No matter how many years pass since you graduated from academia, the nostalgia of the school calendar sticks to the summer heat. There’s something about the month of August, christened with a Bank Holiday, that crescendos British summertime, delivering us into a cooler September ready for fresh starts and new journals.

In this year though 2020, nothing has been the same, leaving us all to navigate a new summer landscape of facemasks and measured distances. Of course it’s not just the public but businesses too, usually entering into the height of yearly trade and instead facing closed doors, restrictions and travel bans.

Although devastating, the regulations have brought about ideas of ingenuity and revealed more than ever, how essential a resonating brand message can be. At Glorious, we’ve seen first-hand how brand identity can provide the safety rope needed to navigate a path that wasn’t part of the plan.

Last year (pre-Covid), we helped a start-up drinks company, Mount Fetti begin an expedition into a crowded market ahead of the summer boom. With a hero-product already established as the suitably exotic Mango Sangria, the client approached the team looking for a creative identity and visual language, with a tropical tone reflective of the ingredient list.

Working closely with the client in brand workshops, we presented a versatile brand strategy by which the Mango Sangria would be the first drink brought to market, but certainly not the last. This would mean creating opportunities for longevity, as well as room to anticipate future consumer demand. By separating Mount Fetti as the parent brand rather than the product name, we were able to coin a convincing brand narrative. Mount Fetti: an exotic uninhabited Island and the brand’s buying source, leaving plenty of scope for potential pineapple, guava and coconut based product-lines.

The brief outputs needed to be scalable enough to don a HGV for on-the-road brand advertising between large-scale sports events like cricket and horse racing. So mindful of the target audience and of ensuring any visuals could be scaled down as well as up, the team created branding collateral with a repeating pattern of subequatorial leaves and crimson-feathered parrots.

To elevate the concept enough to resonate with those more much accustomed to summer drink brands drenched in heritage like Pimm’s or Hendrick’s, Mount Fetti was anointed with the MF shield. Taking inspiration from traditional heraldry and using modern cues, the team delivered a fresh brand identity, one ready to begin its journey to a San Tropez staple.

Received well by the client, the brand seemed well set to summit the drinks market over the summer. But fast-forward 12 months, and the original route has been left untouched. Without the brands agile reactions to the current climate, Mount Fetti might still have been more mound that mountain.

Nimisha Jain, the managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, says: “We are experiencing unprecedented shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviours as 80%+ consumers will continue to practice social distancing and are bringing the outside inside… and e-commerce adoption has already advanced by two-three years, to name a few.”

And according to a recent report called ‘Turn the Tide’, released by Facebook India and Boston Consulting Group “Players who show the agility to reinvent their value propositions, go-to-market plans and business models to address these demand shifts, will be the ones that set themselves apart from the pack.” Brands need to focus on hyper-localisation by connecting with consumers where they are as the path-to-purchase has been altered.

Mount Fetti has done just this. The brand recognised that summer is still for the taking. With little choice but to leave the lorry parked, the Mount Fetti team decided to think smarter, not smaller.

Returning to the Glorious designers with a brief for brand packaging and labels, the brand began a new route that took them into home-delivery and retail. The outcomes were a neat and natural extension of where the brand had originally set to explore.

Buyer behaviour has of course changed in the last few months, but what does that mean for the power of good branding? If nicety-buying becomes less often or more sporadic, does that mean the pandemic has left consumers tuned in solely to sterile adverts for hand sanitizer and anti-bac wipes? We think not. In this difficult climate it’s important for brands to carry their identity with just as much confidence as before. Yes, tone changes and messaging might become more sensitive, but a strong visual image that evokes a positive emotion is a feeling within your target audience that is needed now more than ever.

The team at Mount Fetti has scaled new climbs, anchored and armoured by their trademark tropical branding. Mango Sangria might be supped quietly in gardens rather than at the summer’s most anticipated events, but sippers are transported all the same to the shores of a paradise island, whether to the last days of summer, or as we Cheers to the new beginnings September brings and beyond.

Mount Fetti is testament to what happens when good ideas meet good branding, the routes to success are multiple, and there are many ways to summit.

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