Branding and marketing plays a huge role in the success of any small and independent brewery, and requires many different resources. Regardless of whether you are new and still getting your sea legs or an established craft brewer, you have to focus on standing out. Each of you reading this blog desires the same thing: top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) in the marketplace so you can reach beer lovers!
How does one gain TOMA when there are 3,400+ breweries in the U.S.? Is there a magic answer to the marketing madness? As a new brewery, you can start by answering these three questions:
1. Do we have consistent branding?
Branding means creating a unique image for a product using a consistent theme. When I look at successful breweries, I see their branding displayed across multiple communication mediums: visual, verbal and written. From logos to website copy to the way employees talk about the beer, your brewery should be presented in a clear, concise and consistent way. Whenever a potential customer instantly recognizes your brand, you’ve achieved TOMA.
2. Who are we?
Tied to the success of consistent and successful branding is your brewery’s identity. Ask yourself: How do my employees and customers explain what my brewery is about? One way breweries summarize their persona or identity is via a tagline. A tagline is a slogan, and it should be memorable! Staff and most loyal customers should be able to recite your tagline from memory and with pride.
3. Are we creating a buzz with our brand?
Creating a buzz (figuratively, of course) supports TOMA by getting people talking about your brand and sharing all the awesome stuff your brewery is doing. How do you do that?
- Publish press releases
- Return phone calls and emails
- Create news and then share it
- Grow your follower base via consistent and authentic social media content and communications
- Collaborate with like-minded companies so you can cross-promote and cross-pollinate!
These are tactics I see executed time and time again by craft brewers who are thriving. CraftBeer.com, the Brewers Association website for beer lovers, helps you share your press releases and beer events and is there for you when you want to spread your news beyond your own backyard.
Marketing is a complex subject, and in the months ahead for this new blog I look forward to exploring all the ways small breweries can and do market themselves—always with the theme of TOMA at the top of my mind.