Craft Beer Marketing Series - What Makes Storytelling Better than Everything Else in Beer
DISCLOSURE - Every feature, post, and piece of content I put on The Brew Enthusiast is put there because I truly love great beer and I want to say great things about the story behind the craft beer industry and that brewery in particular. I do not advertise or receive any money as a result of these posts. Sponsored content, if and when I choose to do that, will be disclosed as such.
This is post if also a slight carbon copy of my other post on stories found here.
Being the "best" is always a stiff claim. Tiger Woods is the best golfer ever. Heady Topper is the best beer in the cosmos. You can only be the best if the empirical evidence, objective in its approach and analysis, says so. Like many things, beer is a broad and involving subject, full of history, bold people, and nuanced ideas. Being the "best" at something in this sort of category is subjective...at best.
I'm now realizing that I started this post by immediately minimizing my idea, even though you haven't heard it yet. Let's start over.
I'm a digital strategist and writer by trade. I work with small and large businesses to help fundamentally tell their story, understand their audience, and be heard in a relevant and timely way. If this means blogging, it means blogging. If this means advertising copy, than yeah...I'll write the hell out of some advertising copy. These activities, coupled with more traditional digital marketing best practices, should help a brand identify and connect with its consumers.
Why does this work? The data says that consumers are more demanding than ever, craving a "connection" with their local businesses. They're willing to shell out to "feel good" about their purchase. They'll pay noticeably more for locally sourced and ethically raised food. They'll buy the local beer, even when the local beer isn't actually that good (this actually happens more than you think).
In short, they'll sacrifice quite a bit to make sure that their purchases, and the brands they do business/affiliate themselves with, vibe with their perspective on life. I'm 100% guilty of this, and it's not a bad thing. If I see a business, whether I'm conscious of it or not, doing something that aligns with my vision of how it should be done, I'm hooked. Are my businesses looking through the same lens that I am? Are they existing in the world as I see it?
This is what a story does. A story contextualizes the moment. It adds relevance, reality, and humanity to what would otherwise be a bunch of words. Ad copy doesn't do that. Ad copy communicates perceived value in the fewest possible words. Remember that time you went out to eat with your friends and ate dinner and carried on until the wee hours of the morning? This is the epitome of the human experience. It's unforgettable. We can capture that feeling in a well-written narrative. A good movie doesn't start with a little blurb explaining the plot right? A good movie let's the plot evolve through its characters and storyline. I don't want to be told something about my beer...I want to figure it out myself.
So we have more competition than ever before in the trade. There's a lot of great beer floating around. We only have one marketing outlet left. We differentiate ourselves through our narrative. We find an audience through our background, our process, and our place in the community.
We can now circle back to the "best" topic. Why is storytelling the best? Because I feel better about my beer, and its journey to my hand, when I know more about its people and its history. I feel better about paying X amount for a pint of it because I know it's coming from a good place that makes sense to me. The more I know, the better I can judge, which leads to the best sort of personal returns for me as a consumer and for the business selling me a product.
That's what's up. It's convoluted, vague, and mildly myopic in its execution. But done well, a story builds momentum like nothing you've seen before.