Ideas to Expand Marketing to Downstream Consumers

Getting your brewery into cultural change can be important. New Belgium Specialty Brand Manager, Andrew Emerton spoke on this at the 2019 Craft Brewers Conference.

He spoke during a marketing seminar about how breweries need to be able to see what’s coming downstream and how a combination of research and gut instinct can help in that process.

“Always look at other industries to understand what’s going to happen in the overall culture, and that’s very, very important for us as craft brewers,” he said. “A lot of times we look inward way too often.”

Emerton pointed out areas like the fashion industry as being compelling, along with other food products, such as yogurt and gum.

“They have gone through a lot of what craft beer has gone through over the last 20 years,” Emerton said. “A ton of different options out there and everything starts to slow down, and some key players start to emerge. Looking at who is doing that and how it is interesting.”

That can mean targeting different customer types and distancing new offerings from your core lineup. That can mean being intentional with your “ambassador” and “purchase” brand equities.

The example he used was how the Fat Tire brand from New Belgium is the brewery’s purchase brand while the brewery is the ambassador brand. Some consumers may only know of the Fat Tire name while others know of the whole line of New Belgium. The distancing of something like the Voodoo Ranger line of IPAs the brewery does is intentional.

“We distance our new offerings from our core when we are trying to go after new customers,” he explained.

But be intentional with your ambassador and your purchase brand equities. You can take it one more layer down to the style brand as well, like Fat Tire being an Amber Ale.

“Beer is very interesting in the fact that we have kind of a lot of hierarchy. We are trying to hit [consumers] with three brands and maybe some romantic copy on that package,” Emerton said. “That’s a lot to give your customer. There are not many examples of products where a customer has to go through so much to understand what they are about to buy. It’s a difficult challenge to manage all those waters in your communication.”

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