Branding in the Drinks sector,
Michael Peters

As a brand designer for over 30 years you might expect me to bang on about creativity, and you would be correct. My company works with some of the largest and smallest drinks brands in the world applying creative thinking to some very thorny problems.

I believe passionately in the power of creativity to revolutionise brands and businesses. In fact from Burberry to Johnnie Walker, from Apple to Smirnov, real profitability occurs when creativity has a prominent voice in the board-room. This is where the problem arises in the drinks industry. I believe the drinks sector desperately needs a radical call to arms. If we simply surmise that alcohol will face the same stringent restrictions as tobacco marketing in the years to come, the time for intense innovation, creative branding and dynamic marketing is now.

I am a commercial designer and fully understand a client's need for ‘Return on Investment' but I suggest that mantra should be changed to - ‘Return on Innovation'.
Take a look at coffee-shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, phones, gyms or even banks and think how design and innovation has transformed them all in the last ten years. Then look at what the drinks industry has done with its timid steps in packaging design and POS, and recognise how little it has kept up with today's consumers who embrace change at every opportunity in every area of their lives.

All is not lost however, but the race is definitely on. There is a revolution afoot. I believe that some of the most innovative thinking and design is currently happening in Russia because I see an energy, drive and ambition there where brand owners refuse to embrace the status quo. I believe brand owners like Roustam Tariko will energise brands like Russian Standard to create truly innovative, authentic, engaging global drinks brands using creativity and design innovation in a way that has not been seen since the glory days of Absolut.

The drinks industry needs to embrace designers in a way they have never done before – before it's too late. Designers don't just apply the logo - they do something much more fundamental. They distil the essence of our times into a visual shorthand that is an incredibly powerful business tool. It is time to use creativity and design to take confident control of your entire brand landscape. It's not enough to break the rules – you have to change the game!


Articles and speeches shown on this site were written and / or produced by Michael Peters while Chief Executive / Creative Director of the Michael Peters Group Plc and Identica Limited