Brewdog's social strategy

Brewdog's social strategy

Jude Ross – Merchandise Manager, Rebecca Yeoman – Design Coordinator, Nicolle Sinclair – Head of Talent, Zoe Sinclair – Commercial Recruiter presenting to Society members from Robert Gordon University.

What is Brewdog's social media and digital marketing strategy?
We only have one…to shorten the distance between ourselves and our customers…everything comes back to that.

Our strategy in marketing has always been to shorten the distance between the people who make our beers and the people who drink it.
Social media is an excellent tool as it provides a direct window between our audience and our brewery and complemented by email is at the heart of our digital strategy.
We create amazing, aspirational photography to showcase our product.
We often use videos featuring our founders.
We inject humour and education into our content to reflect our brand personality.

How do Brewdog tailor marketing to a local area? How do Brewdog coordinate so many social media platforms and profiles at once? (each bar has its own Twitter, Facebook AND Instagram profiles)
Our Bars know their regular customers better than anyone. So it’s important that their online content reflects their bar and local area.
Our Bars know their regular customers better than anyone. So it’s important that their content reflects their bar and local area.
We provide each bar with a toolkit to create amazing content that is both locally relevant, but also inherently BrewDog in its look and feel.
For broad activations (like #collabfest) they will get tools from the central marketing team and a full brief on how to activate.

What is the creative process at Brewdog? What research and planning techniques do you use?
We have an in-house Creative Team that covers all aspects of design (copy, art, graphics, product, photography and videography).
We invite ideas and contributions from across our company from our Directors to our Marketing Team to wider HQ Teams to our Bars to our Equity Punk Community and through to social audiences.
As the company gets bigger there are annual brand plans that are prepared for upcoming launches and initiatives but we always like to leave flexibility in our plans to be able to capitalise on topical and relevant opportunities.
Our research is done the only way we know how; by spending time with people who drink our beer.

What is the decision making and planning process for Brewdog’s PR ‘stunts’?
Some of the stunts are just concepts that have captured our imagination and we love those, others however are a direct response to a brief to drive awareness of a message or create a buzz around an initiative.
The key for this is to have a great flexible PR agency partner who reacts quickly and is creative enough to deliver irreverent and clever angles to our business problems.

We will always put ideas through two tests:

Could anyone else do it?
Does it make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are?

Kingpin Case Study

Brewdog is such a fast growing brand.  What are the challenges and issues that come with this speed of growth?
Our people is what makes us great, love your people and they will drive your business forward as if it was their own (building staff café, gym, beer allowance etc). Some of the challenges that we face as we grow are that we have to deal with partners so we have to plan ahead more. As we launch into new markets, we also have the complexity of languages, local custom, trademarks, time zones and distance to manage so we are building our team to be more global and have new skills that this new world requires as we take our love of craft beer to more places.

Dog Life Version 3

What new platforms or ideas are seen to be the future of brand engagement?
New platforms materialise all the time so we focus on what is relevant to beer lovers.
We put great importance on our EFP forum so we will continue to develop and expand on this and take on new channels like WeChat in China as we expand our presence in new markets.
If we launch on a new channel, it’s because it makes sense for us as a business (i.e. can get our message to a new audience). We don’t launch channels for the sake of it.
Internally as we are a young company we work on multiple communication platforms (email, Slack, Wryke, One Drive, Dropbox)

What does crowd funding (Equity for Punks) mean to Brewdog?
This is the heart and soul of our business. Without the 50,000 Equity Punks worldwide we would not be anywhere near the position we are in today. Their investment has helped us grow – sure -  but it is their commitment and brand ambassador role that means we can grow with integrity, knowing we have a committed audience behind us every single step of the way. Having a community who ‘owns’ our business means we are accountable to them and remain close to the market at all times.

What is Brewdog’s View on traditional media channels?
In general we have no real interest in traditional media as it doesn’t serve our needs to get close to our audience.
We don’t believe in the archaic way that many of these channels operate and, if we’re honest, the way they have been monopolised by big beer in the unrelenting pursuit of pushing their lazy advertising.
That’s not to say that we would never use media, but you can be sure if we did we would do it in our own unique way.

With global expansion and the growth of the craft beer industry – How has the market changed? With that, would some of the initial stunts from late 2000’s work now?
The craft beer market is changing every single day! The US market is quite developed with the craft beer market being a substantial segment in the overall market (around 11% in volume). The UK and Europe markets are growing exponentially and the interest is getting bigger and bigger. We will generally always look forward to what is new and relevant for our audience…while some of the stunts may still work, some won‘t as times have changed.  We need to come up with increasingly new ways to speak to our customers.

Brewdog are pretty bold with their choice of marketing campaigns. What marketing techniques have you found that have really worked or flopped?
This depends on the time frame.  Things we did in 2009 worked incredibly well at the time but we know wouldn’t be successful today.  Things change. We wouldn’t consider (regardless how controversial) any of campaigns to have flopped as all have provoked thought, generated conversation (good and bad) and drawn attention to our business and ambitions to change the face of the beer industry for the better. Some of our PR Stunts and Videos that worked superbly well when we were a small business wouldn’t work for us now that we are a global business.  We now trade in multiple markets and so need to be thoughtful about all our customers (nationality, language) etc. 

We plan our campaigns more thoroughly now, making sure they are aligned across all channels (Product, Social, Events, Brand Activation etc.) Things that have worked really well are those campaigns that connect with our real beer geek fans and are quirky…e.g. grapefruit pay to launch Elvis Juice or things that involve or give something back to our customers and community e.g Mashtag and DIY Dog.