What Bombay Sapphire can teach us about branding

Just before Christmas I was invited to take a tour of Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery, based in Whitchurch. As it isn’t far from my mum I asked her to come along too, I was driving but mum was all over the gin! I had expected to blog a tour review on Charlie Moo’s but something unusual happened and well this blog was a much better fit.

Branding Lessons from Gin : 

what bombay sapphire can teach us about branding

We talk a lot in terms of branding about telling stories as a way of engaging with consumers, enabling your brand to stand out from a crowd and reinforcing your brand identity. Bombay Sapphire have truly mastered the art of storytelling. I’m going to detail a few things I learnt about Bombay Sapphire and how you can use these techniques to reinforce our own brand.

Location :

The distillery is situated in Laverstoke Mill, Whitchurch. The mill itself is steeped in history, the location is truly stunning you literally feel like you have stepped back in time.  From 1719 the mill was used to make the finest hand-made paper, which was used to make money including Indian Rupee’s. Sympathetically restored Laverstoke Mill is part of the Bombay Sapphire story, hey they even named a gin cocktail after it.

Laverstoke Mill

As you walk through the eclectic mix of Georgian and Victorian architecture you are greeted by the absolutely stunning Glasshouses designed by Heatherwick Studio.  The Glasshouses are split into 2 tropics where you are able to see a range of the botanical growing their natural state. Each botanical has it’s own story, of how it is grown, harvested and imported to the UK.

bombay sapphire glasshouses

The Bombay Sapphire Story :

You learn so much through the tour about Bombay Sapphire’s past as a brand but also the story of gin and how this history plays a part in the production.  Using original stills invented

Nothing is wasted. All the by products from the botanical process are used in a biomass to provide heat and hot water. They even harvest rain water, they take their BREEM award seriously and the conversation of the River Test and it’s wildlife. Upon their website Bombay Sapphire state “Our sustainable approach to crafting and showcasing our gin throughout the distillery is completely unique and something we are extremely proud of”. Sustainability is a major factor in driving the brand.

What can we lessons can we take away? : 

branding gin bottles

  • Have a story and use it. Brand reinforcement is really important to how we think and feel about a product. At Bombay Sapphire the fact the face of Queen Victoria adorns the label and is now distilled at the same place where Indian money was produced under Queen Victoria’s reign, ties everything so nicely together.  They also provide you with a history of gin. This isn’t exclusive to Bombay Sapphire but knowing where the product developed and how our association with gin has changed gives the brand
  • Stand out from the crowd. Bombay Sapphire was originally displayed in a blue bottle in order to ensure it stood out on a shelf from up and coming spirit Vodka.  What makes your product different to everyone else?
  • Use all your senses :  Laverstoke Mill is incredibly visual, there is so much to look at. I took a stupid amount of photographs. There is also a scent room, where you smell the botanical and stamp a card enabling the mixologists in the bar to provide you with the best gin cocktail. This room is also full of botanical in various states which you can pick up too. A course being Bombay Sapphire’s distillery there was gin tasting. The sights, smells, sounds (the distillery itself), touch and tastes all enhance your experience. branding and bombay sapphire
  • Authenticity : We band around words like “authenticity” all the time on social media.  We know that brands and people do well when they are authentic, show their personality are likable and their target market can relate to them. I left Laverstoke Mill feeling like Bombay Sapphire was the bomb! The venue is amazing. Being a history lover I really enjoyed learning about gin and the development of the brand Bombay Sapphire.

Developing and communicating a brand story helps to build customer engagement. Storytelling enables you to create memorable brands with impact. We talk about how people buy from people and a good brand story deliver well like Bombay Sapphire really makes you appreciate the effort and work that goes into distilling gin and the artisan nature.

Thank you to 365 Tickets for providing us with the opportunity to tour Bombay Sapphire at Laverstoke Mill.

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