Thursday, March 12, 2009

The brand, pt. 2

Today's post is really a place holder. Draft Magazine just posted an article about Penn Brewery's label update. Since I spent my formative beer drinking years at nearby Bethany College (a good decade or so, really, before craft brewing existed), the article merited a post. Iron City was the brew of choice for me and its brand has remained strong in the Steel City, and not because of label art. But, I digress.

Draft equates the appreciation of label art with album art, a sort of misnomer in the age of iTunes and the vanishing CD market. Regardless, the few nuggets from the article and comments from the CEO are worth tucking away.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The brand

Folks who ply their wares in the brand and marketing realms are careful always to point out the "The Brand" is not simply your logo and typeface. It is, depending upon the source, the entire experience of a consumer with your product and company. But, we're trying to sell beer, here. We just want to stand out from the crowd on crowded retail shelves. We want our tap handles to scream, "Try Me!"

I subscribe to the guidance that before a label is designed, marketers and brand managers have to answer the who and why of their consumers, the questions of how their beer is different and what attributes are likely to make that beer stand out.

So, what to do? Can't engage in months of evaluation, consumer testing, alternative versions of a preferred label. Here's a short cut. Return here for Packaging 101.

Brewers Festival Advertising will explore package design from a practical perspective in a series of upcoming postings. As new material is posted, I will announce it via Twitter. To follow, go to @markreber.

But, what does this have to do with beer festivals in general and the Oregon Brewers Festival in particular? Quite a bit. If you are exhibiting at festivals, consumers will know you by your brand and by the visualization of that brand. They will want to see you at the festival in the familiar clothing of the labels and packages they see elsewhere.

Festivals, and in particular the OBF, offer brewers a good opportunity to reinforce existing brand references and to extend the brand as new products are introduced.

Your comments on "brand" as well as the integration of retail packaging schemes with consumer trial marketing are all welcome. As well as any other comments.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mythologies and mythos

Scouring the interwebs for beer marketing so that you don't have to, I came across a campaign for Sea Hag Ale from New England Brewing. They were profiled two years ago in a Fortune magazine article for developing a mythology about their beer. This led to a campaign with interaction among customers and the like. In itself, this is not especially new. The Republic of Tea accomplished this on a grand scale many years ago, developing an entire product line based upon a fictional place.

What I found interesting about the campaign was the confluence of my searching and the dozens of "tweets" popping up each day and the Fan pages on Facebook. In just two years, the opportunity to build a story around a beer, or even an entire mythology, is greatly abetted by technology that enables us to reach thousands in just seconds.

So, how does a brewers festival fit in? We only need to look at the use of King Gambrinus by the OBF as an example, but we are limited only by our imaginations. And, as Aristotle pointed out, mythos, or plot, is the essential element of the play, in his case tragedy. No tragedy in beer stories are necessary.

How does a good yarn or story put your beer in the spotlight?