How to Live The Miller High Life…in a Bad Economy
These are times that try a brand’s soul. When things go south, you need to ask yourself, have you developed a brand that has any soul whatsoever?? Does your media outlet represent or stand for anything in your customers mind?
Miller High Life found out the hard way that their brand stood for almost nothing. In fact most people only knew it was an inexpensive beer. Too many people didn’t even know it was still was around!! Sales had declined for 3 straight years.
Then they decided to give the brand some soul. They decided the beer should stand for a way of life. A way of thinking about culture, society, the economy, status, and the right way to live the “high life”…Miller style.
With this campaign, Miller High Life has stopped a three year downward trend. Tom Long CEO of Miller Beer says the campaign debuted in November of 06, and customers are repeating the ads storyline to their friends. The word-of-mouth buzz is strong. He credits the Miller High Life reversal of fortune to the “Taking Back the High Life” TV campaign.
Here’s what really happened. Simply put, Miller Beer gave The Campaign of Bottles Beers a soul. They gave it a simple product identity. And it hit their blue collared, beer-drinking male targets right between the eyes. “There’s no cover charge to live the high life” pretty much says it all. And it sure does resonate loudly during these hard economic times.
So put your own product to the test. Does it stand for something? Does it represent an attitude about a lifestyle and a way of living? Can your customers easily tell you what it means to be (in this example) a Miller High Life drinker?
And most important of all….do you stand for something that matters in the year 2009? Has your brand promise and brand personality become outdated? Or maybe it’s time for you to add some soul to your brand?
These are difficult times for marketers. However, when one door closes, a new door opens. For example, I am guessing that during these tough economic times, people will be searching for an economic beer that makes sense. A beer that shuns $11.50 hamburgers, velvet ropes, executive box suites, 22 ft limousines, and kangaroo meat hamburgers. Out with the cover charge and in with the high life!!!
Try this exercise. Create a Bill of Rights for your product. Make a list of what your product stands for. If you need some tips on what this means…check out The Miller High Life Bill of Rights.
Someone once said that a brand is “a promise you make to your customer.” Miller High Life has taken it to the next logical step. Their brand is not only a promise to their customers, it is a credo for living. I bet Miller continues to live “the high life” in 2009, while others may be scrambling to find any life at all.