If passion alone was enough to propel your craft beer business to the top, everyone would be doing it. Whilst a love for craft beer is up there as one of the most important ingredients for a successful business, as is the quality of your product, you’re going to need to put some work into your branding if you want to stand out above the rest.
Here are three pieces of branding advice you really shouldn’t ignore, from some of the UK’s most successful craft beer businesses and London’s only dedicated craft beer digital marketing agency:
Even if you brew or stock the best beers in the world, none of that matters if nobody knows about it. You could sit and wait for each consumer to tell someone else but those consumers are busy; they need to be reminded and encouraged – and that is what marketing is all about.
Marketing is not a dirty word and it’s worth taking the time to plan and do it properly.
Everything you do is a representation of your brand. The world is watching and talking about brands online and offline, down the pub, on their phones and at work – 24/7. You need to harness that and be part of that conversation.
Beer is a social product and fuels conversation the world over. Beer drinkers relate to beer brands on a much more personal level than many other consumables, and for that reason beer brands need to have a strong, personable personality – and a story that captures attention.
The more crowded the market becomes with the increased prevalence of taprooms, the harder you need to work to attract the attention of consumers, pubs and distributors. Whether it’s a drip mat, a flier, a tweet or the About section of your website, every aspect of your business forms a part of your story, and when beer drinkers feel connected to that story, they’re more likely to buy your beer.
Events have been the main channel to market for craft beers everywhere, and this isn’t about to change, but how you leverage those events is evolving. Firstly, don’t just use festivals to launch new products and sell. These events should also be used to forge deeper relationships with those you already know.
From fans to customers, pubs and distributors, you should build ‘support’ into your event plan to make your existing network feel extra special. Whether you invite key people to a major event or you host an experience, tour or event of our own, be creative with what you do, who you do it for and how you promote your event online (you can read more about making the most out of beer festivals in our guide)
“Everybody has the knowledge that we will be there in support of their business and return to support that business once we’re listed with them. We have lots of people on the road now fronting up those events, I think a lot of breweries let themselves down by saying they will offer that support at events and do tastings [but] in reality, it doesn't happen and disappoints everyone.” - Sean Robertson
“Our events and social media (all that engagement with our drinkers after they've had our beer) is really important to our brand. People want to know where [the beer] comes from so we run things like trips to hop farms in September. We're going to do tours of the brewery and a trip to the micropubs in Ramsgate later in the year [because] we’re encouraging people to stay engaged with us. I don't think consumers just want a one-off experience any more; they want to have layers of experience.” -Duncan Sambrook
Want to know what the biggest gripe publicans have with breweries? Deliveries, customer service and their sales rep – basically every interaction a publican has with the brewery.
Customer service forms a very important touch point for your brand. From the person who answers the phone and packs the boxes, to your delivery driver, sales rep and admin staff, you need to ensure everyone in your business conveys your passion, story and brand values.
Oli Meade, Founder of Craft Metropolis, still personally packs every box that goes out. He carefully selects the beers based on high standards of taste and quality to make sure each delivery has his personality stamped on it. That extra attention to detail and personal care is what the Craft Metropolis brand has been built on, and his customers love it!
Take a look at all of the successful craft beer breweries and you’ll notice they’re doing the same:
“We spend a lot of time making sure that our customers are happy and that any issues are resolved quickly” -Duncan Sambrook
It comes down to looking at your business from your customer’s perspective, and building your brand around their needs, rather than your own. If you’d like to know more about how to build a successful craft beer business, listen to the Craftwork podcast, or download the full eBook: Lessons on Building a Business in the UK Craft Beer Industry by filling out the form below.
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