Jack Milner, account executive, Engage PR
The power of marketing has never been stronger in the business world. Not least because of the burgeoning number of social media and digital marketing channels available today.
Having a marketing plan that can work across new platforms as well as traditional marketing options is vital. But what’s more important is that the plan fits with the brand, tone, culture and other nuances that shape the outside perception of your business.
BrewDog has understood from the get-go that using these channels correctly can have a direct impact on growth. The business started in the north east of Scotland in 2007 and has since taken the UK’s craft beer market by storm, becoming something of an international phenomenon.
Some of the BrewDog creatives visited Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University to give its Marketing Society an insight into the firm’s marketing and social media strategy. It’s a strategy which has produced a succession of memorable PR stunts, not to mention interesting bottle designs, beer names and event ideas – all in the name of spreading the BrewDog message.
The young team gave the audience an overview of the company’s three pillars, the three things it works for and believes in – Beer, Quality and People. It also articulated the five principles of the company charter:
We bleed craft beer. This is our True North.
We are uncompromising. If we don’t love it, we don’t do it. Ever.
We blow shit up. We are ambitious. We are relentless. We take risks.
We are geeks. Learn obsessively. Share evangelically.
Without us, we are nothing. We are BrewDog.
Bold, powerful statements. It’s clear that the internal building blocks and culture of BrewDog are the most important factors in its broader marketing agenda. Its team must fully buy into craft beer, learn to love and live it, and be part of the open community culture of the business.
From this foundation, the creativity flows. The business obviously has commercial goals; how else would it carry on making beer and paying its staff? But what seems equally important to the team is spreading the message of craft beer, and some intriguing marketing ploys have shown just that.
DIY Dog saw BrewDog release the recipes for all of its beers to the public so people could make them at home. Giving away the ‘family’ secrets may not seem to make the most business sense, but it does show the openness the firm wants to achieve with those who aren’t Equity Punks.
Grapefruit Pay, a play on Apple Pay, was designed to launch the firm’s Elvis Juice – a grapefruit-infused IPA. Customers could go to a BrewDog bar and hand over a grapefruit as payment for a pint of Elvis Juice. Such a simple yet clever idea, which gets people talking about a new craft beer. And with all the extra grapefruits to hand – they’ll just have to make more.
Effective campaigns, in keeping with the essence of the business, are the ingredients for success.
The company is a shining example of how establishing a strong brand, which fits with the philosophy of the business, its market and employees, can propel your business front and centre.
However, as BrewDog adds to its 44 bars and builds its US brewery, it will be interesting to see where its marketing strategy goes from here.
As BrewDog gets bigger and bigger, so does the responsibility to get these decisions right.
How will the business avoid being perceived as being more ‘mainstream’, the very thing it’s railing against? How will it stick to core principles amid the pressures that come with sustained growth?
In the meantime, the shared understanding across the business of what BrewDog is all about provides the foundations as it pursues further success and takes on America.