Is Your Brand Marketing for You, or to the Consumer?

The pandemic has given many breweries an opportunity to pause and review their approach to marketing their brand. What may have been something to do to help sell a product to a consumer has become much more personal, and finding those connections builds more than a consumer, but a friend and a fan.

When the pandemic hit, Indeed Brewing went into a support role of sorts, explained Morgan Halaska, Marketing & Communications Manager.

“A lot of our marketing up until COVID was geared toward fun events, spending time with people, and providing a space for guests where they could be carefree,” she said. “All of a sudden, we were forced to switch gears and reframe everything.”

In a flyer that was sent with to-go orders, Indeed shared with consumers that “Beer is here for you” by adding a beer-to-go window.

READ MORE: Showing Your Beer Buyers Empathy

Halaska said the brewery worked at getting closer to consumers by engaging with them on social media. That meant sharing their content and communicating more via direct messages and replying to comments.

“We still wanted to be an outlet for people, even if it wasn’t a physical space,” Halaska said. “We thought it was important to share photos of our guests enjoying one of our beers, whether it was on their couch or backyard, with our followers. We treated it as a virtual community, where we got glimpses into everyone’s world. The common denominator was our beer, which was still able to bring people together.”

Baxter‘s Tony Grassi said that the brewery is rather outspoken about its love for its home state of Maine, and all the traditional New England qualities they self-identify with.

“That bond to the land is a common thread with our fans, and it comes out naturally in how we speak, how we play, and even how we conceive new projects,” he said of how Baxter views marketing to consumers. “We’re just as excited to promote our beer as much as our last ice fishing trip, or in the case of Ice Storm of ’98, with stories from our youth.

“The goal to inform the consumer is always there, but we don’t want to explain the beer away. We’d rather share our love of Stowaway after a day on the rapids and invite our followers to do the same. Then it feels like a conversation about beer which is more aligned with who we are.”

For Birds Fly South Ale Project, Brian Haitz said they put an enormous amount of focus on the Greenville, South Carolina local community, both in helping promote the area as well as building long-lasting partnerships with businesses and organizations.

“It’s not always about having an event, or a collaboration release, but rather showing support to places you admire and want to see success, just because,” he said. “I think when your community realizes you are part of the fabric of it then they will rally to support you, especially in the tough times.

“This has to be a genuine effort, otherwise people will see right through it. Be involved, be engaged, and be a resource for your local community.”

Indeed didn’t stop promoting beer releases though, Halaska said.

“But we were deliberate about striking the right tone, one that balanced awareness (that life wasn’t normal for anyone) and support/comfort (that we were here to provide a semblance of a familiar experience),” she said. “Seasonal beer releases were coming out, which we knew would provide a jolt of excitement to our guests. And when we were able to open up again after the various shutdowns, we put the consumer first in our messaging around the safety measures at both of our taprooms.

Photo courtesy Birds Fly South Ale Project

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