When I met the Hayman family (father Christopher and son and daughter James and Miranda), one thing was clear; they were passionate about creating unique gins that had their roots dated back to original 19th century recipes, flavours and taste.
It all began with Christopher’s great-grandfather, James Burrough, who was a curious and charismatic pharmacist. In 1863, he bought a gin and liqueur rectifying business on Cale Street in London and started producing a range of cordials, medicinal ingredients and yes, you guessed it, gin. His coveted gin recipes, which are still followed today, can be found at Hayman HQ, scribbled in notebooks dating back to that time.
Our role was to help tell the story of a journey that started with these early roots and led to modern day interpretations of these gins – the why behind the brand. The Hayman gins are made by hand to the individual and original recipes in a traditional copper pot still “Marjorie” (named after Christopher’s mother). They’re blended and bottled on site, which means the family and their team personally ensure that each and every bottle meets Hayman standards.
The passion of the individuals involved – the Haymans and their team – is intrinsic to the end result that gin lovers enjoy; whether that be with lemon, lots of tonic and ice on a warm summer evening or in a sophisticated cocktail made with Old Tom in a hip bar.
The main aim was to capture the team’s special gin ‘terroir’ that could be shared with the customer. In wines, terroir is used to describe how the soil and environment affect the grape – in our context we wanted to portray how people can change the characteristics, taste and aroma of a gin. James Hayman describes his early memories “I really used to enjoy visiting Dad at the distillery when I was younger. The distinct smell of juniper and orange peel was so intense that it left a lasting impression – I always hoped that I might work in the family company one day.” This feeling helps to shape the person and how they go on to make change to the process.
This can help a customer to understand why this gin has become ‘moulded into shape’ by the Hayman family and their close-knit team – creating an emotional, and certainly a human, connection.
Fundamentally, drinking gin is all about enjoying the flavour (rather than just a way of getting sloshed) and we wanted the customer to deep dive into why these gins tasted the way they did. The emotional connection was made by identifying the human touch and the terroir – rather than these gins being made as a mechanical process.
The reason why Hayman’s Gin was made in this way was essential, to differentiate it from ‘ordinary’ gins, but also other small-run producers such as Sipsmith – which, although is a boutique product, does not have the Hayman backstory. When tasting a Hayman’s Gin; we expect customers to feel the love that has gone into its creation – each flavour identified as being added for a reason.
This type of storytelling focuses on the why. People love to know why you do what you do. They can form an emotional connection from this. This is much preferred to telling people what you do. Everyone talks about the what – we make this, we create that – it’s all a bit of a list – and lists are often forgotten.
This is because these ‘lists’ tend to be processed by the left side of the brain and this is very analytical. In Hayman’s case telling people what they do – making gin – is simply not enough to get someone to remember and be connected to their brand.
The why, on the other hand, builds a memorable experience (using the right side of the brain)- the smell of juniper, the clinking sound made by the still as it cools, the shape of the bottle and even the old recipes written in parchment paper notebooks. All this is remembered long after the event. The actual experience of drinking a great Martini in a place that makes you buzz with excitement – well, that’s another story.
Makes you want to try it, doesn’t it?
And that’s the whole point of the exercise really – to create a lasting impression that will ultimately lead to increased sales, brand affinity and advocacy.