Packaging and Design

Cider Guide to Creating Intentional and Powerful Brands

In our Cider Guide, we’ll cover everything from planning your cider brand to translating that vision into packaging that pops.

At Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC), we love seeing a client’s success bolstered by fantastic branding. And in the rapidly expanding world of cider, a strong brand is becoming especially essential.

The cider market was valued at $10,667 million in 2016, and is projected to reach at $16,252 million by 2023. That’s growth at a CAGR of 6.1% from 2017 to 2023! The trend is being fueled by everything from a desire for gluten-free options, to a deepening appreciation for all things craft. With a flood of new products on the market, distinctive packaging has to be top of mind for cider-makers.

The best brands, of course, are built intentionally. They reflect a careful planning process and a deep understanding of the target demographic. That’s why we created this quick guide for cider makers. We have accumulated a lot of experience in this space over the past few years, and we are happy to share it.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything from planning your cider brand to translating that vision into packaging that pops.

What’s a brand, anyway?

Before you even slap a design onto your bottle or can, you should be thinking about your brand as the “big idea” behind your cider. Of course, it’s about visuals. But it’s also about the feeling that every other part of your company gives to customers.

For example, one of our clients, Seattle Cider Company, uses a simple but effective tagline to define their brand. They say that they are “not your standard cider.” This tagline has helped them to distinguish themselves as one of the early craft innovators of the industry. Instead of producing the rather sweet ciders that were standard before the cider boom, they entered the market with a comparatively dry option. But the brand is not just about “dry cider”. The company champions what’s unique and valuable about their region—Washington—and that “love local” vibe is part of everything they do.

Defining the brand

Here are a few exercises that can help you to nail down what your brand is all about.

1. Identify your “WHY”

It starts with answering a simple question: “Why did we start this company?” Why cider, why now? Why your cider?

There’s undeniable power in being able to tell the story of WHY your cider company exists. Just make sure that it’s a real story, and you can tell it sincerely. As Gabe Cook, of The Ciderologist, puts it: “A backstory can be of assistance if it’s truly authentic. It doesn’t have to be a long-standing heritage; it can be a drive or passion that is true and real.”

For example, our clients Scenic Road Cider Co. have a great back story. It’s about two married couples who ended up starting a cidery in a historic building with century-old links to the apple industry. The meaningful experiences they have as friends and family influences their brand’s essence.

Cider Guide to Creating Intentional and Powerful Brands: Scenic Road Cider - Peary
Cider Guide to Creating Intentional and Powerful Brands: Scenic Road Cider – Peary

2. List the core values

Defining your core values as a company can be illuminating. To discover what these are, ask yourself, “What do we care so much about that we just can’t compromise on it?”

We suggest writing down 10 to 15 words that best express what your cider company will not compromise on. Then pick the most important 3-5 words from that list.

3. Put your brand essence into words

Once you know what your cider brand is about, you need to be able to communicate it confidently. To start the process of getting all the key information on paper, ask yourself and other stakeholders questions like:

  • Why do we matter?
  • How can we make our customers’ lives better?
  • What makes us different or better?
  • Who would be proud to drink our cider?
  • Who do we want to drink our cider?

Now, you just need to funnel all of this information into a compelling written piece. Two ways to do that are through brand stories and positioning statements.

To create a brand story, write a few paragraphs about where you’re coming from, who you’re making cider for, and why it’s special or different. Once again, we love Scenic Road’s story, which builds a sense of romance and adventure around their brand.

To create a positioning statement, you just write a sentence stating what you do, who you do it for, and why that’s special, different, or valuable. Scenic Road’s positioning statement, which has been perfectly set up by the brand story that precedes it on the website, reads like this:

“Producing authentic, artisanal ciders for people who love complex and engaging.”

Translating that brand into packaging

We definitely do love helping a client express a thoughtful, well-planned cider brand into eye-catching packaging. Here are our tips for nailing that process.

1. Translate the personality

The relationship your customer forms with your brand will be completely based on their perception of its personality. Put simply, if they like the cider’s personality, they’ll buy it.

So, take a look at the writing you did about your cider’s brand essence and positioning. What kind of a “person” does your brand seem to want to become? Is that person serious or light-hearted, traditional or future-focused, elegant or silly? Write down whatever describing words occur to you.

These words, along with your other brand writing, will help a professional designer to capture the personality visually.

We can’t think of a better example of a strong visual personality than our client, Seattle Cider Company. Their extremely modern, elegant can is recognizable from a mile away. In fact, it’s becoming so iconic that the packaging we created with them simply reproduce the image of the can.

Cider Guide to Creating Intentional and Powerful Brands: Seattle Cider Company - Odyssey Cider
Cider Guide to Creating Intentional and Powerful Brands: Seattle Cider Company – Odyssey Cider

2. Express your core values too

Nailing the personality through visuals is critically important. But so is picking materials that express your brand values. For example, remember that, with GLBC, you have the option of using eco-friendly recycled materials that demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.

We absolutely love working with clients in this creative, dynamic, and booming industry. With cider, you have the opportunity to create immersive, meaningful brands for customers who passionately value authenticity. Because of this, cider-makers should build their brands with plenty of intention. We hope this guide has helped you to get started on that process.

If you have any questions at all about packaging or branding for cider, please reach out. We’d love to talk!

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