No.3 Gin are a Berry Bros. & Rudd brand with an insatiable hunger to grow. After winning the coveted title of ‘World’s Best Gin’, four years in a row at the International Spirits Challenge, you’d think they’d want a break. But they’ve continued to expand and develop their offering, with new products, collaborations and redesigns on the horizon. With all these exciting developments going on, we couldn’t resist sitting down and grabbing a (virtual) chat with Lucinda Hodge at No.3 Gin.
In this exclusive interview, between Amelia Badeni, Marketing Manager at ProQuo and Lucinda Hodge, No.3's International Brand Manager, we delve into No.3’s fascinating brand journey, focusing on the release of their new product, the ultra-premium and uber-stylish, bottled cocktail, Vesper Martini.
ProQuo: Hi Lucinda! We are so excited to hear from you and would love to learn more about your new product launch. Did you have any specific motivations in mind when launching the Vesper Martini?
No.3 Gin: The changes in our category were a huge motivator, as we were seeing massive growth in the category, fuelled partly through flavour and serve innovation, as well as consumer habits changing, with more people spending time at home due to local lockdowns.
We knew the Ready-To-Drink market was a strong opportunity space, experiencing a 14% increase in volume and an 18% increase in value, over the last 12 months. As the category was associated with convenience and ease, we saw a gap in the market for a premium offering.
Our new product, the Vesper Martini, leveraged this opportunity, broadening and enhancing the image of No.3 Gin, whilst driving consumer awareness and generating momentum for the brand.
ProQuo: Wow, some sharp rises within the category! With all that data, did you still need to prove there was a case for the product to the business? Did Berry Bros. & Rudd take much convincing?
No.3 Gin: Berry Bros. & Rudd wouldn’t still be here if they hadn’t used innovation to aid their growth! With specific objectives in mind, our brand team put together a case to show the potential of our new product. Being such a limited edition product by nature, working with an independent supplier, and having buy in from Selfridges as a launch partner meant the NPD was fairly low risk.
ProQuo: As such a new concept for you, what was your approach to marketing the product?
No.3 Gin: We focused on bottled cocktail collaborations, and looked to No.3’s long-term partner, Alessandro Palazzi. He was a legendary bar manager at Dukes in Mayfair and had helped to create the Vesper Martini. This collaboration boosted our PR, keeping No.3 front of mind for both consumers and trade partners.
ProQuo: How has your brand changed since launching the NPD? Are you still as closely tied to Berry Bros & Rudd, or is there a clear distinction between the two brands since going out on your own?
No.3 Gin: It’s opened up more brand partnership opportunities for us and has enabled us to secure further listings with key target retailers, such as John Lewis. We are very proud and open about having a solid tie to Berry Bros & Rudd; the brand name No.3 refers to No.3 St James’s Street, the home of Berry Bros & Rudd. We also have a lot of common core values, such as quality, integrity and service. Our new product has strengthened our connection to Berry Bros & Rudd, whilst allowing us to communicate with consumers in our own unique way.
ProQuo: We had a look into your ProQuo platform after the relaunch of your bottle and noticed that Innovation, Relevance and Differentiation Drivers grew post launch. Were these Drivers key to your NPD strategy?
No.3 Gin: We specifically upgraded the new No.3 bottle with the ProQuo Driver objectives in mind:
Innovation was a key aim, as we wanted to be seen as a ‘beacon of quality’ within the category. Our final product embodied this idea, as it was both creative and daring, in the form of a new bottled cocktail, with a premium look and feel, that oozes exclusivity.
Relevance was also a core focus, as we wanted to connect more with new and existing customers in meaningful and distinctive ways.
Differentiation was another important aim as we wanted to demonstrate how our product was unique and ‘the very best’ in its category. Having been the only gin brand in the world to be awarded ‘World’s Best Gin’ four years in a row at the International Spirits Challenge, we were able to clearly communicate how our brand stood out against competitors.
ProQuo: That’s great, what an achievement! I’d love to hear more about how you use ProQuo. What do you think is its greatest benefit?
No.3 Gin: Being on ProQuo has been great for us for both when bottle cocktail testing as well as with No.3 Gin. It has allowed us to understand on a deeper level what our consumers think and feel about the brand and the category it plays in versus our key competitors. It highlights where our weaknesses and strengths are and provides clarity on the areas we need to build on to improve our relationships with our consumers.