By Eduardo Irastorza, a lecturer on the Master in Marketing and Commercial Management at EAE Business School
Each year, the summer brings with it a selection of music hits that are as catchy as the flu. In the same way, every year, several drinks brands use tunes just as catchy for their advertisements, adding them as the soundtrack to spectacular TV commercials with a price tag to match. The objective is always the same: to become the brand that instinctively springs to mind when ordering a drink, achieving the sought-after top-of-mind awareness in one of the most competitive and profitable sectors of the market.
August is the month in which Spain’s Government sees whether the forecasts for tourism accounting for 12% of GDP become a reality. This year we are celebrating a new record in terms of visitors, making us the absolute leaders in the sector at a global level. Will there really be between 70 and 80 million visitors by the end of the year? It seems possible, responds the minister Álvaro Nadal when asked.
This year, August has been even hotter than usual. Global warming aside, you obviously can’t get through this month in Spain without a cool drink in your hand. It is a simple fact that we locals have always knows and that tourists learn on the first day of their holidays. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the Western world where a need and a target market are concentrated in such a small space. The special formula Heat/Tourist + Beach + Nightlife x 24 H = Drinks x N represents a huge opportunity for national and international drinks brands. In contrast to the great majority of products, consumption in this case is spread throughout the hours of the day and even more so through the night, structured into an uninterrupted dynamic. It evolves from a beer at a beach bar to a last glass in the early hours of the morning, with fizzy drinks, mixers and classic cocktails along the way. There are isotonic drinks for sport to slimming drinks to get your body ready for the beach. There are local drinks that taste of home and others that you miss, like a pint at the pub that many people leave behind.
In August, there is a flood of drinks advertisements and it is clear to see why, it determines whether or not the brands make hay while the sun shines. It is impossible to avoid their impact. They are splashed over buses, awnings and posters in village supermarkets, as well as on beach towels, t-shirts, caps and balls all along the coast. However, that is not enough, not anymore.
Consumers expect the way they relate to their drinks brand to be more interactive, attractive and surprising. This is where the concept of the Brand Experience increasingly gathers strength and originality. It is not simply a case of sponsoring concerts or festivals, of which there are ever greater numbers that are bigger and better, to the point that they no longer all make a profit. Neither are we talking about sponsoring parties in selected venues. We are talking about tailored, personalized on-demand and proactive experiences, the success of which is based on the effective management of what many people refer to as Smart Data and which cannot be improvized, like chairs on a terrace, but rather which have to be carefully prepared in detail over the course of months beforehand with an effective CRM strategy that sets the brand apart
Without a doubt, August is the golden age on the drinks market but ensuring your slice of the action will increasingly depend of laying the groundwork in advance. This groundwork enables the brands Marketing and Communication Directors align the brand positioning with the most stimulating insights from their audiences and apply them to the most effective formats for each person, time and circumstance. This is far more that a passing fashion that will go out of style, like the craze for gin and tonics.