As you scroll through Instagram, if you’ve ever come across photos of a relaxed but sophisticated cocktail party filled with seamlessly cool people drinking colorful cocktails and syringes, it’s probably Helena Hambrecht.
Hambrecht is the CEO, co-founder and brand manager of the Haus aperitif brand. Prior to Haus, Hambrecht cut his teeth in consulting big-name brands such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Uber and Airbnb. In other words, Hambrecht has “this really weird but useful set of skills to learn how to make sausage online.”
Haus is not like other brands of alcohol, it’s a great brand
“Historically, there just weren’t many innovations in alcohol,” says Hambrecht. From ingredients to distribution, Big Liquor is largely a goalkeeping industry that Hambrecht and its co-founder saw as an opportunity to shake up. (Sorry for the pun.)
Other brands add sugar, preservatives, are not transparent about their ingredients or where they are obtained and have a high alcohol content, which is quite an unpleasant combination for a hangover. Instead, according to the website, Haus uses responsibly delivered “natural fruits, herbs and plant products”, has a lower alcohol content (more than wine, less than whiskey) and is made sustainable.
How to use TikTok to build your business
But it’s not just a better-tasting drink with fewer hangovers. According to alcohol distribution laws, aperitifs that are mostly grape-based, such as Haus’ product, can be sold online. And so Haus became a business-to-consumer brand for the Instagram era.
“Because we have the freedom to sell online, we just rethought what a brand might look like.”
The effect of Instagram
Since its launch in 2019, Instagram has been an integral part of the brand’s strategy. Today, Haus has 65,000 followers. “I wanted to do something that you can recognize from a distance of 200 feet,” says Hambrecht. “This has made Instagram really successful for us, because when you see the Haus bottle, there’s nothing like it, even if it’s 10 pixels high, you can recognize it.
From day one, Instagram was part of Haus’ strategy.
Building an online presence has the great advantage of working with distributors who would not normally give indie spirits like Haus the time of day, Hambrecht said. “We can go to them and say, ‘Look, we built the brand for you. We already have this national audience that knows who we are and they are all waiting for us to enter the wholesale business. So everything you have to do is clear to us and take some of our money. “
Haus is currently in the middle of wholesale in 24 states.
Yes, TikTok is currently the most popular app, but Instagram is a key asset for consumer brands that want to build followers. We asked Hambrecht our hot questions about the importance of promoting your business on Instagram, and here’s what we learned.
1. Define aesthetics.
Instagram is about aesthetics, which is why it works best for consumer brands like Haus.
“A big reason people buy food or drink or really something online is because they can see how they live in the world,” says Hambrecht. “For us, we managed to use the photo on Instagram to show how you drink it, here you drink it, this is who you invite, where you put the bottle.” All of these things can be answered visually, and that’s where Instagram is much better at educating and marketing the brand than most social channels. “
Hambrecht says they wanted to create a visual style that is ambitious but achievable. “What we found is that it resonates a lot with people, it makes it feel accessible, it makes it feel like something they could add as a bookmark as inspiration.”
2. “The less you sell, the more you will sell.”
Sounds counterintuitive? Let Hambrecht explain. “Obviously you want to buy [the product]You don’t have to say that. “Customers need to want to buy a product based on what they see and feel,” Hambrecht said. to give our community what they want? “
3. Give people what they want.
A key part of promoting your business on Instagram is finding out what your followers may want. “You may not even have a community, but say you’re making a food product. You can assume that the community may want to have some food recipes or may want to have your recommendations for other products that could accompany the food, “says Hambrecht.
“What you can give to your community that is not necessarily related to your product, but makes them really love your brand and think of you as creative and generous and think about what the community is interested in,” she continues. “This is how you build loyalty to this brand and it will make people want to follow you.”
If you think of Instagram as more of a content and community engagement channel instead of a sales channel, your posts will be real and relevant to the followers you’re looking for.
4. Build a community around your brand.
According to Hambrecht, Haus learned from his clients that they like to see other members of the community, so the company began presenting them in more Instagram posts. “It’s really great for our audience who want to see who else is in this community, who else is drinking this product, and can follow or connect with them.”
Haus did not spend money on marketing in the first six months, which Hambrecht attributes to investing in branding and customer experience in the beginning, which generates a lot of word of mouth. Having a highly engaged community proved critical when the worst happened …
5. Always be ready to adapt.
House was only six months old when the pandemic struck. For a business that has built its brand around collection, Haus has suddenly faced enormous challenges. Hambrecht says they had to rethink how Haus would live in the lives of his clients during that time. “We’ve shifted our focus to things that are still relevant, such as educating our community about the product, how it’s made, the ingredients and where they come from, and the recipes they can make at home.
There was also the practical question of how to shoot and create new content during social isolation. Hambrecht says they selected customers and their team to stay connected during the pandemic, which marked the beginning of a series of interviews called My Home.
“We were like, ‘Well, we can’t go and meet these people in person, it’s dangerous to send a photographer.’ So why not start shipping disposable cameras?
“This is a series of interviews in which we send members of our community disposable cameras and they capture a day of life at home. We interview them about their home rituals and how they stay connected to the people in their lives at this strange time, whether it’s on the rise or in person with anyone at home. “
Of course, these were extreme circumstances that forced the business to adapt to its own survival, but it taught House some important lessons.
“Don’t feel so stuck in a strategy. Whatever works today may need to change in six months or a year, ”said Hambrecht. “It’s just a matter of paying attention to what’s going on in the world and paying attention to what your community is interested in or what they need help with.
6. Play cool – and be patient.
In other words, it’s all about the long game. “We didn’t use shortcuts, we didn’t pray for followers. You just have to be cool. Play cool and be patient.”
Hambrecht built Haus followers by “building real connections”, which drove the brand through a global pandemic. “Whether it’s your customers, reporters, retailers, partners or investors, you just have to play the long game and know that the relationship you’re building today could happen in two to three years for you.