During political contests, candidates are often evaluated according to their character, experience, policy and leadership. Personality can also be a factor – are they likeable or not? Do they solve a current problem facing voters? Are they fit to represent the ideas and values of their constituents on a bigger stage? In essence, do you know what they stand for?
There’s a parallel between the stories that candidates tell prospective voters and those that craft beverage brands tell new customers. After a while all the messages blur together in a sea of “sameness,” making it difficult to choose. Not convinced? Take a look at your social channels and ask what’s scroll-stopping about staged craft beverage photos? Customers want to see what separates you from the pack.
As a candidate for your customer’s business, is it easy to understand what your brand stands for? In this article we shine a light on aspects of your brand story that will help your craft beverage brand win a new customer’s vote:
- Protecting the environment
- Giving back to the community
- Positioning yourself politically
- Guide to Marketing During COVID-19
|How does taking a stand make your craft beverage brand more discoverable?|
Call it your mission statement, business objective or “reason for being,” drinkers are drawn to brands that align with their core values when the field of candidates is crowded. With tens of thousands of craft beverage choices in the United States, craft beverage customers are looking for how your business is DIFFERENT, not the same as your competitors. This goes well beyond beverage to include the tasting room and other aspects of the experience you offer guests with hopes to connect with them emotionally. Sure, having medal winners helps, but it’s high-performance storytelling that will put you ahead in the polls this season.
protecting the environment
Many craft beverage producers have embraced more sustainable, earth-friendly business practices in areas of carbon dioxide emissions, water treatment, solar and alternative energy usage and others. The goal is to create the smallest footprint possible with the least impact to the environment. Globally-recognized partners have emerged to help guide the certification process, including:
- 1% for the Planet: cofounded by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, businesses are encouraged to give the equivalent of 1% of their gross sales to environmental projects.
- B-Corp: balancing purpose and profit, members are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.
- Carbon Neutral Certification and The Carbon Trust Standard: accelerating the move to a low-carbon economy by providing specialist support, advice, and certifications.
- Certified Carbon Neutral: advisors help companies bring their carbon footprint to net zero through in-house measures and carbon offsetting measures.
- LEED: currently the most widely used green building rating system in the world, available for virtually all buildings.
- TRUE: recognizes those businesses that are working toward achieving zero waste, cutting their carbon footprint and supporting public health.
- SITES: certified landscapes consume less water, filter and reduce stormwater runoff, provide wildlife habitat, reduce energy consumption and improve air quality.
- GBB: small-to-mid-sized businesses customize a plan by choosing to prioritize different green initiatives which, once completed, can be promoted throughout the industry.
Is sustainability part of the story for your craft beverage brand? If so, we applaud your efforts! We believe these are best practices every industry should at least consider moving forward. National craft beverage brands have the scale to tell differentiated, first-mover stories, including: first carbon neutral or negative facility, utility independence, largest private solar array, recyclable packaging, etc. To stand out in this area, engage new drinkers with visuals, owner interviews and quotes from community leaders that highlight your environmental stewardship at the local level.
giving back to the community
For craft beverage producers in your immediate area and beyond, there are hundreds of ways to provide support to the local community, from donations to volunteering to events. What local cause means the most to your team? If you’re still undecided, Inc. Magazine published a guide titled, “8 Tips for Finding the Right Cause to Support,” to help with the selection process:
- Seek out a personal connection.
- Do your research. Then engage your team.
- Go local.
- Look at the ROI.
- [Align with your] mission statement.
- Find your passion.
- Start your own charitable cause.
- Ask your team for recommendations.
A thoughtful, inclusive hiring practice is also a way to give back. Creating jobs and filling those spots with qualified candidates, representative of the local community at-large, builds stronger ties between your craft beverage brand and other businesses.
While it shouldn’t be the sole reason for supporting a cause, a craft beverage business stands to gain the most from promoting work in this area. In a noisy, crowded market, new customers tend to trust brands with visible, authentic efforts to give back to the community. This is especially true during COVID-19, which has presented additional opportunities to support frontline workers, essential businesses and emergency services. In a study by Deloitte, published in Forbes, it was estimated that 39% of consumers will purchase more in the future from brands that responded well to the crisis. A great example is Heaven’s Door and their #ServeSomebody effort to provide 300k meals to those in need during September and October this year. Be one of the craft beverage brands that builds momentum during the pandemic, poised to stand out from your competitors when it’s over.
positioning yourself politically
Traditionally, talking about politics has been a hard no for craft beverage brands: owners wouldn’t want to turn away potential customers. The media makes it nearly impossible today to separate the two, so if your political views are fundamental to how you run your business, think strategically about how to share with drinkers. Politics require you to take a position on a topic, either in support of a campaign or something more fundamental to your business. A client recently asked for a complimentary review of their digital marketing efforts, during which the team at Market Your Craft found a single post in response to the widespread civil unrest over the summer. In a vacuum, their blackout effort seemed hollow, almost calculated when not backed by a stronger mission at its core. In this way, they were using their post as a campaign and not a foundational statement against systemic racism in our opinion.
Campaigns have a start and end date whereas statements are woven into the fabric of your craft beverage brand. Community campaigns allow you to participate in movements bigger than you, like the efforts around “craft” and “independent” alcohol producers in recent years. Statements guide your efforts, year-in and year-out, forming the basis of the product-service relationship you have with your customer. For good or bad, political statements have the potential of earning you a single “label,” or how you come to be introduced to new customers. If you choose to stand for something political, whether a short-term campaign or long-term statement, understand the polarizing effects of your messaging and implications on new customer discovery.
guide to marketing during COVID-19
COVID-19 affects everyone, regardless of party alignment or policy position. In a battle where all competitors face the same opponent, it’s even more important for craft beverage brands to tell a clear and compelling story to attract new customers in your area. To help jump-start your efforts, we’ve designed a guide with proven marketing tools to empower your team during COVID-19:
- Message COVID-19 effectively
- Design a procedures landing page
- Notify everyone of your hours
- Support frontline workers
- Reach new audiences
- Develop content and events
- Engage customers with video
- And more!
Schedule a complimentary Zoom call to review your digital efforts and receive “A Glass Half-Full: Marketing During COVID-19” (a $99 value). Sharpen your focus on customer needs and keep fans engaged during the pandemic.