Building drinks brands that bond with consumers

Leaders from the drinks industry gathered in Sydney this month to discuss the power of building brands that connect with customers.

From talking Bob Hawke into starting a brewery to selling best-in-class gin to the world, successful players shared their experiences at Table Talk, a sold-out event presented by Mr Yum.

Held at Forrester’s in Surry Hills, Table Talk brought more than 50 hospitality industry professionals together to explore the topic “Hungry for connection: building brands that bond”.

Three marketing visionaries tackled how the best businesses build communities, experiences and experience-based connections with their customers in a wide-ranging conversation moderated by Mr Yum’s Dan Stock.

Co-founder of Hawke’s Brewing Co Nathan Lennon spoke about his experience creating a beer brand inspired by Bob Hawke and how the former PM factored into their story.

“We sort of landed on this interesting thought of what if Bob Hawke was the figurehead or the face of a brand in Australia that wasn’t a joke or a flash in the pan or about the fact that he likes sculling beers at the cricket, but actually stood for
something and stood for his legacy,” he said.

When the company launched in 2017, Lennon says people thought “it was a gimmick” or some sort of summer promotion run by one of the big brewers.

“It was important we could articulate early on the story and that’s underpinned by the moment that Bob chose Landcare Australia (as the charity partner that would receive his royalties from the business),” Lennon said. “We always wanted this to be a purpose-driven brand tied to charity but he tied the bow on that part of the story to give us the substance, that this was a legacy, not just for him but part of our own legacy.”

Head of Marketing at Archie Rose Distilling Co Victoria Tulloch spoke about the importance of values and how they help businesses to achieve success.

“Having a really clear vision around your purpose and your values is fundamental. I think if you don’t have that, you know, it’s easy to flap in the wind, make a bit of traction and then things stall,” she said.

Tulloch said the Archie Rose brand was in an exciting transition phase, growing from a smaller craft brand into charting a new path as one of the great Australian premium brands and rolling that out around the world.

She said collaborations had been key to Archie Rose from the outset, working with brands including Melbourne craft coffee roasters ST. ALi and Sydney Opera House.

“The power of collaboration is new audiences. If you can find brands that are authentically a great match and you can create stuff together, you have the added benefit of sharing what you’re doing with each other’s audience,” she said.

Gerald Torto from global design agency Re discussed why intelligent design is essential for brands.

“Design is really important because you’re thinking about the end user, and you want them to end up doing something,” he said.

“You want them to feel something. And in the context of brand, that feeling and that doing is attributed back to what you stand for and what you’re about.”

Torto spoke about bringing the Mr Yum brand to life through its new positioning, “Better Together”.

“If we drill Mr Yum down, what is it about? Tech, yes. Humans? Absolutely. And food. When you bring those three things together, they’re better together.”

Mr Yum CEO Kim Teo (above) said: “It was great hearing from an inspiring group of panellists who shared unique perspectives and insights into building some incredible brands.

“We love bringing industry colleagues together to learn from some of the best in the business and look forward to hosting Table Talk events around the country over the coming months.”

The inaugural Mr Yum Table Talk event was held in Adelaide at Sparrke at The Whitmore in September with the Sydney event followed by a Table Talk in Melbourne earlier this week at The Espy Hotel.

Future events are planned for Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, New Zealand, United States and UK.

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