Barbados Banks Beer

Spend a week in Barbados and you’ll think you’re in heaven—big blue skies, even bigger puffy clouds, greeting you each day. The other thing that stands out (remember your on vacation) is the local beer “Banks”. You can miss it, it’s everywhere. Just ask “May I have a beer?” and this brown bottle with a red label shows up. It’s cold and cheap, as low as $1.50 US—compare that to the Bahamas. The beer tastes good, more refreshing than anything else, and in its 10oz size, it takes a couple to get you going.

As a marketer, the other thing that stands out about Banks is their brand marketing. In Barbados, there are over 1500 rum and beer stores/shacks. These shacks are independent and consist mostly of a shady spot to sit and drink—whatever’s your fancy. While at first, it’s hard to actually figure out what they these shacks are, you start to get a feel when you see a Heineken one, a Mount Gay Rum on and of course a Banks one.

The bright red shack is a Banks shack and they are doing it best on the island. They are clean, bright colored, and inviting. As compared to some of the other shacks, you assume they have good electricity and that their beer is cold. They key—it’s all about the brand. The Banks red, the Banks logo, the Banks typeface are all controlled—used the same, consistent way—a “tight” brand approach! When you see their posters, ads, and even the sign on their factory, you realize they really know their target customers. They use images relating to sports (cricket, soccer, golf), they show young happy people having a good time and they use visual imagery all over the island.

So let’s see, they use tight brand guidelines, operate clean stores, charge a reasonable price for a good product and understand how to connect to their target customers. As a marketer, if I could get my clients to follow this type of integrated and focused plan, I wouldn’t need a lot of customers to be able to retire and spend more time in Barbados.