Translating Brand Experience into the Digital Space

Due to our current market conditions, craft breweries need to alter the way they market and sell their products. Our industry thrives on innovation, unique stories, and fostering connections with consumers through memorable brand experiences. A majority of these brand connections occur in your taproom or brewery when fans immerse themselves in your brewery culture and brand character. With current social distancing regulations in place and no definite end date in sight, you will need to pivot these experiential branding moments to the digital space.

A key component of marketing is knowing where to find your ideal consumer, and with the average time consumers spend online currently skyrocketing, you can easily see why moving your experiential marketing efforts to the digital space is a no brainer if you want to reach craft beer drinkers in a time of isolation. In-person patronage provides special moments of connection when they get to visit your taproom or chat with your head brewer or gain a behind the scenes peek at your brewery in action during a tour. Since that cannot happen right now, all of these collective experiences need to be taken online for the foreseeable future if you want to keep your brand relevant during our global health crisis.

Here is the biggest upside to this situation — digital marketing is cost-efficient and has a very low barrier to entry. Some of your only limits in the digital marketing space are time and effort, and your own creativity. Social media channels, your website, email marketing, blogs, vlogs, and SMS (text message) marketing are some of the most efficient vehicles to translate the craft beer experience for your fans.

Just as you would provide a unique experience at your brewery or taproom with special events, live music, food pairings or features, production facility tours, loyalty programs, merchandise sales, or creative promotions, you should offer up these special connection points for your fans online. The goal is to keep your fans engaged, informed, and entertained while social distancing, so they don’t lose connection to your brand.

Here are some ideas to get your creative mind going:

  • Host online game nights through a live stream on social media and recommend specific beers from your brewery to enjoy during the event — invite interaction during the event in the comments section
  • Launch a loyalty program that provides virtual benefits now and physical benefits later when taprooms and breweries open up again to the public
  • Invite fans to virtual happy hours or meet the brewer events in an online environment, like Zoom or the Virtual Taproom or social media live streams
  • Encourage fans to share their experiences with your brand on social media — revisit iconic moments in the history of your brewery or taproom to spark nostalgia
  • Start a brewery blog and begin an email marketing campaign
  • Post videos of brewery tours, behind the scenes, sanitation efforts, beer-to-go procedures, etc.
  • Promote your online merchandise store and beer purchase options on your website

Get online. Get creative. Invite your fans to engage with your brand. Take this unexpected downtime to learn how to navigate these low-cost digital marketing tools so you can continue to build long term relationships with your brewery fans.

If you are interested in learning more about how to sell and market your beer digitally, Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions provides online educational programs specifically for the craft beer industry that focuses on sales, marketing, and management strategies to help you grow your craft brand. Visit www.notyourhobbymarketing.com to learn more or reach out to Julie Rhodes, owner and educator, at julie@notyourhobbymarketing.com or 720-749-4977.

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