If there’s one thing I’ve noticed from 10 years of making beer, it’s that many homebrewers have a love for differentiation and innovation. These values come in handy during my daily work at A-LINE with our client family.
Lessons learned from homebrewers on branding, naming and storytelling can reinforce your organization’s own marketing efforts and ignite new ideas for you and your team.
Early on, my husband (and brewing partner) Brian and I felt compelled to name our brewing operation and each of our beers. We even threw parties to celebrate and share our beer with friends. Around that time, Brian had also started the blog, Untamed Beer, so the name and its credo, “beer in its natural state, not tamed, domesticated or cultivated,” flowed into our beer concepts and reputation within the homebrewing community.
Whether it’s being an egotist or a visionary, identifying and communicating a definite point of view is memorable, sellable and scalable.
For your company, is its name itself memorable? Is it well-branded with a unique, professionally-designed logo? Does it garner respect, and better yet, love? Are you telling a story worth sharing—one that spreads from one happy client or colleague to the next?
At the first homebrew club meeting I attended about 8 years ago, we learned we weren’t alone in this branding thing. There were home breweries like “Bottle Tree” and “Fightin’ Monkey.” Members were known by the monikers of “Brewboy” and “Stardust.” Personas were so strong and compelling that often years would go by without knowing people’s real names.
Often, homebrewers’ beers have names, packaging, and stories behind then. Our friends’ “Überbeer” has an elegantly designed label and is dipped in wax. [The story of Überbeer is best enjoyed privately over an Überbeer, not digitally.] Our own accidentally-overly-lactosed milk stout was affectionately dubbed, “Troll’s Blood.” These names and their stories, though, become a vital part of a brand’s identity and its connection to its fans.
In all seriousness, here are a few questions inspired by homebrewers to ask yourself and your own organization moving forward:
- Brand & Story: How well does your brand—as tangibly as possible—share a story that resonates with your target audience? These are the brands worth sharing and staying loyal to.
- Voice: Have you identified your point of view, and are you communicating this voice consistently throughout your marketing efforts? A specific point of view is memorable, sellable and scalable – maybe not to everyone, but carve out your niche and you have fans for life.
- Name: Is your company name/product name forgettable or unforgettable? Are they difficult to pronounce? Are they too safe? A bland or confusing name won’t spark curiosity and lead to a conversation. It can also lessen a sustainable, long-term connection with people.
- Logo: Have you established a memorable, visually appealing logo that differentiates you from others in your industry? Or, could another company simply plunk their name next to the icon and run with it? (I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing this anyway!)
- Experience: How are you offering a well-rounded sensory experience for customers? For homebrewers, we can typically cover four of the five traditional senses: sight, smell, taste and touch. Are there ways to cover all five – and reframe or share your company in this way?
- People: Does your team and brand reflect and build on each other? You may be selling a specific product or service, however, at the heart of it, we’re in the business of emotion. Ultimately, brands don’t move people. People move people. How are your people harnessing creative energy to truly connect?
If this article has sparked thoughts and questions, and you’d like to do some brainstorming, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at A-LINE – either at our office, or over a beer.
Untamed Beer Blog Link: