How New Technology Helped Coronado Raise Brand Awareness

Now more than ever, consumers are inundated with endless choices. Standing out in the crowd has become tougher as breweries look to update their brand on shelves, find new ways to target consumers and stay connected.

With the release of CoastWise, a Session IPA from Coronado Brewing, the San Diego brewery used a new technology to help increase the brand awareness by teaming up with ThinFilm Electronics to create a coaster that users could use to connect with a branding website.

“ThinFilm’s technology is another way to cut through the clutter and help tell our story in an engaging and unique way,” said Coronado’s Melody Crisp, the brewery’s Director of Marketing. “We use coasters every day in our business, so it made sense to put those coasters to work harder for us.”

The brewery reported that the coasters drove website conversions 17.5 times more than other marketing channels.

“Competing for the attention of craft beer drinkers is intense,” said COO Brandon Richards. “Getting people to hear your brand story without interference is even harder.”

What really intrigued the brewery about the technology was the ability to tell the CoastWise story and explain the partnership with the Surfrider Foundation. Customers could set their phone on the coaster and the brewery’s website would automatically load, with a CoastWise/Surfrider video on the homepage, making it very easy to communicate the message.

“It was fun for us as a marketing team so try something new and we’re excited to see how we can implement this technology into other future projects,” Crisp said.

Since this was the first time Coronado partnered with ThinFilm, they decided to focus the coaster run at their own establishments so they could control the roll-out and get the staff excited and engaged.

Coronado has three locations: a tasting room at the main brewery; a pub on Coronado and a restaurant in Imperial Beach.

“We go through a ton of coasters each month, so this was a great way to try something new in a somewhat controlled environment,” Crisp explained. “We also ran an inventive contest to see which location could get the highest coaster engagement rate, and then each server/bartender from that location was given a gift card.”

By deploying the coasters, Coronado saw a significant increase in consumer engagement, particularly compared to click-through rates of 0.2 percent for its existing advertising.

The coasters produced a 13-17.5 time increase in website conversions, as measured by visits to the website resulting from consumer-initiated taps. Overall, the tech drove an estimated 92 percent lift in mobile traffic to the CoastWise landing page.

“The smart coasters were a big hit and the engagement exceeded a lot of the more traditional methods of advertising we do,” Crisp said. “We are currently talking with ThinFilm about other opportunities, and we are very excited to hear that Apple is getting closer to making it’s NFC technology open, which will allow ThinFilm’s technology to work seamlessly with both Apple and Android operating systems.”

Crisp said that the brewery is exploring other ways to integrate the technology to help them tell their story and meet consumers where they are. Coronado plans to have its remaining coasters direct consumers to its ecommerce page while exploring other POS opportunities.

“It’s exciting to think about the possibilities,” Crisp said.

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