KATHMANDU: The Johnnie Walker (JW) brand is a global phenomenon; it is the ultimate aspiration brand. It is an exceptional product that has been marketed tastefully, positioned smoothly with the most romantic lineage of craftsmanship and sold in around 200 countries worldwide — it is said that 89 glasses of JW are consumed every second globally.
The craft: The exceptional ability of the brand to provide a delicate and smooth blend consistently over a century is what has resulted in it achieving the cult status it enjoys today. Different products for different target audiences are crafted with exceptional skills by procuring different malts and blends from different regions and with different ages to give one glass of class. The brand has never compromised on its quality and the products speak of the commitment and dedication of the company. It is a great example of not compromising the product quality and thereby establishing a name.
The skill: The marketing of the products is uncluttered with four to five products all marketed and branded as ‘Johnnie Walker’ but with distinctive positioning in terms of price, age of blend and taste. The benefits of the umbrella branding strategy have been optimised by using same shape bottles. This meant fewer broken bottles and more bottles fitting the same space and similar product labels. The other identifying characteristic of the bottle is the label, which is applied at an angle of 24 degrees. The angled label means the text on the label could be made larger and more visible and it is distinguished only by colour (introduced in 1909). It is the simplest branding to understand but also the most difficult to implement. Moreover, the marketing of the brand is a mix of avant garde advertising and judicious promotional activities.
The romance: Originally known as Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky, the JW brand is a legacy left by John ‘Johnnie’ Walker after he
started to sell whisky in his grocer’s shop in Ayrshire, Scotland. However, his son Alex-ander Walker and grandson Alexander Walker II are largely responsible for establishing the scotch as a popular brand. Alexander Walker introduced the iconic square bottle in 1870 and in 1908 the whisky was renamed from Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky to Johnnie Walker Whisky. In addition, the ‘striding man’, a figure used in their advertisements to this day, in honour of the founder, was created.
The choice: The ‘keep walking’ tagline, the Mr Johnnie Walker golden silhouette logo and the reflection of chivalry are all directed towards
positioning the product distinctively. The brand symbolises a life that is based on individualism, hard work and perseverance. It is a brand that is not about achieving, but about success as defined by the individual himself.
Undoubtedly, the JW brand is among the most recognised and valued corporate identities globally and the most shinning aspect of the brand is its ‘honesty’. The product quality, the market-ing machinery, the product promise and the legacy all have a ring of honesty, which may or may not have been an intended company plan but has been the prized reward.
Time to keep walking!
(The author is associated with The Chaudhary Group
and can be contacted at email@example.com)