Branding is more than just how you look

Branding is far more than just your label, logo or tap badge, it’s your reputation.

“Your brand is what people say when you’re not in the room,”

Matthew Remphrey is the owner and creative director of Adelaide’s Parallax Design and spoke at the recent Australian Craft Brewers Conference about branding, or more specifically he talked about one question: What do you want to be famous for?

Branding is far more than just your label, logo or tap badge, it’s your reputation, Matthew said. That is the power of branding and why it’s important to view any monies spent on developing it as a capital investment instead of just another cost on the bottom line.

Matthew says branding is the reason why people buy a Mercedes instead of a Toyota; it’s how you get people to pay more for a similar product.

In an introductory overview of branding, Matthew provided five questions for attendees to consider if they’re serious about creating a brand that will be remembered.



Matthew described this as a “fact finding” question that should take you through the breweries history and experience so far. He encouraged people to think about their brand, their brewery, as a person. How does that person behave, what do they do in their spare time? What music do they like?


This question, Matthew says, is all about what drives you, what is the one reason that keeps you going. Why did you get into this?


The answer to this question should be something no-one else can say; it must be absolutely unique, he stressed.

Example: Our _____ is the only _____ that _____

Matthew also suggested to trying writing your obituary, “when you close the doors in 20 years time, what do you want to be remembered for?”


What are you doing differently and what impact does this make?


This covers anyone who can make or break the business such as employees, suppliers, shareholders, media and even the bank.

In a growing category like ours, Matthew emphasised the importance of differentiating yourself. It is likely that in the eyes of the drinker your beer can be substituted for another, he said, so it’s critical to ask yourself what you’re doing that is different from everyone else and then be able to tell the world.

“Pricing is a really important part of positioning your brand,”

Matthew has worked with several wineries, and many of them have different tiers of a product, from entry level and premium wines and they come with their own price tag and so he wonders whether this is something craft beer can learn from? Is this something beer can do?

What I found most interesting from Matthew’s talk was his discussion on provenance, and he used the example of the paddock to plate movement in food. Consumers are engaging with the story behind their meal, who’s growing the veggies and the name of the farmer where the pig was raised and what their story is and maybe craft beer can learn from this. Maybe craft beer can go beyond just listing malts and hops like a bullet point presentation and talk about the farms and the people, is there an interesting story here? These stories, Matthew says, are probably not stories you’ll likely hear the big guys telling.