided by your ad. A few weeks later, it’s a full-dozen. They post pictures on social media with the hashtag #GoNutz, holding stuffed animals they made of your mascots and they show that the great outdoors is where it’s at.
It’s only been a few months, but #GoNutz has taken over the nation. These one-time fans are now your influencers and you are their leader. You can guide them to your every whim, pay them to promote your product and use their sway in social media. They are now every bit a part of your trail mix as the peanuts and the raisins are. Before long it’s an annual gathering, a music festival atmosphere but the only draw is you, their leader, and their product. Congratulations, you are now an influencer, and your brand has fused itself into the pores of every person there, and you are now more than a small-business owner. You’re a leader of a new movement.
What we learned from White Claw
Okay, maybe you don’t want to be a cult-adjacent leader of a million rabid fans, but the fact of the matter is that White Claw speaks to people. They use relatable imagery, plead to their desired audiences most likely interest, and build a brand that’s self-contained outside their advertising. This is an effective model, whether it is done on a local, regional, national, or worldwide scale. Amplo promises not to make your brand the harbinger of a massive cult, but we do guarantee that with our help, your brand can grow in size, scope, and reach with just a little understanding of your product, audience, and resources at hand.