The noticeable upswing of Almdudler

04. Dec 2015

In an interview, Thomas Horak (International Sales Manager) explains the noticeable upswing of Almdudler in southern Germany. And also reveals why this success has nothing at all to do with an advertising campaign.

Thomas Horak

We have doubled sales of the Almdudler glass bottle.

Thomas Horak

For many German beer garden visitors, Almdudler is an “old acquaintance” that has not been seen so often in recent years. Since this year it is different. The brand is once again much more present in southern Germany. Why is that?

On the one hand, we have strengthened the sales team to generate more visibility in the market and stand out better. On the other hand, we have redefined the focus. Away from the watering-can principle and toward very focused market cultivation.

And what exactly does that focus look like?

We come from Austria. The logical next step is southern Germany, especially Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. And thanks to the strengthened sales team, we can also operate more comprehensively in urban areas such as Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart, and not just selectively serve individual customers as before.

How did this clear compass come about?

This is precisely the focus that emerged from our brand positioning project together with Spall.macht.Marke. The aforementioned sales strategy is only one important part of the brand strategy. In this way, we want to bring the redefined brand onto the road and make it more visible again.

Almdudler, the original that brings people together

How would you describe Almdudler’s new brand positioning?

In one sentence: Almdudler is the original that brings people together. This sentence applies to all areas of the company. In addition, our new brand values help us to better decide what suits us and what does not. Thus, in sales, we primarily go to the very sociable gastronomy, e.g. beer gardens. In southern Germany, probably the best place to bring people together. A focus that brand positioning has given us.

So what do your results look like in the first year after you sharpened Almdudler in the German market?

At the end of the first year, I can say that we have impressive growth in the German market. We stand out in the market and are perceived as a growing, credibly positioned brand. For example, sales of the original Almdudler glass bottle have doubled, and this in a declining soft drink market.
Internally, too, the new brand positioning has created a momentum of its own. Everyone is at full throttle because there is clarity and an inner certainty that we are doing the right thing.

Courage to focus is important

What advice can you give to other brands that are in a saturated market and are looking for a strong boost?

The most important thing for me is courage to focus. Finding out what you stand for. You shouldn’t try to be “Everybody’s Darling”, but act with character and a strong brand personality that finds favor in the right places, but also excludes one or two. Therefore, we have decided to focus on daytime catering. We are a daily brand. A brand for the whole family We bring people together. That’s why we’re golden in daytime catering.

How do you approach the core that should shape the brand at all touch points? How can we imagine this in practical terms?

We first spent a lot of time listening to opinions and perceptions about the brand and collecting the most diverse aspects. All divisions of the company were involved. Business customers and end consumers were surveyed. So a very broad range of opinion. This was a central key to success. We also purposefully cut certain things that were only sometimes mentioned in order to be able to focus on the nodes that emerged. These were subsequently defined, sharpened and a common understanding developed. With this common understanding, e.g. about our focus and the values of our brand, it was easier for us to act from a brand perspective and to set decisive activities.

The good thing about the consultation was that there was no golden book

How did you perceive the role of the consultant. Does the consultant come in there, open his golden book and say “This is it. Work with it”? Or how?

The good thing about the consultation was that there was no golden book, it was an open, collaborative process. Of course, this process had to be moderated, and someone was needed to give us direction and point out new aspects. And the result that is at the end of the process has not been predetermined, but is really our result.

Now you are out and about with customers in sales day after day. What tools have you been given to apply the new brand strategy in everyday life? How does it work when the consultant is no longer involved?

We have very good support from our marketing. One is a small booklet containing the brand positioning and our jointly defined brand principles. I always have this in the car for quick reference. We have also designed a brand book for our international distribution partners to bring them even deeper into the world of Almdudler and explain to them how to interact with the brand. This involves a great deal of openness, as we pass on a great deal of brand know-how. But this is the only way we can drive the brand’s success abroad.

What did it look like at the end of the collaboration? Was there a thick Leitz folder or book with all the guiding principles?

Of course, there were many extensive results. But certainly the key was that we broke this down so that people who don’t deal with brand strategy every day can work with it. Our brand card fits in any wallet and explains on a few pages and in a few sentences what the Almdudler brand stands for. Even someone who has never had anything to do with the brand will immediately understand what makes us special.

We want to get into the everyday life of the Germans

What can we expect from the Almdudler brand in Germany next year?

We’ve been doing well for the last year, but we’re not there yet. We will definitely maintain the focus we have set ourselves and create even more availability for the Almdudler brand in Germany. We want to get into the everyday life of the Germans. We want to become even more visible. We want to put even more emphasis on gastronomy. We want to bring together not only Austrians but also Germans and be represented in everyday life. For us, everyday life means increasing availability and being available wherever people expect Almdudler.

Do you think there’s a realistic chance that Almdudler will eventually find its way into the minds of Germans not just as a vacation drink, but also as an everyday beverage?

Definitely. Almdudler is of course very strongly associated with the feeling of vacationing in Austria. But it is precisely this positive brand experience that we now want to bring home, to Germany, even more strongly, so that people here also have fun with the brand.

One last question, Mr. Horak. Looking ahead five years, what headline would you like to read about Almdudler in a leading trade magazine in the beverage industry?

I’d love to read, “Almdudler is a major player in the German soft drink market whose strength comes from staying true to its core.” I think this honesty and consistency are the keys to success. The market is flooded with new brands and drinks all the time. With our history, honesty and naturalness we have a very big chance to read exactly this headline. We just have to stay true to our brand.The nicest thing would be if you could read there: Free Democrats provide creative impetus in the Bundestag.

The interview with Thomas Horak was conducted by Christopher Spall.

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