1. What inspired you to pursue a career that embraces marketing?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I’ve always been fascinated by business and start-up life. I decided early on to focus on marketing (though I’m not sure I fully understood what it encompasses at the time!) and did my masters on the subject. I love how marketing combines both right and left brain, creativity with commerciality, and touches all the elements of the business – I see marketing as the engine of the business, solving consumer problems, and it’s an endlessly varied career path. It's also a function which is very close to the consumer, and I love being able to get direct feedback and seeing the work come to life in the market. 

2. What are the biggest challenges currently facing your marketing team?

With the fragmented consumer and media landscape, and the amount of datapoints available, there are thousands of options to choose from everyday for our marketing activation. The big challenge is being able to pick which opportunities to make big bets on, and being able to say ‘no’ – if you do it all, you end up doing none of it very well. Focus and staying on your strategy is key, although I do believe in having a bit of free brain space and budget for trialling new ideas and adding flair on top of a well thought-out marketing strategy and plan. 

3. Science vs Art: With scientific data-driven marketing at one end of the spectrum and genius creative ideas at the other - which side do you lean towards?

Combination of the two! Data should be the starting point for your strategy and campaign planning, without it even a genius creative idea might be pointed to the wrong consumer, the wrong consumer problem, at the wrong time and place. But if you can overlay solid data-driven direction with a great creative idea, your investment will go further. Especially in a start-up or scale-up business, where investment is not there to buy market share, a creative idea that really resonates can amplify your campaign beyond your media budget. As per the famous quote by Maya Angelou, people remember the way you made them feel – you’re on to a winner when your creative evokes emotion.

4. The Metaverse: are you ‘in’, ‘out’ or ‘not sure’? And please tell us why.

Can I sit on the fence here? But if I had to choose – a little more out than in at this point? This sits in my bucket of ‘trends to watch but to not to jump in yet with’. Of all the areas we could invest in, this is not the most relevant for our brand at the moment, until we see that our consumers are there and would like to engage with our brand in that space. 

5. How are you 'Riding the Storm' of economic turbulence and increased cost of living?

Lucky Saint is a premium product, but at the same time it is an ‘affordable everyday treat’, and it’s even more important now than in the past to focus on the value Lucky Saint brings to our consumers’ lives, the enhanced experience of enjoying a delicious pint versus a glass of water or a soft drink when they are choosing an alcohol free option. Consumers will be looking to save money, but also willing to pay for what they see as good value.

Consumers are feeling the pressure with increased cost of living, but also increasingly wanting to make healthier choices (55% of UK population is looking to moderate their drinking this year) whilst enjoying the social elements of drinking – this is where our brand can play a part in their lives. We have a strong strategic focus on building our draught distribution, changing perceptions of drinking alcohol free options and offering people a credible alternative whilst joining their friends at the pub, and I believe people will continue to visit pubs whilst they might not be able to afford a new car or a house in the near future.  

6. How do you adapt a business and marketing strategy to embrace the latest trends and keep ahead of the competition?

My approach is to keep an eye out on the trends but trying not to get too swept into thinking we need to be involved with every latest trend, as that will make your marketing very fragmented and whimsical. Keeping ahead of the competition comes from understanding your consumer and the value your brand can offer to them versus the competition, and focusing on building that value further, not necessarily from being the first to take on new trends.

7. What role does your company’s purpose and environmental strategy play within your marketing strategy? 

Our purpose is to inspire the world to drink better, and that is core to our marketing strategy. We are on a mission to make alcohol free a credible and available choice for everyone looking for it, whether in a pub, restaurant, sporting venue, train ride or at home. We focus on creating both mental and physical availability to change the category norms in alcohol free. 

Sustainability is one of our core values in the business. We became a B Corp last November and B Corp certification is an important way for us to communicate our sustainability efforts to our consumers – we’re proud to be part of the community and display the mark in all our communications. We’re currently celebrating the B Corp month with thousands of other businesses, with collaborations and activations running throughout.

8. How important is storytelling when maximising your customers’ engagement with a campaign?

Power of storytelling is immense! Connecting via storytelling is in all of our DNA. As a fairly young business, one of our strongest assets is the story of how our founder, Luke Boase, started the business – I’ve listened to the story tens of times but always find it inspiring, as do our consumers. People connect with people and relate to their stories, and feel closer to the brand when their feel part of the journey.

At a campaign level, I love a campaign that tells a story, but also gives the consumer space to connect the dots themselves. Our Dry January campaign broke category norms by displaying a religious figure holding a beer bottle, with biblical copylines presenting Lucky Saint as their Dry January Saviour, saving them from temptation – the payback for consumers is to connect the dots between our biblical name and brewing heritage of beer in monasteries, as well as January being a month of temptations for those aiming to go dry. I’m a strong believer in respecting your consumers’ intelligence and giving them an ‘aha’ moment with your creative. 

9. Creative agencies rail against the time and resource spent working on pitches to win accounts: is there a realistic, fair alternative to the pitch process?

This is a hard one. As a brand with limited resources, deciding to invest large amounts and making a choice that will be crucial to your campaign success without asking for any display of the agency’s thinking is hard. At the same time, I realise that the cost of pitch processes ultimately need to be covered somewhere, which will mean higher costs for the eventual work. At a minimum, it’s important to keep the pitch brief clear and concise.  

10. From a marketing perspective, what’s coming up for your brand or business in 2023?

2023 is an exciting year for us. Our most recent news is that we have just opened a pub – The Lucky Saint in Marylebone, London – our brand home, test-bed for a modern offering combining the best of both alcoholic and alcohol free options, as well as having our new office space on top of the pub (what a dream!).

We’re also building on our success in the UK by expanding internationally.

As for our brand activation, we’re entering the summer season of sports activations, partnering with likes of Strava, Brighton Marathon and Hackney Half – one of our mantras is ‘Breaking Rules. Honouring Traditions.' and we look for opportunities to activate where traditional beer brands can't. We will also continue to focus on supporting our on- and off-trade customers, and growing distribution nationally. For anyone looking for a Lucky Saint pint, you can find your nearest local serving us on tap at www.luckysaint.co/draughtmap

Little Grey Cells is Tim Healey’s weekly profile interview platform where leading marketers share their valuable insights and experience, presented by Worth Your While.

Outsourced Marketing Director and best-selling author Tim Healey collaborates with senior marketers to help them have more time, less stress and clearer marketing strategies through his consultancy Shoot 4 The Moon Ltd. Book your meeting.

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