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Who Has a Loud Voice?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There’s been quite the Marker’s Mark controversy lately. The alcohol brand was doing the unthinkable. Well, at least unthinkable in the customer’s mind. And in a world where customers can say a lot and be heard a whole lot more, the brand had to rethink its plan. Today’s brands can think they hold all the cards, or in this case glasses, but that just isn’t the case. Customers will actually drive the path of the brand and it’s up to the brands to accept this and succeed or ignore it and hope the customers follow along.

Maker’s Mark recently announced that it would be reducing the percentage of alcohol in its beverage. Not a decision the brand took lightly, as it had reasoning behind the change and was very vocal about the brand update. The brand has grown so well, been so successful, that it needed a way to increase supply to keep up with demand. The reduction of alcohol was to prevent product shortages — a trade-off that the brand thought customers would understand.

Boy, was Maker’s Mark off the mark (that pun was intended). After the plan was announced, customers talked. Like a whole heck of a lot. So much so that Maker’s Mark had two choices: listen to customers and make a change to let them know the brand cares, or listen to customers and simply ignore them by continuing on with the initial plan. Luckily, Maker’s Mark is a smart brand; one that recognizes its success comes from these exact customers who are unhappy. The brand let its core segment speak and reversed its initial plan. This means customers could risk shortages of Maker’s Mark, but this is what they prefer.

It’s very refreshing for brands to take a risk and those that are not planned for with months in a boardroom. Maker’s Mark is going on part chance, part calculated risk, and part customer enthusiasm. But it’s the right decision; the one that will let customers know that they do matter to this brand. Maker’s Mark listens and this brand believes customers have a voice. A very loud voice.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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