How we helped Tomatin tell a story about what really matters.

Since 1897, Tomatin has been one of the most loved whisky brands in the Scottish Highlands. Here, patience, a gentle hand and a passion for purity rule the day. Where protection of their craft, their environment and particularly their community has long been at the heart of everything they do.

Now approaching their 125th year, Tomatin wanted a fresh look not just at the past, but at the future. Since we’re their lead creative agency, they asked us to evolve and challenge their brand identity.

Landscape photo of Tomatin distillery with barley field at sunset

The Brief

Tomatin asked us to evolve and challenge their brand identity in three key ways:

1. Leadership – Tomatin isn’t a small-scale single malt, indeed it was once one of the very biggest. But it has long since fallen behind the market leaders. They wanted to re-join the ranks of the top 10 in volume sales.

2. Premiumisation – That growth must be underpinned by value and a transformation in perception. The brand’s positioning had almost become too soft and light-hearted to be taken and priced seriously.

3. Distinctiveness – As superb as the product unquestionably was, few could point to one thing the brand was memorable for. It needed a clearer brand essence and a new set of visual assets, to build recall.

Brand Strategy

Amidst the pandemic panic, we found some subtle shifts in the category. Rather than the challenger brands being disruptive to the leaders, the most wild and convention-breaking work was being pushed by the biggest brands in the category. The very leaders we were trying to unseat.

Yet our testing found global audiences seemed to increasingly want the opposite. A whisky that met all the conventional tonal cues of a Scotch, but instead offered something deeper beneath the surface. Not neon colours, gimmicks or flashy celebrities, but a sense of perspective, purpose and depth of character.

Post-pandemic, never has the world been more focused on the truly important things in life. Love, family, friendship, memories – these are the things that make true moments that matter. And are the very foundations which Tomatin has held true to, for 125 years.

Tomatin needed to be positioned as the whisky that believes in something more than just product or prestige. It should stand for those fleeting but joyous moments of true warmth: in flavour, in experience, and in rare meaningful memories with others.

New Brand Identity

To bring clarity and focus to the brand, we crystallised this positioning into a new platform line. ‘To what matters’. A call to arms that represents the spiritual DNA of Tomatin; a human belief in what’s truly important in life – the significant moments – supported whenever one toasts with the brand.

Then we carefully and respectfully refreshed the brand’s visual and verbal identity, bringing a more premium and distinctive sense of warmth and ‘to what matters’ to every touchpoint.

13 slides showing tomatin brand guidelines

Brand Film & National ATL Campaign

To help bring this to life externally and internally too, we developed a brand film that told the story of what really matters – using mementos as our hero. Mementos are a perfect reminder of what really matters – gifted, acquired, collected – however they come into a life they are present throughout the journey.

This same creative treatment was then the foundation of a targeted ATL consumer campaign to begin the long road to increased awareness and sales in the market. This brought Tomatin onto TV and cinema advertising for the first time.

Working on this repositioning project with MadeBrave has been transformational for our business. We have very ambitious growth plans for Tomatin Single Malt, building on the rapid success we’ve had in recent years, and we now feel like the brand is in the strongest position to meet these goals head on. In every area of the business, working at Tomatin is more than just a job. It’s a way of life.

Authenticity lies at the heart of ‘To what matters’ and we couldn’t be prouder of what this platform stands for. We share true Highland warmth in our stories, our welcome, and of course, our whiskies, and if ever the world needed a drop of Highland warmth, it’s now.

Jennifer Masson, Head of Brand | Tomatin Single Malt
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