Building a Brand

September 19, 2019 | Charlie

Despite the high risk, as soon as we pressed go on the development of Freestar as a product, we went hell for leather on building the brand. Like anything creative, building a brand is an exercise in creating something out of nothing. The challenge got us fired up. We had a real vision of how to fix the problem that got us started in the first place: the fact that there were no alcohol free options that let people feel included and good about not drinking.

We started by writing something of a manifesto. Why we were doing this, who our target customer was, what brands they connected with, how they spent their day, how they spent their free time, even how they thought about the world. All of this was based on our experience and we saw things, as well as great brands like Oatly, Red Bull, Palace and Rapha that have influenced us.

Freestar is about giving people genuine choice in the evening when deciding what to drink. If you want to drink alcohol, great. If you don’t, then you don’t have to compromise on your experience, either in terms of taste or brand. That choice gives you real freedom. It allows you to go to that gig, that date night, enjoy it every bit as much and still get up in the morning and be sharp. It also gives you confidence to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. That’s powerful!

A brand is a representation of an attitude or a mindset. So a connection with a brand says something about you as a person and how you see yourself.

Here’s a line up of top selling alcohol free beers in 2018:

It honestly looks like it could be pulled from the 1950s. How is that representative of how people want to feel? And people wonder why alcohol free beer has a bad reputation…

We wanted to be everything that lineup isn’t: bold not conservative; aspirational not negative; premium not a range extension; design-led not traditional; forward looking, not droning on about provenance. In short, we wanted to reflect the positive reasons people are drinking less.

It’s one thing to have a brand world on paper. Translating that into an aesthetic was beyond our capabilities. So we decided to go see some experts. We checked in with a few big agencies who promised to deliver a kick ass brand for about £70,000. In reality, there was no guarantee we would like the designs. But most importantly, we were, and still are, self funded. We were using our salaries to fund the product development; there was just no way we could afford those fees.

Instead, we looked closer to home. One of our co-founders, Felix, has a best mate, Alex, who works for the renowned record label, Ninja Tune. Along with a co-worker and design wizard, Joe, they came on board the project as freelancers and we worked together to bring the brand to life. This took time and a few wrong turns but we kept focused and together honed in on our aesthetic and the bottle’s look and feel. The gruesome twosome continue to work closely with us in developing all of the creatives for Freestar. We’re pretty pumped with the decision and are pleased to bits to have them as an integral part of the Freestar family.

We’re going to leave you with a slide show of the brand development to where it is now…