It’s Thursday afternoon in Cape Town, and I’m glugging down a Rock Shandy after rushing around the city all day. Made from soda water, lemonade, bitters, and fresh lemon, it’s a certifiable thirst quencher, and non-alcoholic too.
This drink is only ever made – and requested to be made – with one brand of bitters. Angostura.
But have you ever noticed the label on a bottle of Angostura Bitters is too big? I’m sure you have.
And I know you’re trying to picture it now, so here you go:
Besides its bright yellow plastic top, its oversized label is what really distinguishes a bottle of Angostura from other brands. Are there any other bitters brands?!
So why is the label too big?
Well, apparently when original founder’s sons took over the business, they set out to market the bitters however they could, which included entering a competition.
In a scramble to get their product ready for judging, one brother worked on the bottle and the other on the label. Due to a miscommunication or mistake, they ended up with labels too big for their bottles, or bottles too small for their labels.
By the time they realised the error, it was too late to correct it.
They lost the competition, BUT a judge pulled them aside and told them their wonky, oversized label made their product stand out.
So they kept doing it.
Now, not only is their product a leader in its category, their old-school aesthetic has become iconic and instantly recognisable.
Mistakes can be creative blessings in disguise. Sometimes you just need the guts to roll with it.
If you want your product to stand out, you can’t do what everyone else is doing. So don’t get stuck in the trap of looking at competition to copy; go looking for what to do differently.
Angostura’s label success might have been luck but there’s a lot we can learn from their story:
Before we get into ‘how’ to be different it’s important to remember that it’s no good being different if different puts people off or confuses them. Whatever it is that makes you different, it needs to enhance your brand or product.
The Angostura label mistake fits well with their brand well - an age-old family business.
Here’s how to get it right…
Keep being an outlier 💪
J + K