The Founders

Four Pillars Gin has three founding fathers: Cameron MacKenzie is head of product, Matt Jones oversees the brand, and Stuart Gregor looks after their PR. In this article, Mr Jones explains how their triangular relationship is central to their business success.

Get behind-the-scenes access to the secrets fuelling Australia’s fastest growing gin brand, as Long & Co unpicks the Four Pillar Gin strategy. If you missed last week’s story you can read it right here.

Key takeaways this week:

  • The key components to Four Pillar Gin’s strategy: Purpose, product and intimacy.
  • Why identifying the 100 most influential people around your business is key to success.
  • Why intimacy is important and how you can scale it.
  • Start by Clarifying Your Purpose

The power of starting with why (purpose) instead of what (product), is in Four Pillars’ case the difference between any old gin and a gin brand commanding margin and attention.

Having a clear purpose guides your decision making, makes you thoughtful about how you can add value to your customers and crystallises what you are all about. All-important ingredients for a strong brand and business.

Great Products Can Only Take you so Far

A second part of the Four Pillar Gin’s strategy is their focus on their product. A key component to their product approach is a very expensive and long-awaited German copper still. Once secured, they set out to develop their perfect drink by combining four key ingredients: quality distilling, Australian botanicals, water from the Yarra Valley and love.

Beyond a great product, you still need to overcome gatekeepers and identify your influencers. This is where Stuart comes in. “Stuart always says:

Who are the 100 most influential people around your business. Who can influence your success?

In Four Pillars case, bartenders are both gatekeepers and influencers. As a result, the founders spend budget and time to win these stakeholders over.

The Four Pillars budget has a dedicated line item towards domestic and overseas travel engaging with mixologists and shuttling them from Melbourne to their distillery in the Yarra Valley.

“This leads me to the third part of our strategy which is intimacy”, Matt explains. “Intimacy is central and so devoting time with bartenders and investing in a bus, means we can cart them from the city to the Yarra. This was an investment we needed to make”.

Matt Jones, co-founder of Four Pillars Gin speaks to Cat Long about the importance of gatekeepers and influencers.

Matt Jones, co-founder of Four Pillars Gin speaks to Cat Long about the importance of gatekeepers and influencers. Photography by Kat Stanley Photography

Scaling Intimacy

Intimacy is also where Matt’s role as head of brand takes further shape. “As humans, we think we make rational decisions, but the truth is we often don’t. We might comment that one gin is more delicious than another, or that we choose one car over another because it is safer. Truth is, we might simply like the taste, or the look, how fun something is, or what a great story someone has”.

But how do you scale intimacy? Matt laughs and comments that this is the million-dollar question.

For us intimacy is based in craft, backed by belief and amplified in social media.

He explains that his role is to take what is Four Pillars and wrap a great story around it. He wants a brand based in truth: “Like the village butcher who has integrity in his process: we want to invite people in to see how we make our product, taste it and eat with us. We trust that these intimate stories travel wide and far. Social media helps amplify these moments from what used to be contained in a village to now have world-wide reach”.

ROI of Social Media

Matt comments his view of social media is different to many other businesses. “We don’t see social media as free or cheap advertising. We see a platform that enables intimacy, and we invite people to be part of it. Social media is an amplifier for intimate experiences”.

He elaborates that social media is indeed a faith-based discipline.

If you don’t believe in it, you’re not going to do it. We have faith that our small acts of generosity will be amplified.

If you are not sure about the return-on-investment (ROI) of social media, we will let Four Pillars results have the final word on the matter: 40,000 cases sold in the past 12 months, the fastest growing gin brand in Australia and 55,000 engaged Instagram followers.

Next week – Four Pillar Gin unveils how marketing is a dangerous term.

Matt Talks Strategy with Long & Co

Watch the video below to find out why Matt believes strategy can often be self indulgent.

Filmed by Tony Whittaker, Carnivore Films.

More please

Love this story? Read ahead to get more gin and strategy insights here:

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Long & Co is a small brand and digital alternative to a big agency.

Long & Co is a small brand and digital alternative to a big agency.