Case Study: Luxury Brand Launch

A luxury brand launch and exceeding spirits sales targets by 350%

“a really inspiring and successful brand launch. A Job well done!”

Alex Farnell

Inverroche

Premium African spirits brand Inverroche appointed us to import their gins into the UK in September 2020. Inverroche’s brand story is all about African luxury. It celebrates the indigenous local fynbos from the Western Cape of Africa and the story of shared human ancestral connection.

Inverroche knew how they wanted to communicate their brand messages and establish their luxury positioning in the UK gin market. It would’ve usually been with in-person samplings, bar takeovers and cocktail listings in super-premium cocktail bars. COVID-19 restrictions in place in the UK got in the way of that. So we needed to find an alternative strategy to launch the brand and stay true to Inverroche’s luxury image.

Task

The launch needed to be digital only in the middle of the pandemic. The question was ‘How could we introduce the brand to consumers and convey luxury digitally?’. To do that, we needed to get a deep understanding of their target consumer. From there, we needed to choose the right collaborations to launch the brand in the UK market. It was very important for us to set the brand on the right footing from the start.

Action

First, we spent a lot of time working with the brand to identify our target consumer in the UK. This involved creating a persona for the typical Inverroche customer we wanted to communicate with, and interrogating this in partnership with the brand. We identified 2 personas;

  • “Aspirational Angela” with interests in Luxury African consumables, gin, makeup, travel and interior design who follows brands like Estee Lauder, Cartier, Chanel and Vogue
  • “Casper The Connoisseur” – a head bartender who enjoy eating out, cooking, cycling, socialising and shops at Ocado, Master of Malt and is seeking new products for his bar

 

Our target customer’s go-to channels to discover and engage with brands was Instagram. So we centered our social media marketing strategy on this channel, making sure it conveyed luxury visually and the right messages.

We then targeted online retailers based on who their customers were (do they match our profile?) and on their ability to deliver Inverroche’s brand image and messages in the same way. These were all retailers we knew we could work with to deliver a bespoke activation. That’s how we made sure we had a meaningful say in the marketing communications. Four retailers on our list were interested in promoting Inverroche from the get-go and they had spaces in their marketing schedules.

The Savannah 

The Savannah is a chain of South African shops in London. The chain listed the products in their 5 stores and online. We developed a multi-channel campaign across their website, email and social media with them to support the launch. It included: 

  • A social media competition with their 2300 followers
  • A digital product promotional banner on their homepage and spirits page featuring the Inverroche gin range
  • A solus email marketing campaign, that was to their 15000 subscribers announcing the launch.
  • Repurposing and promoting all these activations on the Inverroche UK social media accounts to extend reach

Gin & Jones

Gin & Jones is a gin subscription service with 150 subscribers. We activated the Inverroche launch by focusing on 42 of their best customers. We sent them a full bottle of Inverroche Amber Gin as well as miniatures of the other SKUs for sampling. Gin & Jones listed Inverroche Amber Gin on their website. That meant that their subscribers and the general public could purchase bottles. We worked with Gin & Jones to also include it in their 2020 Christmas hampers to capitalize on the Christmas gifting market.  This proved so successful they kept the hamper as a permanent SKU on their website into 2021. 

The Whisky Exchange

The Whisky Exchange is the largest online specialist retailer of whiskies and fine spirits in the world. We worked with them to feature Inverroche in their top 10 gins in November 2020. The retailer shares their spirits of the month via a newsletter. Their November newsletter featured Inverroche and reached their 200,000 email subscribers. We also worked with Inverroche’s brand ambassador, Billy Abbott, to produce a video tasting to support the activation.

We supported the Inverroche launch at these retailers with an online PR and social media campaign:

Online PR

We obtained a review of Inverroche Classic Gin in the Gin Guide, a global, independent resource for trade and consumers with 98,000 followers. We worked with Lorna Scott, Inverroche’s founder, to produce a video interview featured on the review. Inverroche Classic Gin was also the Gin Guide’s ‘gin of the week’. Visitors can purchase the spirit through Master of Malt and Amazon from the review. The Gin Guide promoted it in their newsletter reaching 2,000 gin lovers and trade professionals around the world. And we organised a social media competition to their followers. It reached 23,000 people and generated 802 entries.

 

At its heart, Inverroche Classic Gin is very satisfyingly fitting of its ‘Classic’ title, while the delicate use of native botanicals neatly connects it with its source and story.

Paul Jackson, 2020 (https://www.theginguide.com/inverroche-classic-gin.html)

 

We also held an online virtual tasting via our own tasting platform SippingRooms.com. 50 gin influencers attended the tasting as well as over 150 consumers. During the tasting, the engaged audience learnt about the gins and the story of the distillery from Inverroche brand ambassador Bo Devereau and founder Lorna Scott. We reached 200k people with our pre and post-event social media campaign.

Alex Farnell from Inverroche described the event as “outstanding!”

Social media

We built brand awareness for Inverroche on social media. We targeted a dedicated following of consumers who enjoy the finer things to connect them to the African luxury way of life. We created a stylised feed with a beautiful mix of imagery. The objective was to tell the Inverroche brand story through lifestyle images and graphical posts. The content balanced four content pillars

  • Heart of the pioneer (30%) – Convey brand heritage and the Inverroche story. Promoting creativity and authenticity
  • Taste of the Pioneer (30%) – Showcasing exciting drinks experiences being enjoyed in a variety of serves and occasions
  • Pioneering in African Luxury (20%) – Positioning Inverroche as the most distinctive, most desirable, luxury gin brand in Africa
  • The Pioneering Spirit (20%) – Shining a spotlight on the stories of exciting and inspiring pioneers, aligning their narrative to that of Inverroche

We also ran paid social campaigns across Instagram and Facebook targeting those with interests such as luxury goods, theatre, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, wine tasting, art and events.

We engaged our social media influencers to extend the reach of our content as well. We also increased our exposure through Brand Partner Collaborations.

Result

Here’s what we achieved between September and December 2020 by adapting to the market conditions and focusing our efforts on digital marketing: 

Top 10 gins November 2020: Inverroche classic

The Whisky Exchange

REACH DURING THE LAUNCH. 1000+ FOLLOWERS AND 60K+ ENGAGEMENTS

IMPRESSIONS AND A REACH OF 60.1K THROUGH PAID SOCIAL CAMPAIGN.

“It is so great to see the diversification of what can be done when our day-to-day channels are compromised [covid], and yet still witness a really inspiring and successful brand launch. A Job well done!”

Alex Farnell

GM for Marketing & Sales, Inverroche

TOTAL SALES IN Q4 2020

%

WE SMASHED OUR QUARTERLY SALES OBJECTIVES AND MET OUR FIRST 3 MONTHS SALES TARGETS IN THE FIRST MONTH!

We put the Inverroche brand in front of over half a million people through various digital media channels.

We sold an average of 70 bottles of Inverroche a month through Savannah and over 300 bottles of Inverroche in 3 months through The Whisky Exchange. We achieved further listings at 11 online spirits retailers, including the Gin Warehouse who sold 270 bottles.

Inverroche was delighted with the way we launched their brand in the UK market in unheralded conditions whilst staying true to their brand promise.

Curious about how to launch your spirits brand in the UK?