There has been much written about the impressive marketing and sales achievements of Tito’s and views have abounded on the various early elements that have driven this success. The declarations of ‘Gluten Free’ and ‘Handmade in America’ coupled with the utilitarian bottle, contrasted with many imported competitors investing in super-premium packaging at that time. In effect, Tito’s zigged to others’ zag and were singled-minded and disciplined in their focus.
We do not have the inside track on Tito’s innovation agenda, but arguably one of Tito’s most remarkable decisions has been to focus solely on a single, unflavoured SKU. Whilst competitors have been falling over themselves to launch a myriad of different flavoured variants, Tito’s has stuck rigidly to the single product path. This is even more remarkable, since it would be a fair bet that anything they launched under the Tito’s label would surely secure massive trial and sales.
To a certain extent Tito’s has recognised the very essence of the appeal of vodka – a colourless, odourless and tasteless base spirit that provides the perfect backcloth to mixability and experimentation.
And, given the sheer amount of innovation from mixer companies (e.g. Fever-Tree) and other beverage offerings (e.g. kombuchas), the core product can stay relevant and fresh through smart, signature drinks.
Perhaps this is the time to go back to the fundamentals and develop winning drink strategies for the core brand (vodkas and beyond), rather than taking the long and often winding flavoured spirits path, leading to who knows where?
This article was written by Mike Spurling, Managing Partner.
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