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Aperol Brand Development coursework
Table of Contents
In today’s market environment, companies have become more aware of the importance of brands. A brand was primarily used by a company to differentiate products or services from its competitors (Kapferer, 2012). However, with the increase of mass media and consumer demand, the concept of brand has evolved to also be associated with satisfaction, reliability, emotions and lifestyle (Gunter, 2015). This report will focus on discussing and analysing the brand development of Campari group’s Aperol product, especially considering brand strategy, brand development and growth.
Aperol, first introduced in Italy in 1919 by its inventors the Barbieri brothers, gained fame quickly after its launch, particularly among young adults and sportive people (Aperol.com, 2018). Originally served alone with ice, it wasn’t until the 50’s that the famous Aperol Spritz was introduced, although drunk only in the Venetian region (Aperol.com, 2018; Gobler, 2018). In the 20th century, Aperol remained well-known within Italy and only gained international fame once acquired by the Campari Group. The Campari Group is an Italian company established in 1860 by Gaspare Campari who invented the Campari aperitif and is now the 6th largest spirit company in the world, with a wide portfolio range including; vodkas, whiskeys, aperitifs, tequilas, wines and liqueurs. Due to its acquisition of Aperol, sales grew, mainly because the Campari Group advertised Aperol as the base for the Aperol Spritz –“the Social Drink”, while before then Aperol had only been advertised as “Aperol – the best aperitif with less alcohol”(see figure 1 and 2). Aperol is mainly used and advertised as the base for Aperol Spritz, a combination of; Aperol, Prosecco and Soda water, that is primarily served in bars and cafes. The company then extended the Aperol range with a ready-made version of Aperol Spritz tagged as ‘Home edition’, and Aperol soda.
Figure 1 Always Less Alcohol (pinterest.se, 2018) Figure 2 (Pinterest.com, 2018)
Brand elements are components/characteristics which a company gives to its products or services, that contribute to brand identity creation helping distinguish the brand from competitors (Keller, 2013). These elements, best described as tangible, include; name; logo; symbol; URL; packaging; and slogan (Keller, 2013). A strong and distinctive identity helps grow brand equity (Johansson and Carlson, 2015). The following paragraph will seek to evaluate Aperol’s brand identity by analysing its brand elements.
According to Kapferer’s (2012) brand identity prism, one facet that makes for the identity is its physique, comprised of the tangible elements. When considering physique, Aperol is arguably different to other aperitif liqueurs. The strongest and unique element is perhaps the distinctive bright orange colour of the liqueur. The colour originates from a secret recipe mix of rhubarb, gentian, cinchona and other herbs, giving it a distinct bittersweet taste (Camparigroup.com, 2014). The aperitif’s unique colour, secret receipt and distinct taste, evoke a premium experience.
The origin of the name Aperol is a mystery; however, one theory is that the name is constructed from the first 4 letters of the word Aperitivo (Aperitif) and the last 2 of the word alcohol, a memorable combination. The word aperitif refers to non-alcoholic or lightly alcoholic beverages that stimulate appetite before a meal (Aperol product background, 2014). Accordingly, this is seemingly reinforced by the original slogan created by the Barbieri brothers “the aperitif with less alcohol”.
The Aperol package is a glass transparent bottle that shows the strong orange colour of the aperitif. Since 1919, the bottle style and label have only changed once, in 2011. As stated in the Campari Group brand presentation, it was important for the bottle “to get a social makeover” including the Aperol Spritz recipe on the label, a decision that focused the advertising on Aperol as the base ingredient for Aperol Spritz (Camparigroup.com, 2014). The company also included the word Aperol printed in glass at the bottom of the bottle (Vassnen, 2017).
Figure 3 Aperol (Bottlebaggotstreetwines.com, 2018) Figure 4 Back Label (simonfoodfavourites.blogspot.com,2012)
The name Aperol doubles as the logo and whilst originally used as a logo for both advertising and the bottle label, after acquisition, the Campari Group decided to use the ‘Aperol Spritz’ logo for advertising, a combination of the classic logo and the word ‘Spritz’ both surrounded by sun rays (Remy-cointreau.cz, 2018), available in different variations, including a white background and orange background (Remy-cointreau.cz, 2018). The classic logo, on the bottle, continues to display the year it was released, a brief description of ingredients and a stamp from the original company.
A further change made since acquisition is to the slogan. Originally, Aperol was advertised mainly in Italy with the slogan ‘The Aperitif with less alcohol’, which was instead shifted to advertise Aperol as a base to make Aperol Spritz. The Campari Group created a range of slogans including: “Aperol Spritz Social”; “happy Spritz, Happy Aperol”; “Spritz life? Aperol Spritz”; and its most recent “Aperol Spritz, Happy Together”. Aperol has recently reached new international territories with its new campaigns including; Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Spain, UK and USA (camparigroup.com, 2018).
Figure 5 Happy Together (primopremio.net,2018)
Aperol’s website varies depending on the language selected. For example, while the UK website displays 3 tabs; Aperol Spritz Ritual; Aperol World; and Aperol Product credentials, the Italian website has 2 additional tabs; ‘Happy Together’ and ‘Terrazza Aperol’ (Aperol Terrace). Upon review, the UK website shows limited information about Aperol and how to prepare Aperol Spritz, whereas the Italian one, also contains recipes for food to be served with Aperol or Aperol spritz, and previous advertisement videos and pictures(aperol.com,2018). Weaknesses of both websites is that they fail to show the other products from the Aperol portfolio; the Aperol Spritz Home Edition and Aperol Soda and has created different events website advertising AperolSpritzSocial.com, that might confuse consumer.
Figure 6 Aperol’s Italian Website (Aperol.com/en-gb, 2018)
In order to have a successful brand strategy, there needs to be alignment with the overall business strategy (Haaften, 2017). The Aperol brand strategy is closely aligned with the Campari Group corporate strategy which aims to; “Drive faster growth of global priorities”, “produce steady growth” and “Develop the Group’s presence in high-potential markets” (Campari Group, 2018). Aperol in its almost 100 years, has continued growing, initially in Italy with the Barbieri brothers and then internationally with the Campari Group. According to their ‘9 Months Report 2018’ Aperol has doubled its growth every year, becoming their top selling product, accounting for 18% (Camparigroup.com, 2018). Thus, Aperol has had a successful brand strategy, which will be the focus of analysis in the next paragraph.
Figure 7 9 Months Report 2018 (Camparigroup.com, 2018)
An important step to a successful brand strategy is to well position the brand in the market (Johansson and Carlsons; 2015). Aperol positioning in the market is quite positive, explained by the financial times in ‘Campari’s repositioning of its Aperol brand’. The Campari group took advantage of the recession, when Italians reduced their spending on dining out, and repositioned its product to fit with the “new social experience” where a light drink is consumed with little or no food, mainly in cafes or bars (Ft.com, 2013). Additionally, Aperol is made with natural ingredients which people have come to prefer over artificial flavours. By offering quality natural ingredients and the social value element, Aperol was able position itself as a premium brand (Kapferer, 2012).
Aperol brand elements make it memorable, which increases its awareness, association and positive feelings with their target segment (Keller, 2013). In 20th century Italy, the Barbieri group targeted Aperol to Women, due to its low alcohol content, positioning itself as a more feminine brand. However, Campari group has now repositioned Aperol to target a new market segment, choosing Manchester United and MotoGP to endorse its brand (Campari group, 2014). As men make-up the majority of the audience, arguably Campari group is seeking to make its brand appeal to a masculine audience.
Figure 8 Aperol Manchester United (cdn4.i-scmp.com,2017) Figure 9 MotoGP Girls (boostnetwork.com,2018)
In Italy, Aperol targets young people (18 to 44) mainly by word-of-mouth, whilst internationally, the Campari Group has invested in advertising the brand (Ft.com, 2013). The message portrayed in Aperol’s campaigns is that of a happy, social, and celebratory life, which represents the Italian “Aperitivo” tradition and is a reminder of “la dolce vita” (Italian sweet way of living) (Ft.com, 2013).
When looking at relevant competitors, with the Aperol boom, Aldi and Lidl have entered the marker with a cheap version of Aperol, respectively called Bitterol and Aperini. Nevertheless, debatably Lidl and Aldi’s version of Aperol cannot pose a real threat, due to Aperol first mover advantage and its preeminent position within bars, and Aperol is the official supplier for bars. Lastly, as shown by Kim Benjamin in ‘Brand slam: Pimm’s vs Aperol’, in the UK, Aperol’s biggest competitor when entering the market for a summer drink was Pimm’s (Benjamin, 2018). However, it appears that Aperol is overtaking Pimm’s due to its strategy of engaging customers on a bigger scale by creating themed events and pop-up stores (Benjamin, 2018).
Figure 10 Lidl’s Bitterol (Businessinsider.com, 2016) Figure 11 Aldi’s Aperini (Hellomagazine.com, 2018)
Based on the brand identity portrayed during advertising and consumers’ events experience, customers are able to connect with the brand image and personality (Johansson and Carlsons; 2015). Consumers understanding of Aperol closely reflects its identity and personality as intended by the company when advertising Aperol Spritz. Consumers have said that the most meaningful attribute of Aperol Spritz is its florescent orange colour which has made the drink “highly Instagrammable” and beautiful to photograph in the sun (Pathak, 2017). Aperol also creates an association, especially among young people, of fun, happy times and social connection, both with friends and on social media. Additionally, for people who are outside Italy, Aperol has become a way to remember and recreate the feeling of Italian holidays and drinking Aperol Spritz (Adarme, 2017).
Figure 12 World Record Aperol Spritz Toast (socialandcocktail.co.uk, 2012)
Marketing communication integration refers to how well marketing communication has been integrated with the brand strategy to create profitable consumer relationships and educate them about the brand (Keller, 2013). For instance, a consistent message used to educate consumers and raise awareness of the brand, is that Aperol is the base of Aperol Spritz. Based on an analysis of Aperol’s YouTube channels, questionably, Aperol when entering new markets, shows a series of advertisement on how to make Aperol Spritz, to demonstrate to consumers how their drink is made and how they can make it at home. Additionally, integrated marketing communications ensure that the information advertised about the brand is consistent with the brand identity (Keller, 2013). Aperol has always been about celebrating, socialising and creating happy moments. This idea has been reinforced by advertisements that show celebratory moments, such as DJs and people coming together to dance and enjoy “happy hour” and also through financing concerts such us the Mad Walk in Greece and Aperol Happy Together in Italy. Furthermore, Aperol has extended the idea of celebration by the aforementioned endorsements, reinforcing the message “celebrate with Aperol Spritz” (Campari group, 2014).
Another method used by the Campari Group to integrate Aperol’s market communication has been to create events and pop-up events. In London, for instance, Aperol has held direct marketing advertisement events called ‘The Aperol Big Spritz Social’. These events were sold out within a week of announcement. Aperol invited people to “Say Ciao to the spontaneous Italian attitude of Aperol! Row on our ‘Aperol orange’ canal in the sunshine, relax under the pergola before riding down the slide, or take a turn on the carousel, all whilst raising a refreshing glass of Aperol Spritz with friends, against a great DJ set”(Aperolspritzsocial.com,2018).
Figure 13 Aperol Spritz Social London (Campaignlive.com,2018)
Arguably Aperol integrated two forms of communication during this event, by showing the people who attended the event what Aperol Spritz is and the fun they can have with it, which potentially lead to word of mouth advertisement. In the following event example, it can be seen how far the Campari Group will go to demonstrate that a fun social time can arrive at any time, linking the experience with Aperol, for instance, in Malta Aperol arrived at the beach with an orange amphibious revealing a bar and a DJ set (timesofmalta.com, 2018). Another method used to reach consumers and demonstrate Aperol’s identity, was a competition named ‘Aperol-Ivery’, an Aperol Spritz-time experience delivered to the consumer door step, with an orange Piaggio Ape 50 and Aperol Spritz chalices. These types of events contribute to brand equity by increasing consumer loyalty, love for the brand and long-term commitment.
Figure 14 Aperol-Ivery (Aperolspritzsocial.com, 2018)
Based on the Ansoff matrix Aperol pursues a market development strategy via a growth strategy of increasing global reach and strongly positioning its existing brand (Keller, 2013). Based on the brand strategy and marketing communication integration analysis it is possible that Aperol is trying to strongly position itself in foreign markets. The outlook to brand growth appears positive, as shown through previous examples where Aperol consumers have been attracted by allowing them to enjoy and experience Aperol in a variety of ways. Aperol has successfully exploited the social media factor, due to consumer use of Instagram and the visual appeal of the Aperol Spritz. Initiating the hashtags #Aperolspirtz and #happytogether which have been used upwards of 962 thousand posts, Aperol is leveraging this avenue to grow the brand successfully. Aperol has also created free merchandise; sunglasses, fans, hats and t-shirts all branded distinctively orange and as Aperol Spritz, ensuring that the name appears on photos.
As UK marketing manager Nick Williamson explains, Aperol growth strategy focuses on “not playing the game as everyone else” avoiding traditional forms of media. The brand will keep going by bringing the brand to life, serving fun and remaining spontaneous (Marketingweek.com,2018; Benjamin, 2018). Supporting this approach, the Campari group expects to continue focus on digital and social media, experience activity events, with the aim of driving word of mouth (Tesseras, 2018). Additionally, the brand is attempting to alter consumer perceptions that it is only a summer drink. For instance, Aperol is planning an experience event during winter (Benjamin, 2018). Nick Williamson also added that they are focusing on selling directly to consumers, though not interested in creating an e-commerce channel, understanding that bigger spirit brands have tried and failed. Based on the former paragraph however, there are concerns to the Campari group outlook for Aperol, especially around its sustainment. According to Chittal (2018) in ‘Who Cares If Aperol Spritzes Are Brand-Engineered? They’re Good.’, one of these are that Aperol Spritz is becoming too mainstream, thus resulting in it being “less cool” . The other potential concern is that Aperol is not trying to create their own e-commerce sale channel, thus missing out creating a bespoke experience for consumers.
According to Keller (2013) a profitable brand portfolio is judged by the ability to increase brand equity in combination with brands within the same product category. Campari has a portfolio of more than 50 premium brands. Aperol together with Aperol Soda, was acquired by the Campari group in 2003 to grow their aperitif portfolio, which until then included: Campari 25% alcohol content, sour taste; Cinzano 18% alcohol content sweet taste; and Crodino non-alcoholic. It may well be argued that this acquisition was due to Aperol’s low alcohol content 11% and mixture of sour and sweet taste allowing for a more versatile aperitif and appealing to a wider audience. Campari is marketed to be more exclusive and for a mature consumer, based on “The Red Diary commercials”, and Cinzano serves people with a sweeter palate.
Although Aperol contains no sub-brands, according to the Campari Group website, the Aperol brand includes the following extensions, Aperol; Aperol Spritz home Edition; and Aperol Soda. While the Aperol liqueur is used as a base for the drink Aperol spritz and targets people who enjoy being outside in a bar, Aperol Spritz home edition are small pre-made bottles of Aperol Spritz to be enjoyed at home without the need to mix the ingredients. Aperol and Aperol Spritz home edition are marketed everywhere in the word, juxtaposed with this Aperol Soda is a 3% alcohol content beverage that is marketed mainly in Italy.
Figure 15 Aperol Spritz Home edition (beverfood.com,2016) Figure 16 Aperol Soda (italy.camparigroup.com, 2018)
Aperol is a uniquely positioned brand in part due to the support of the Campari Group and how they fostered its unique identity, built around its distinctive orange colour and taste. The Campari group, through it is non-traditional way of advertising Aperol including; pop-up events and competitions, have been able to instil within the consumer minds an association of the brand with a vibrant social life. Furthermore, the Campari group has successfully been able to reposition Aperol to accommodate changes in the market such as: a need for people to consume an aperitif with lower alcohol content, allowing consumers to enjoy a beverage without needing to also purchase food all the while still enjoying a social experience and continuing to leverage its distinctive image through hashtags and merchandise to satisfy the need for people to share through social media. All these factors have contributed to the growth of Aperol’s brand equity.
As identified in the report, although strong, weaknesses are apparent in Aperol’s brand development. Whilst growth has reached 18%, a potential area of contention may be that the Campari group only advertises Aperol as the base for Aperol Spritz, a well-known drink that is perhaps at risk of becoming too mainstream and losing its appeal to consumers. To sustain the Aperol brand, Campari should consider exploring new drinks with an Aperol base. Furthermore, an e-commerce channel could give consumers a bespoke yet convenient experience, perhaps including personalised Aperol Labels or giftsets with Aperol merchandise. A final recommendation would be to improve the Aperol website, integrating aperol.com with aperolspritzsocial.com to reduce confusion.
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