What do you do when you want to create a niche product in an existing market bloated by ‘same-same’ products? Research!
White Light Vodka tasked Ellis Jones with developing a brand identity and visual identity strategy in order to take on the ‘Big Brands’ of the vodka industry. Our first step was to define what it was about White Light Vodka that made it unique from its competitors. Once we had established product differentiators, the next step was to identify the target audience and thusly, what approach would communicate to that market most effectively.
Many of the assumptions we make as consumers are created by branding and marketing firms in order to convince people of their authenticity. Vodka is a market dominated by ‘Russian’ style identities and narratives, however the truth about most vodkas is that they aren’t Russian at all, they just use these visual tropes to confirm our already established purchasing habits.
What you think you know about a product allows you to make ‘safe’ purchasing decisions, so in order to change the perceptions of consumers in this regard, a brand must be able to differentiate enough to stand out, but not rock the boat too much for fear of alienation.
White Light Vodka definitely has an advantage within the Australian market that they needed to capitalise on. Fermentation of sustainable Queensland sugar cane, Melbourne water, Australian made – these are all positive aspects of the brand that needed to be communicated in such a way that they allowed White Light to stand out from the crowd.
However, there also needed to be some constraint with regards to the branding and visual identity approach. If the visual direction of White Light strayed too far from established vodka tropes, the product may be overlooked entirely as it is not recognised as ‘vodka’ according to consumers predefined semiotic knowledge. Developing an identity too similar to existing brands and the product would be lost in a sea of copycats.
Therefore Ellis Jones developed an approach that tackled both of these issues, differentiation in the market and, at the same time, making the design familiar enough that it could be recognised as a premium vodka brand.
Using research to uncover the unique qualities of White Light Vodka and the market they are operating in, our eyes opened to aspects of an industry and product that many take for granted.
Leveraging this knowledge allowed us to create an identity that will provide White Light with a powerful start in overcoming the age old problem of convincing consumers to believe in you.