Seedlip

Seedlip, the world’s first distilled
non-alcohoolic spirit

How a successful branding can change consumers’ product perception

Meet Ben Braithwaite, Head of Creative at Seedlip

Ben Braithwaite has been a successful head of design and brand at various food and drinks brands in the UK. His work embraces nature and beautiful graphical design and photography that has since helped him excel in his award-winning successes over the years.

seedlip tote bags

seedlip tote by supreme creations

Watch his interview with Smruti in our Plant Room Series where Ben talks about successful creative strategies and how it is possible to take a creative concept work collaboratively with an ethical manufacturer to bring a promotional item to life.

Smruti:

Hello everyone, welcome to our next video series I'm delighted to be talking to Ben who is currently head of creative and head of brand at the incredible brand Seedlip. And Ben's background has always been in the creative industry and in the food and beverage industry, particularly at the wine Trade Company, Lea and Sandeman. So Ben, tell me a little bit about yourself as a creative your background and then we'll get going as to how we worked with each other.

Ben:

Yeah, so thanks for having me. Yeah, so I studied graphic design at uni and then always, throughout uni, always had a passion for kind of, how do I make graphic design work within the food and drink industry. From kind of walking around grocery aisles looking at all the little packaging designs from toothpaste to cereals and the colourways that he used and different cues that designers would play with within that world.

And so I then found myself working for a wine trader Lea and Sandeman as a marketing exec slash creative manager wrapped up in one role. And it was there that I kind of then realised, actually there's so much, so many opportunities within the spirits world within there, in terms of their brands versus the wine brands, if you like which are a bit more restricted. And then, so going back sort of circa five years prior to that, Ben Branson, who would later go on to found Seedlip reached out to me on Instagram at the time, I was doing paintings of animals, in particular Highland cows and Ben reached out to me out of the blue and asked if I would like to paint him a commission of a highland cow painting. Which I gladly did and that was great and I then sort of kept tabs on this chat ban on Instagram for the next few years and it was my time at Lea and Sandeman. I'd seen this brand Seedlip popping up on Ben's Instagram and more and more people were coming into the wine shops asking for lower ABV wine or non-alcoholic drinks or what those sorts of queries. And then we started stocking Seedlip. Then long story short from there. I noticed it within looking for a marketing exec role. Which I immediately reached out to Ben about and started my time at Seedlip there. Which was now just over four and a half years ago.

Smruti:

And I think we, I think we've almost known each other for that length of time. So yes, when you were in your role as a marketing executive, you reached out to us at Supreme Creations. And you said, look, we're looking for something to, as part of our sampling campaign, to get the brand out there even more, and enhance us ourselves. So tell our audience a little bit about what the brief was originally, because we've evolved over time in terms of the products that we deliver.

Ben:

Yeah. So yeah, we've done a I remember you came to our, it was our second little office in Marylebone. And down in the basement, surrounded by random bits of taxidermy and bits and bobs that we used to have in our old Seedlip offices. And yeah, we kind of at that stage, we're still very much growing the brand and figuring out what do we need, what are we trying to do? What are we trying to achieve? And within that world that we sort of crossed paths with you and spoke about with you was the sampling campaign.

The kind of large quantity bags that we were I think it was Waitrose we were doing giving out free samples with every online order. And then as well as that we were looking for a kind of a hero Browns tote bag. And so we… obviously the hero run tote bag a bit chunkier a bit more premium. And we were able to we were like right where drinks brands people likely be carrying bottles in these tote bags, what can we do to make these tote bags more bespoke, for us and for bottles. And so we with that bag, I remember sending dimensions of our bottles to someone with you guys and we came up with this design that essentially had two perfectly shaped Seedlip bottle pockets on the inside, and the inside of the handles just inside the toe. So you could walk around and carry a bottles, but also carry whatever else you're needing to carry in there.

Smruti:

I think, yeah and as someone who doesn't drink I fell in love with your brand. And was, for anyone who doesn't know about Seedlip you are a non-alcoholic spirits founder and low alcohol spirits founder. Is that right?

Ben:

Yeah, yeah.

So yeah, we're the world's first still non-alcoholic spirits. And launched in 2016.

Smruti:

And you've grown from strength to strength, and you're pretty much present in every bar that you want to be seen in around the world or, you know, airlines are stalking you and I know you're on British airways, and you're in all of the sort of premium grocery stores as well, as I think now the main mainstream goes grocery store. Is that right?

Ben:

Yeah, yeah, the big four, certainly. And then yeah, lots of lovely delis and also little shops like, well not so little shops but lots of shops that traditional alcoholic spirit brands may not be stocked in. So we talked about nature as a kind of guiding force within Seedlip. So garden centres, we were quick to align with them from a brand perspective. And because we were non-alcoholic, they could also stock us and we looked, fit in with the kind of nature vibes of a garden centre. And then places like Oliver bonus, Anthropology. So the kind of non-traditional.

Smruti:

Yeah, and almost seen as a gift item at these sort of Oliver bonus and Anthropologie stores. And I think when the reason that you’re probably I mean, I'll let you say why you chose to work with us over other suppliers, because you did obviously need to tender with other suppliers.

Ben:

Yes.

Smruti:

But I remember it was firstly the personal connection that we that we sort of got on and we loved, we shared your vision for having nature at the center of your communications plan. And I think it was the Bags of Ethics label, which became very important for from an alignment point of view of how you wanted to be seen. Is that right?

Ben:

Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, first and foremost, the personal connection, which myself and at the time the marketing manager Ben Thompson found with you. We're like great, this, this is good, and this can work. We, we like Smruti, we can and then everything that you talk to us about and everything that Bags of Ethics and Supreme Creations stood for. From a kind of sustainability point of view, ethical point of view, was totally on point for what we were looking for when we made anything with Seedlip. And then down to the details, which I think we shared once on our Instagram, a photo of a lovely lady in one of the factories making one of the Seedlip tote bags, which just gave us that transparency through that process that we were looking for as a brand and what we knew our consumers were also hoping to see from us as a brand and how we sourced and made our assets which you guys were more than able to bring to the table.

Smruti:

And I think that's a it's a really great example of when you are trying to have a sort of top line creative strategy. It has to percolate into every element of the marketing channels that you deploy the marketing, promotional products that and merchandise that you work with. And for us as a business it was great to see your small but ambitious brand grow into this sort of dominant force within the category. You are extremely well known you are award winning. You're stocked in some of the best stores in the world. Like we've just talked about best bars in the world. So it was definitely a partnership and I think, if anyone watching this, the one takeaway is that every time you come to us with a brief, we want to work as partners. It's not a sort of one way process where you, you have to tell us, I want this specific thing we work together to create the right product for the right campaign at the right price. So for example, we did a project on your sampling bags, which he gave out it will at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and then obviously, around the streets of London to get the brand present. And that was like a low value item, or which had a high sort of visibility.

Ben:

Yeah. Yeah. And they were just, because with that, that size of tote bag, sort of the question of like, well, we don't want to make I can’t remember how many 1000s but we made lots and gave to lots of people at Chelsea flower show them. We don't make too small where people sort of then wonder what to do with them and throw them away so that they were the perfect size and the perfect kind of weight of material that could be reused for a number of occasions and bits and bobs.

Smruti:

And how did you measure the ROI on the giveaways did you have a sort of science behind it a method behind it?

Ben:

I mean, various the RHS ones within them had a leaflet with a discount code to the website. So that was how they were tracked. Waitrose ones also had a discount code to the website or discount code on Waitrose or something. So they all kind of had that tangible ROI. And then, yeah, whether peace and love, which we put on the mall, became more of a recognized brand message from us. Slightly less, less able to quantify that but my role within the brand so I certainly felt that. However many 1000s of tote bags we've got floating around in people's houses with peace and love on I think certainly does, does the brand justice, which we can't necessarily track.

Smruti:

Yeah, the little walking billboards. I mean, I've seen these things floating around years later around London, so clearly has had a long lasting impact.

Ben:

Yeah, it's, likewise I've seen quite a few walking around in London. And they look so smart. They're sort of the hero ones, if you like, chunky, durable, look great. They are smart, smart bits of kit.

Smruti:

Smart bits of kit, which is it. And so we've evolved together to create even more sort of premium products with you from sort of understand I've not been working on these projects, but I understand sort of market roles and.

Ben:

Yes, because it was it was one of I remember you and I chatting in.

Smruti:

In Marylebone again.

Ben:

Yeah, trying to remember the name of that little lovely deli, which we spent a lot of time. But yeah, you and I were chatting and it was just like hi Ben, we are Supreme Creations we don't just have to make tote bags. We don't just have to make this. We we've got people around the world who can make anything you like, out of anything you like. So we entered from that. It was a couple of years later we were like right, well, we need some barker rolls with our old ones are out of stock. They were made with some very unethical manufacturer somewhere no doubt in secret early years. So like, right, let's pick that conversation up again and see what we can make and just literally sent the dimensions of our bar kit, the cocktail shaker, one of these just sort of around there. We need to fit one of those, we need to fit cocktail spoon, we need to fit some of this that and then yeah, this very smooth process of picking the materials picking the designs. And I think you're very helpful and friendly. Natalia?

Smruti:

Yeap.

Ben:

Did a wonderful job, ensuring smooth delivery of those.

Smruti:

Great, well I mean it's music to our ears to see that actually the creative process is not just number one: a linear one you know, it's definitely back and forth and collaborative one but number two: that you are as a premium brand, you're a luxury brand with very strong brand guidelines and brand values that we suddenly match up and you're very proud to talk about so it’s wonderful to hear and I'm so happy that certainly when we communicate back to the factory in Pondicherry, who, you know, the. As you say we have a 90% female workforce, and a lot of them haven't got a clue about some of the brands that we work with. And so we always try and communicate with them. Look, these are the brands that we're working with. And for them, it's a mark of real recognition to be producing something for consumers all around the world. But to be recognized at such a high production level. It's a craft, it's a craft to be a tailor and as someone who, who paints and draws yourself, you know that these sort of kind of skilled when you're using your hands, and you're using machinery, and you're working with colors and things, it's a real, it's wonderful to hear that the product is loved. And the product is appreciated for all of the little details.

Ben:

Yes, yes. And yeah, being able to see those lovely ladies making something that a brand wouldn't necessarily see those sorts of things being made. You know, as far as we, as far as we, as a brand are exposed to how we make things that sort of the bottling plant with this bit of distillation, it's that it's that there's so much other stuff that a brand makes and creates, which just tends to appear and delivered to a warehouse and then and then it's getting given out or whatever. But being able to, yeah, tangibly see who's making what and know that that person knows that. It's the Seedlip brand, it's the peace and love guys again, it's such a nice thing.

Smruti:

It makes it all worthwhile and I think that's what you know, the people in the planet message that we always very have actively promoted well over 20 for over 20 years, you know, there's, it's very important to recognize the people are long each and every element of the supply chain, because it is vast, and it can be forgotten. And it's very important to champion. So thank you for that. And kind of just a last sort of closing piece, if you were to give any of our future clients or current clients, any sort of tips when working with us, what would you say?

Ben:

I would say, go in openly, loosely, it's quite easy to try and try and approach you guys with the final solution. But actually, I think it's better to maybe take that final solution, thought process back a few steps, then approach you guys. Because what you guys bring to the ideas table in the development table is, is hugely beneficial in terms of finding solutions. You guys know what materials work best for what. So and so yeah, being going in a bit more open and developing something together as a partnership is how is where we got our best. Our best outputs.

Smruti:

Well, it's wonderful to hear, because I've heard this very consistently. So come in openly. Give us some top line brief, and then we'll do the rest with you collaboratively. So it's a very, very consistent message. So I just want to say thank you so much for giving your time and to tell the audience as someone who we respect very much as a person. You know, you're an incredibly creative, very esteemed person within your industry and it's great to have your thoughts and validation almost in the work. So thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it very much.

Ben:

It's been my absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me. Good to chat. And thank you for all the wonderful work you've done for Seedlip over the years.

Smruti:

Pleasure.

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