It takes time and commitment to develop a brand. After eight years of nurturing, that effort paid off with Monkey Shoulder, a Scotch Whisky, which in 2012 became available in the U.S., where it's experiencing growth of nearly 120% over last year. For parent company William Grant, a fifth generation family owned business, whose portfolio also includes Glenfiddich, Grant's, The Balvenie, Hendrick's Gin and Sailor Jerry, they had the freedom to take a long-term approach, and it's paid off. Here's how they did it.

William Grant's CEO, Stella David, shares the five steps to building a brand.

1. Don't cut corners with your product. "In the case of Monkey Shoulder, we had the celebrated master distiller David Stewart to create the liquid. He produced a new breed of whisky, the "triple blend" now known as Monkey Shoulder," says David.

2. Choose your partners carefully. "We were able to carefully seed our product with taste makers who ultimately would become passionate advocates and spread the love and lore of the Monkey Shoulder brand."

3. Keep your eye on the consumer. "Our team continues to build programs that provide a platform for that spirit to shine through and connect with our target audiences."

4. Focus on the future. "Our consumers and trade are as much a part of building our brands as we are. We know that a brand is a living thing that we must tend it and allow it to grow. Taking the long-term view has always served us well."

5. Give it time: "In the early years don't run it for volume or profit. Give it space to become the brand it deserves to be," says David.

Published on: Mar 30, 2015
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