Baileys, Johnnie Walker and Mexican department store chain showcase brand elevation in new Lewis Moberly whitepaper

Design and branding consultancy Lewis Moberly has launched a new white paper “Elevating Brands”. This paper takes a detailed look at the economic, social and cultural trends which are altering our perception of “premium” and it examines the opportunities this is creating for brands.

Research, expertise and case studies

This 3,000-word paper combines three elements to provide a read that is essential for any brand or marketing professional:

  •  detailed qualitative and source material research conducted by B&B Partnership
  •  insight and advice from experts at Lewis Moberly, the agency behind iconic brand elevation work including Waitrose Cooks, Selfridges Food Hall and St Pancras International
  •  case studies revealing how three brands successfully elevated themselves: Baileys Original Irish Cream, El Puerta de Liverpool and Johnnie Walker

Baileys case study

Mary Lewis, creative director, Lewis Moberly, says: “The 2013 launch of Baileys Chocolat Luxe was notable in many ways. For chocolate lovers it was an exciting moment: it was a ground-breaking innovation fusing Belgian chocolate with alcohol. For the Baileys brand it was a major event. It was its first ever sub-brand and it was a markedly premium sub-brand.

“The launch of a sub-brand wreathed in the mystique and luxe of rococo graphics, and priced at such a premium from the core brand would not have been possible without the work Baileys had done in the preceding years to elevate its core brand.

“When we first began to work with Baileys this much-loved brand had been experiencing a decline in sales. It is the world’s number one liqueur brand but was struggling to appear relevant to today’s consumers.

“It needed to elevate itself and become more premium and aspirational. So it tasked Lewis Moberly with the creation of new visual identity for the brand including its brand world, packaging and future innovation.

“We awoke the sleeping equity of its Celtic double B icon, developing it to reflect fashion brands such as Fendi, Gucci and Chanel. We introduced a more sophisticated palette, and placed the product in a tactile world imbued with quality and refinement. Finally, we made the bottle taller and slimmer. This not only physically elevated the bottle, but also made it fridge door friendly. In this way we brought Baileys

“Original Irish Cream from the back of the cupboard to pride of place in the fridge. We evolved it from a special occasion drink to an everyday drink to be enjoyed throughout the year.

“This process culminated in the launch of Chocolat Luxe. The largest ever launch by Diageo Western Europe, it was rolled out into 15 European countries, sold tens of thousands of cases, and brought in tens of millions of net sales value.”

El Puerto de Liverpool

El Puerto de Liverpool is Mexico’s largest department store chain with over 60 stores throughout the country. Liverpool had tried on a number of occasions to create gourmet food halls to meet the growing interest of the emergent middle class in gourmet foods and drink. However, these attempts had never been successful with sales accounting for only around 2% of the total store sales.

It hired Lewis Moberly to create the positioning, brand story, naming and graphic brand identity for the first Experiencia Gourmet which was launched at the Interlomas shopping mall in Mexico City in November 2011.

Dr Hilary Boys, strategy director, Lewis Moberly, says: “The narrative brand identity we created reflects a pleasurable, sociable gathering and visually unravels throughout the food hall with a unique element dedicated to each venue or product area. It is a playful invitation to participate.

“Experiencia Gourmet and the brand now accounts for a daily 14-35% of total store sales. Experiencia Gourmet is attracting a new younger consumer to Liverpool and also stealing consumers from its more premium competitor department store El Palacio. The brand is having a positive halo effect on the motherbrand, and staff recruitment, previously difficult, is now easy and morale is high.

“The success has led to an ambitious roll-out programme for the food halls. In addition an Experiencia Gourmet branded mineral water has been launched and, despite being twice the price, is out-selling Coca-Cola’s Ciel brand where they are sold alongside each other in Liverpool’s stores. Given the size and profitability of the mineral water market in Mexico and its anticipated growth, this is also set to be a significant profit centre.”

Johnnie Walker case study

Lewis Moberly has a long association with Johnnie Walker. It was responsible for the step change in on-pack design that saw the striding man brand icon greatly enlarged across cartons, providing a more contemporary and premium feel to one of the world’s leading whiskies.

Recent work on the Johnnie Walker Collection shows once again the importance of design craft in elevating a brand and achieving sales success. The Collection is a set of four miniature 20cl bottles, each containing a different blend of whisky and housed in an outer pack.

Lewis Moberly was challenged to make the packaging for global travel retail sales more premium in both appearance and feel, in order to raise price and encourage more gifting. The design solution achieves this through a series of subtle cues.

The outer sleeve is blue which is the colour of business and the military. It is smart and sophisticated, it also emphasises the inclusion of JW Blue Label – which sells for £150 a litre – within the pack and to elevate the overall impression. Contents are listed, together with foiled silhouettes of four bottles giving a more contemporary and clearly branded appearance. Once this sleeve is removed a sturdy rigid box with a smart, neat, magnetic closure offers all the satisfaction and sense of quality of a heavy car door closing.

A forward-opening mechanism displays all four bottles and invites consumers to compare and contrast the four blends. Individual bottles are held securely at the base and top, so feel more precious. A light cream neutral interior showcases the beautiful golden colours of the whiskies.

Tasting notes are printed on the outer pack. The four blends are not merely listed but are prefaced by ‘Presenting…’ further emphasising the specialness and giftability. The Royal Warrant adds the ultimate seal of approval.

Since redesigning the Johnnie Walker Collection net sales value has increased by a massive 112%, net sales value per case has increased by 51%, and sales volume has increased by 40%. This has happened within the context of a 0.8% fall in the total Scotch whisky market, and growth of this product is significantly ahead of the sales growth of any other Johnnie Walker product in global travel retail.

“The new design with its attention to every detail and beautiful materials and finishes has transformed Johnnie Walker Collection into a highly desirable gift pack with great displayability. The commercial results speak to the success of the redesign,” said Clare Negus, design leader, global design team, Diageo.

Striking findings

A host of striking findings emerged from the research, and are described in the white paper. These include:

  • The age of consequences: the era of indulgence gave way to the age of austerity, but now we are entering the age of consequences as consumers find themselves able to splurge on little luxuries but carefully considering where to spend their money
  • Edible escapes are the new opportunity: 41% of respondents cited, food and drink as the top temptation, where consumers actively want to buy more premium products
  • Elevating commodities: whilst segments such as chocolate, coffee, alcoholic drinks and ice cream continue to offer opportunities for brand elevation, we are seeing examples of it in even the most basic categories such as butter and salt
  • The consumer of 2015 is hungry for life, not just food: treats have moved on from being personal, to being all about sociability
  • Go small to attract shoppers concerned about waste and waists: some 15% of adults have either bought or would be interested in buying individual sachets of certain products, such as table sauces or sweet/savoury spreads