We carried out important groundwork before re-launching the brand in the UK market. We first overhauled their pricing strategy and put in place an appropriate pricing tree. The new pricing strategy made sure that bars bought the SKUs from wholesalers instead of direct from Dingle. That’s how we opened the wholesale channel up for Dingle. We structured the sales strategy to flow from this: we targeted on-trade venues that we knew used certain wholesalers. We also conducted market research to show Dingle how competitive the UK market was. That’s how we demonstrated the level of marketing investment needed to support the sales strategy and their objectives. Once Dingle agreed a marketing budget, we appointed a PR agency to deliver brand awareness campaigns.
In the first year, our objective was to achieve listings at targeted high-end on-trade venues and high-end off-trade outlets. We supported this with our large-scale St Patrick’s Day activation event, “Trim and Tonic”, at the Bloomsbury Hotel. Customers and attendees received a free Dingle gin & tonic when they had their hair or beard trimmed. Key off-trade buyers attended a buyer event at the same venue. We also ran 18 special menus across London, which we developed with each venue, to support the event.
The events were a perfect opportunity for PR coverage. It achieved coverage in 9 national outlets, including the Guardian and GQ, with a total audience of 66m in the UK. This opened up opportunities on the off-trade and we supported those with targeting activations, incentives, window displays and in-store tastings.
In the second year, we carried on expanding our distribution network into the on-trade. We shifted our sales strategy to high volume, premium gin-focused venues.
In the North of England, we supported this with our “Dingle Supper” event at Atlas Bar, part of our ‘Gin of the Week’ activation. The event consisted of a 4 course meal paired with 4 unique Dingle serves.
Across the country, we supported this with our Christmas “Dingle All The Way” marketing campaign. We delivered the campaign at 60 venues across London, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool. 14 of those venues were part of the True Pub Group. We built the campaign around themed special menus that we’d crafted; we developed the menu together with Fever Tree for the True Pub Group. We trained venue staff in person and produced USP reminders for them to effectively sell the cocktails on our menus. We put a sales incentive in place for all venues: staff at the best selling venue went on a trip to Ireland, visiting the distillery.
Alongside this, we carried on our expansion into high-end retailers. We used our successful activations at Borough Wines as a case study to achieve listings. We ran Gin of the Month activations with as well as targeted ‘Introduction to Dingle’ events. During these events, we took customers who’d purchased tickets to the event through the entire Dingle range to educate them about the brand. We distributed free samples of each spirit to encourage them to buy the brand later.
Finally, we continued opening up wholesale channels through training opportunities and marketing support. Our aim for this was to access premium group accounts.