Iconic Aussie brew Victoria Bitter has just released sales figures ahead of what they hope will be a bursting Australia Day weekend. And for the first time in 10 years, they’ve achieved sales growth.
Why the sudden hard earned thirst? It wasn’t better branding, discount sales, affiliate agreements or a big contract win. It was sticking to a tried and tested formula, or more specifically, reverting back to a tried and tested product.
You see the folks brewing VB thought they’d tinker with the age old recipe to try and capture more of a moving market. They brought down the alcohol content and changed the flavour.
As you can imagine, whether you drink green grenades or not, angry beer drinkers abandoned the brand at first sip. It simply wasn’t the same beer.
The backlash forced a red-faced Foster's to revert back to the old recipe. The result was a spike in sales as a whopping 20.9 million more stubbies were sold in the last three months of 2012 compared to a year earlier.
That they would change the beer that topped national sales for an unprecedented 19 years is hard to fathom. But their willingness to quickly revert back to the good old green can mix is much easier to understand.
"We just went back to basics and we’re cautiously optimistic," Foster's Group's Jeremy Griffith says.
"We [also] took the advertising and the labelling back to what it traditionally was and tradition has always been it’s a hard-earned thirst. You work hard, you get a beer. That was always the market take and it was always very successful for 30 years."
You see consistency is a key element for the success of any product or service, in any industry. It’s essential to achieving a great customer experience.
Customers want reliability in delivery and quality every time they go to the bottle shop fridge, the online clothes store or the ATM. They demand it, and if it’s not there, they’re very quick to turn to someone else that can provide that experience.
On the other hand, a consistent experience makes it easier for them to return, buy a round for their mates and happily build the brand.
And if there was ever a product heavily influenced by word of mouth recommendations and round buying, it’s the crisp, slowly brewing anticipation that an after work stubby is spread around with.
So whatever your product or service, be sure learn from Foster's blunder and concentrate on the key role of consistency in your brewing business.
Looking out for more brand loyalty lessons? Follow KBB on Twitter!