If you are a brewery in planning, you are no doubt in the process of prioritizing tasks; what has to be done now, what must be done in the near future and what can be done down the road a bit. Things like finding a space, obtaining all of the proper licensing/insurance and securing brewing equipment all must be given first priority. I would argue that having your brewery’s brand identity professionally designed is right there on that list.
Before I get into why I believe that, I’ll define some terms. First, a brand/branding. Your brand/branding is basically how a person/people perceive you. How your beer tastes is part of your brand. Your logo is part of your brand. How your taproom employees treat people is part of your brand. The language you use is part of your brand. The way your tap handles look is part of your brand.
Your brand identity is part of your brand. Which part? It’s the part people see. It’s the part that says “Hey! this is us!” I’ll give an example: Say you’re walking down Main St., lined with various shops and restaurants. You’re looking for Jim’s Barber Shop, to which you’ve never been before. How will you know which shop is Jim’s? Having the address would be helpful of course, and you could also ask around or go and look into each shop window until you find it. But if Jim is any kind of Main St. business man, he’ll have a sign that says “Jim’s Barber Shop.” That will be by far the most efficient way to signify to customers which one is Jim’s. So it is with your brand identity. It’s the part of your brand that says “this is our brand.” It’s your logo, tap handles, website, packaging design, promo materials etc. saying “Hey! This is us!” (I will say here too, that just slapping your logo on pint glasses, tap handles, business card etc… is not branding. It’s called “logo-slapping” and it’s boring.)
Now, why would I argue that having your brand identity designed professionally is on the high priority list? Because a professional, polished brand identity from the outset will allow your brewery to build brand recognition early and often, which will be an exponential multiplier as your brewery grows. Whether in the aisles of the grocery store or in the local taproom, you want folks that have never had your beer before saying “oh what’s that one?” and folks that have saying “ah! there it is.”
Having your brand identity designed early on will also allow you to build a following before your brewery is even opened. Work with your partner brand identity design studio to create branded assets for your social media campaigns. Research has shown that Tweets with photos get 313% more engagement, and those photos should be designed to be consistent with your brewery’s brand identity. Doing so will allow you to build brand recognition for your brewery early, so that by the time your brewery opens, people are already familiar with your brand identity.
Often, breweries will cobble together a “good enough for now” brand identity until they have taken care of all of the other top priorities. But the beer you’re brewing is not “good enough for now.” It’s great! Why then would you send a “good enough for now” message with the brand identity? People’s first encounter with your beer is often, like it or not, not going to be what it tastes like, but what the brand identity design LOOKS like. You want that looking as good as your beer tastes, am I right?
So, make having your brewery’s brand identity professionally designed a top priority. Because awesome beer being represented by an awesome brand identity is powerful combo.