Prost: Climax Spirits U.S. Go-To-Market Strategy
Prost Beverage Company owns numerous brands in the spirits category, in particular, Tim Smith Spirits brands. Tim Smith is best known for his starring role in Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” and for his critically acclaimed: Climax Moonshine. While successfully turning it into a major national brand, Smith managed to keep his family’s 100-year-old moonshine recipe a secret. The brew is pot-distilled using corn, rye and barley malt mash, resulting in a 90-proof spirit.
Although Tim Smith and his Climax products had an established fan base, the brand needed a go-to-market strategy to clearly define the consumer market. In 2017, Prost tasked the ArchPoint Products team to develop a marketing plan to build brand awareness and drive distribution in key regions. The ArchPoint Products team developed a strategic plan based on the rising success of Tim Smith and the brand’s goals.
When the Climax brand was brought to ArchPoint Products, the team saw the brand lacked unique positioning in digital/social media channels and in-store promotion. The brand had no prior research to define a target audience or brand positioning, leading to an intangible go-to market strategy that could grow the brand.
With a need to identify the brand’s positioning and target audience, the ArchPoint team defined the following portfolio positioning strategy through secondary research and a comprehensive competitive analysis:
- Psychographic target and insight – understanding the target audience’s interests, hobbies, lifestyle and behaviors
- Brand promise/truth – establishing brand pillars and providing a beacon for the marketing direction
- Brand personality/character – differentiating the brand with its unique attributes
- Portfolio positioning strategy by variant – defining the off-premise liquor channel focus, on-premise priorities, and each variant’s strategy
Once the positioning was defined, ArchPoint built an activation plan to bring the brand to life in key markets. These tactics included updated premium packaging, optimized experiential sampling programs, a complete redesign of the website, and enhanced point of sale items like updated sales presentations and cohesive trade materials.
In addition, the team performed an assessment of the Climax social media channels and the behavior of its current follower base to define opportunities that promote brand awareness and build a stronger following of existing fans and other whiskey aficionados. The ArchPoint Products’ team executed the new strategy by developing a framework that embraced new high-quality photography and videography and increase that resonated with the desired target audience.
Embracing his loyal fan base from the show, ArchPoint also developed a “Rally Cry Flyer” for Tim Smith fans. This flyer is easily downloaded from the website and used as a tool for consumers to become ambassadors, advocating for their choice of Climax variance in stores across the country.
Within a short few months, the Climax Facebook channel saw a 21% increase in follows for a totaled 6,144 additional followers. The page saw a 24% increase in engagements, bringing in an incremental increase of 140,000 total engagements organically across the social media channel.
Most notably was the success of engaging a new audience on Instagram. Before ArchPoint takeover, the Climax Instagram was stagnant in engagements, messages and followers. Within the first four months, Climax’s Instagram experienced:
- 1,656% increase in engagements
- Grew by over 3,656 new followers, and
- As of August 2019, the Climax social media channels have gained an additional 17,374 new followers, more than 6,000,000 impressions, 457,000 engagements, and 28,000 product requests.
The new brand positioning and activation plan drove consumer awareness and distributor engagement. This cohesive effort achieved expansion to more than 40 states and 5,000 new points of distribution.
In 2018, Smith continued his success by introducing his own original Southern-style whiskey flavors. Partnering with Two Trees Distilling Co. and the AP team, Smith developed Southern Reserve Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye providing a premium alternative compared to his moonshine staple.