Biz Tips: What Other Businesses Can Learn From the Marketing Efforts of Breweries

Biz Tips: What Other Businesses Can Learn From the Marketing Efforts of Breweries

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What Other Businesses Can Learn From the Marketing Efforts of Breweries

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Craft breweries evoke an atmosphere of fun, freedom, and creativity. You get the sense that brewers truly love what they do and that they’re at liberty to dream up and test all sorts of recipes. For many brands, that’s the secret to being successful — absolutely loving the process, which shows through everything from customer service to marketing.

In 2017, the craft brewing industry contributed over 500,000 jobs and more than $76 billion to the United States economy. And that’s just independent and small craft brewers. The U.S beer industry as a whole is even more impactful, employing more than 2.2 million Americans and contributing hundreds of billions of dollars to the economy. The word is out: Breweries know something about marketing that other businesses can learn from.

Strong Identity

A lot of breweries have a strong identity — they know who they are, where they came from, and why they do what they do. This is why their audiences relate to them and how they develop a loyal fan base (on top of producing tasty beer, of course). Some identities are stronger than others. Take Stone Brewing, for example. Their attitude is just as intense as their beer, and they embrace it.

Brands don’t have to be as “in your face” as Stone, but there’s something to be said for deciding who you are as a company and then standing by that. If you’re just starting out and find that part of your audience is reacting poorly to what you do, take that as an opportunity to cater to your core audience. If you stand out like a sore thumb from your competitors, use that to your advantage — there’s a good chance you’re filling a gap in the market.

Visual Marketing

Breweries lend themselves to visual marketing because their settings and locations tend to be aesthetically pleasing. Hi-Wire Brewing does this especially well. Their Instagram is filled with images of their cans and drafts, plus behind-the-scenes looks into the brewery. Everything they post is sun drenched and slightly overexposed, creating a recognizable visual identity even when the subject of their images varies.

Brands that have visual appeal can learn from this by sticking to a visual identity of their own, especially on a platform like Instagram that showcases an image portfolio. When your audience knows what to expect and you always deliver what they’re waiting for, they’ll be more engaged. From there, your advertising budget can go further.

Promotional Products

Breweries tend to put a lot of thought into their logo and graphics, which is why their swag can end up being so effective. By choosing the right promotional products, breweries extend their reach via loyal customers. Some swag, like branded coasters or koozies, are inexpensive and easy to give away, and customers love getting something for free. For other, more expensive products, you’ll have to charge, but something like a branded baseball hat will garner a ton of exposure for your brand.

Non-beer brands can replicate this by asking themselves a few questions:

  1. What type of swag can I give away for free and will make my customers happy? A tote bag may go unused, but most people will love an extra water bottle.
  2. Which products can I sell that will get a ton of exposure? A magnet is going to remain on the person’s fridge for no one to see; branded workout gear will be used at the gym.

Press Exposure

There are thousands of craft breweries operating right now, which makes it difficult to stand out in a saturated market. In order to compete, social media isn’t always enough. Some breweries, like Wynwood, have a PR team that sends press releases to local and national mainstream media as well as online sources.

Connecting with press can be a full-time job, which is why brands may want to consider hiring a PR company that already has press connections. Look for a PR firm that works within your specific niche. However, if your brand doesn’t have the budget to hire a PR expert, there are ways to generate buzz yourself:

  • No outlet is too small. When you’re just starting out, don’t snub the tiny local papers or outlets that want to write about you. Even small publications have reach and can spread the word.
  • Keep on top of industry press releases. When a media outlet picks up a story about a similar company, put them on your list of publications to reach out to.
  • Connect with reporters and outlets on social media. Engage with them, share their content, and build a relationship. When it’s time for you to share news, they’ll be more likely to help if they know who you are.

Press exposure isn’t just a small blessing, it’s one of the most important forms of organic marketing to take advantage of. Unlike paid marketing, utilizing word-of-mouth messaging through the media enables you to share information about your brand at virtually no expense. Readers also perceive this content as more authentic, making them more likely to become interested in seeking out your brand.

Final Thoughts

No great marketing effort starts without a strategy. Even the breweries that seem casual about marketing have some sort of plan. Brands that are just starting out don’t need large-scale strategies, but they should have an idea of which tactics they’re going to use and how they’ll track their effectiveness.

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What Other Businesses Can Learn From the Marketing Efforts of Breweries was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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