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Inauguration day and beverage storytelling

  • 6 min read

Inauguration Day illustration for inauguration day postDid you make the connection between craft beverage and the inauguration message yesterday? Wait, what? How does the swearing in of our 46th President relate to my business? This is not about politics – it’s about the perfect storytelling framework Joe Biden (and his speech writers) followed, and what we can all learn from it. We’ll walk you through an effective storytelling model with specific examples relating to your craft beverage business:

Market Your Craft barrel logo for mobile discoverability emailHow does storytelling make my craft beverage more discoverable?

Early last year – pre-COVID, heightened racial injustice, political extremism and other crises – we asked the question, “How remarkable is your brand story?” In that article we talked about crafting a storyline which serves as the “true north” for all of your marketing efforts, helping [new] customers decide whether you’re worth their time, effort and money. There is no more public stage for delivering a brand message (and yes, Biden and Harris are a brand) than inauguration day. Our team referenced the template introduced by Donald Miller in his book, “Building a Story Brand,” to discuss the parallels with storytelling work for clients below.

identify a character with a problem

Woman browsing beer selection for inauguration day postImagine the increased traffic, engagement and sales resulting from just 5% more drinkers discovering your craft beverage. Sounds pretty good, right? What if that number jumped to 10%? Fact is, many craft beverage brands will never stand out from the competition because they simply haven’t given new customers a reason to care. All the social posts in the world won’t make a difference if the customer can’t immediately identify with your brand. If it’s too complicated or confusing, they’ll simply walk away. Which is why you have to design a story that’s relatable to your audience.

As the world watched a peaceful transition of power from the previous administration, President Biden set the stage for giving everyone in America a reason to care, identifying “anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness” as the looming problems. Who is the character in your craft beverage story and what problem(s) do you uniquely solve? Your brand won’t be right for everyone, just like there will be a significant portion of the population that disagrees with the Biden/Harris White House. However, like you, they must be transparent about who they are talking to and what problem(s) they are addressing, then let the audience decide:

Biden’s storyCharacter
  • Every American
  • Democracy is fragile
A craft beverage storyCharacter
  • Young adults in your town
  • Non-beverage drinkers
  • Athletes and health-conscious
  • Gluten-free or -reduced
  • Confusing choices
  • Not enough variety
  • Overpriced
  • Beverage quality
  • Availability

Now you’re getting the hang of it! The point is to not try to be all things to all people – usually that ends in confusion. It’s often best to start by identifying a small audience that agrees with how you look at craft beverage and building from there. Be as specific as possible with your description.

be a guide with a plan

Man offering wine for inauguration day postOnce your audience identifies with the character of the story and the problem(s) they face, you’ve succeeded in grabbing their attention. They’ll at least hear what you have to say, with the prerogative to “opt-out” at any time. Biden references the Constitution, former Presidents, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and “better angels” to help guide us on the road ahead. He offers a plan to help bring America together, uniting people and the nation while reestablishing our relationship with the rest of the world.

Those who study speeches like the one given during yesterday’s inauguration are quick to point out timeless similarities: promises of unity, not division, and truly being a President “for all Americans.” The guide in a craft beverage story is often the owner, the team or the brand overall and the plan addresses a singular customer concern:

Biden’s storyGuide
  • Bigger than just one person
  • Unity
A craft beverage storyGuide
  • Owner
  • Team
  • Your craft beverage brand
  • Simplify the decision
  • Expose variety
  • Provide unequaled value
  • Double-down on quality
  • Make craft accessible

Craft beverage drinkers won’t just take your word for it – you’ll have to prove that you’re up to the task. But you’ve established an emotional connection and earned the opportunity to try to answer their need(s). It’s now up to you to prompt them to take action!

spark action and [positive] results

Friends cheersing at a bar for inauguration day postYour craft beverage customers aren’t going to act unless you ask them. Otherwise, there’s no sense of urgency and you’ll be quickly forgotten. Continue to build story momentum by showing them what success looks like once they take action.

“Stop the shouting and lower the temperature.” Biden closes by asking everyone to join the cause. There’s talk of repair, restoration, healing, building and gains. Americans must choose between truth and lies [for power and profit]. And then there’s the long list of priority agendas, including the pandemic, jobs, education, health care and racial justice. He paints a picture of a brighter future ahead of America:

Biden’s storyAction
  • Act together
  • “Open our souls”
  • Stronger
  • More prosperous
  • Ready for future
  • “Leading force for good”
A craft beverage storyAction
  • Act boldly
  • Never compromise
  • Seek value
  • Demand quality
  • Confidence
  • Satisfaction
  • Reclaim control
  • Freedom of choice

The guide’s role is not only to help the story’s character achieve success, but avoid failure. President Biden stressed the crises facing America today – not to place blame, but to highlight the outcome if his administration’s plan isn’t successful. The last thing you want is scare or threaten a craft beverage drinker, so make sure to keep the storyline as positive as possible.

What does it look like in practice? From social media profiles to the homepage of your website, we like to see your story told early and often. For example: 

We believe ordering a craft beverage should be [re]filling, not draining, leaving you with time and energy to spend on what matters most.

Much like the storytelling tactics used by President Biden in yesterday’s inaugural speech, these stories are meant to quickly tease interest, capture attention and prompt action. They can be clever and slightly aspirational, but they should clearly state what product/service you provide customers and/or what problem you solve. Get those pieces right and you open the door for them to learn more about your craft beverage.

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