From Premium to Luxury: A Two-Year Journey to a New Outlook

August, 2020 — The celebrated premium sake brand SAKE100 announces a name change and a full rebranding. SAKE100 becomes SAKE HUNDRED, and with the complete overhaul of the brand comes renewed determination and a fresh new outlook.
Just two years after hitting the market, what sparked the change? SAKE HUNDRED’s brand owner Ryoji Ikoma explains:

Experience Brings Clarity to Brand Value

SAKE HUNDRED’s recent rebranding took place just two years after coming to market. What happened in those two years that informed the recent change?

Ikoma (SAKE HUNDRED Brand Owner) Those two years were a time for us to really think through what we offer as a brand. What’s our value? And it was a time for us to reflect on who we are. What are our values?

You may be aware that SAKE100 was more than just a sake label. We created our own sake news and education platform: SAKETIMES. It’s through this web-based sake media platform, which we launched in 2014, that we’ve really learned the nuances of issues the industry faces. It’s where we learned the needs of international consumers of luxury sake. And it solidified the stance we’ve always held: An urgent desire to spread the gospel of sake.

It was our desire to help solve the industry’s problems, answer to those needs, and satisfy our drive to enlighten consumers to the greatness of sake that pushed us down this path of providing a high value, high quality sake label.

When setting out to create our brand, it was essential to consider what value we bring to consumers. If consumers don’t understand our value, they in turn won’t see our product as “valuable.” And determining our brand value was, by nature, an exercise in thinking critically about our own values as a brand, and the kinds of experiences we want to impart to our customers.

Of course, then, it’s vitally important to deliver sake we are extremely confident in. From the very beginning, we’ve always committed ourselves to delivering the highest quality sake with high added value. That’s why, in the end, the offerings of our first two years consisted of just four varieties of sake. We explored so many more, but we settled on the four that elicited the greatest pride and confidence.

But even then, I was keenly aware that the most delicious sake doesn’t guarantee those unforgettable experiences we’re after. It’s our responsibility as a brand to deliver both the highest quality and the potential for indelible moments — a sake to make any occasion unique and rewarding.

In creating this brand over the years, what’s been most important to you?

In the course of our business, the thing that’s always on my mind is our brand purpose: “To fill your heart and color your life.” For me, it’s why we’re here. To fill the hearts of our consumers, we need to deliver a product that satisfies the mind, body and spirit. Good sake tastes great. Great sake aims higher — it brings a whole new vibrancy to life.

Our brand purpose really took shape about a year into our initial releases. And from there, that ethos of filling hearts and coloring lives has really driven us. That purpose gave shape to our ultimate pursuit: Not to sell sake, but to satisfy on a much more spiritual level.

And that renewed purpose, inevitably, changed our brand entirely.

So, how does the new brand purpose change SAKE HUNDRED’s way of doing things?

To get into specifics, we’re overhauling all of our customer contact points to reflect our renewed commitment to the highest quality, and to deliver our message of filling the heart and coloring lives.

But to put it more succinctly, the definition of our brand has changed. With our new brand purpose, we also reconsidered our place on the sake spectrum. We are not a premium brand. We seek to establish ourselves as a luxury brand. And, in my mind, we’re crossing that threshold because of our renewed commitment to delivering a product that fulfills on an emotional level. It’s not just sake that tastes great — once again, it’s a product that fills the heart and colors lives.

When you dare to go above and beyond the more superficial elements of flavor and quality and really get into consumers’ hearts — satisfy them on an emotional and even social level — then you’ve gone from premium to luxury.

So, that’s our aim. And with that comes a renewed focus on delivering that message to our consumers, and also living that message within our own ranks.

The Reason for Rebranding

To really get that message across, it was necessary to reconsider all of our touch points with consumers and overhaul our brand assets. When you start getting into big changes like that, it makes sense at that point to declare an overall rebranding.

Everything that reaches the consumer has to provide emotional value. It has to announce us as the luxury brand we know we are. So, starting from the top, we’ve redone our website, our logo, our bottles; we’ve even changed how we speak and broadcast ourselves as a brand. It’s all new, right down to the name. We’ve done away with the numeric “SAKE100” to a more relatable, alphabetic presentation in SAKE HUNDRED.

Outside of those creative changes, what else is new?

We’ve revisited our brand’s top statement: “100 Years of Pride.” We believe that our new motto, “Fill Your Glass of Life,” better represents our direction. It’s an oath to our consumers to provide a fulfilling experience that enriches their lives.

Of course, “100 Years of Pride” is still a statement we stand by, and hold dear. But we felt it was too manufacturing-oriented. “Fill Your Glass of Life” is a message directly to consumers. This message encompasses much more than flavor — it’s a pledge to satisfy the emotions, to really bring people together and to add value to your lifestyle with one-of-a-kind experiences.

A Journey to Fulfillment, One Step at a Time

Following the rebranding, where is SAKE HUNDRED going now?

Up to now, we’ve delivered sake with 100% confidence. We know we’re putting out superb sake of the highest possible quality. But I feel under our previous way of doing things, we weren’t delivering the message of who we are and of what we hold dear. It’s so important for your consumers to really know who you are. That’s what builds trust and the consumer’s confidence in your brand.

And who are we? We’re a team of sake lovers who believe in the power of SAKE HUNDRED to touch the heart, build relationships, satisfy the emotions and bring joy. Helping our consumers get to know us and what we hold dear is a step-by-step process, but we’re going to move forward with confidence to deliver on our renewed brand focus, and to fill your glass of life.