437 – How To Build A Non-Legacy Brand with Johnathan Crocker of Frank August

Let’s say you want to start a new bourbon brand but you don’t have generations of family heritage or an existing legacy to promote. So how do you get consumers to try something new instead of reverting to something like putting horses or barns on the labels? Branding today seems to require more storytelling than focusing just on the whiskey. One modern brand trying to break that mold is Frank August. I invited their CEO and Co-Founder, Johnathan Crocker on the show to talk about navigating this challenge and how they are reinventing branding in a crowded bourbon market without relying on a legacy. They’re focused on creating an authentic modern brand that resonates with consumers. It’s an interesting case study on building a bourbon brand from scratch in today’s industry.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about will the bourbon boom ever end?
  • How did you get tied into whiskey and with Drew at Willett?
  • Why create a new bourbon brand during COVID?
  • How do you see yourself and brand fitting into this industry?
  • What does the name Frank August mean?
  • At what point does it feel like overthinking vs simple strategy?
  • Would a consumer just like to buy a bottle with a horse on it instead of new labels?
  • Does a brand have to speak directly to a specific demographic or can brands adapt?
  • Historical brands like Old Forester and Heaven Hill sourced their whiskey at first so how did they adapt?
  • Can you change the mindset of a whiskey drinker away from the staples like a horse or a barn?
  • Do you have to talk about the story instead of the whiskey?
  • Are any legacy brands that have successfully pivoted to tell a new story?
  • @thefrankaugust
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