How to Market an Alcohol Brand in India

Marketing is no longer a straight path. You have to be present on multiple channels, adhering to the format and tone of all the channels, all the while maintaining coherence in your presence that aligns with the brand personality. 

Sounds like a daunting deal in itself but it gets even trickier with alcohol brands. Liquor advertising and marketing face several restrictions from the government, platforms and even the masses. 

But there’s always a way around challenges. You just need to get your creative genius working. So, a lot of methods and practices for creating a marketing strategy are the same for an alcohol brand as any other product. However, there are a few extra steps for a brand towards a competent alcohol marketing strategy.  

Keep reading to know in detail about alcohol marketing strategies for India.  

Table of Contents 

  • Competitor Analysis 
  • Consumer Profiling 
  • Brand Ideology
  • Brand Tonality 
  • Surrogate is the way  

Competitor Analysis 

Before entering the deep waters, it is always a wise move to take a measure of its depth. Thus, before entering the market you need to know its ins and outs. The best way to do so is to analyze how the market interacts with an existing brand that offers something similar. 

Analyzing your competitors can help you 

  • Find potential gaps in the market 
  • Find your unique selling point
  • Discover market trends and new opportunities

Thus, you can create a comprehensive marketing strategy using competitive analysis. 

A good start would be to determine who is your competitor. Once you know who you are up against, you need to study them all in detail. 

  • Look out for the products they offer 
  • Study their marketing tactics and results 
  • Check their product pricing 
  • Gauge the consumer response 
  • Analyze their content strategy and the resulting engagement. 

Using these points of research, you can create a complete SWOT analysis, highlighting your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.      

Consumer Profiling 

Once you have analyzed the market and your competitors, the next piece of the puzzle is to understand your consumers.

The consumer today only responds to personalized methods of marketing that keep their needs at the center. Thus, to design the perfect consumer experience you need to assess what a typical consumer of your brand looks like. 

You need to trace a general persona and some common needs and wants across your consumer base. You can create detailed profiles of a few loyal customers and then look for the common factors that feature in their profiles. 

It will help you understand what your potential consumer might be looking for and how you can deliver it. 

Brand Ideology

Whether you believe it or not a brand has its own ideology. There is a driving force behind every brand’s entire operation, it may be creating a cooperative space for people, maximizing productivity, promoting sustainability or any other idea. 

This ideology is the most important element of a brand’s identity. Because it not just inspires customers but also encourages the employees to sign up for an idea that they align with.

You should try figuring out what idea makes your brand what it is and then look towards aligning it with your consumer persona and prioritizing it in your culture.

Brand Tonality 

Every brand is perceived differently by consumers. Some products are associated with safety and warmth, others with adventure thrill. It is this perception of a brand that is decided by its tonality.

The tonality doesn’t have to be directly linked to the product or service on offer, and it usually arises from creativity. In the long term, the perception solidifies enough for people to associate the brand name with certain traits.

For an alcohol brand, you should look towards building a perception that gives a distinct and strong personality to your brand. 

Surrogate is the way 

So after doing all the research, just like any other brand, here’s where the game gets tougher for a liquor brand, i.e, advertising. 

Alcohol advertisements are banned in India like in several other countries. Thus, no alcohol brand can freely promote its products. So, every alcohol marketing strategy has to include a method called Surrogate advertising. 

Under the practice of surrogate advertising, an alcohol brand does not advertise alcohol directly but promotes the brand name through its ‘brand extensions’. So, they might sell sparkling water, soda, music CDs or anything else that is not banned.

By selling some other product under the brand’s name alcohol companies make sure that the brand name gets stuck in the consumer’s head. At times, they also associate certain ideologies and concepts with their surrogate products that subtly promote alcohol. 

So, to advertise alcohol in India you need to get creative and find a surrogate product that will help you promote your brand and the associated ideology. First, you should consider your target audience. Then look for a message that won’t promote alcohol or its consumption directly but help them relate to the brand. 


So, marketing an alcohol brand has some special challenges. 

Start with analyzing your competitors to create a SWOT analysis and then research your consumers to develop a consumer persona.

Further, discover what ideology drives your brand and then decide how you want your brand to be perceived by your audience. 

Finally, make sure you work well on finding a good surrogate product to promote your brand name and ideology.  

The above-mentioned practices will help you create the best alcohol marketing strategies that bear results.