Recently, Maker’s Mark was in the news as a perfect example of why it’s so important to listen to your customers. Because of an increased demand in their bourbon and a supply shortage, the company announced they were going to decrease the amount of alcohol volume in its famous whiskey. Soon after this announcement, Maker’s received numerous customer comments through Facebook and Twitter that couldn’t be ignored.
In making its decision to “stretch the product”, the company had focused on not altering the taste of the bourbon but didn’t fully consider the emotional attachment that customers have to the Maker’s Mark brand and its composition. After the enormous amount of customer feedback, Maker’s quickly reversed their decision to cut the amount of alcohol in its bottles, and they did so in impressively fast speed.
I’ve always been taught that if you’re going to make changes to your brand, you do your research first; especially research with your customers. Maker’s Mark could have learned months ago that their customers weren’t going to be happy with a “lesser” product. On the flip side, Makers Mark probably couldn’t have handled this situation any better from a customer and public relations standpoint and they did generate an enormous amount of great publicity out of the situation they had put themselves in.
What do you think? Did Maker’s hit their mark with a clever publicity strategy or did they really not think anybody would care?