Black Isle Brewery down low.

I’m loving the explosion of ‘craft’ beers that are available in bars and shops and one of my favourite brands is definitely Black Isle Brewery. I won’t get sucked into talking too much about what makes a craft beer a craft beer (Check out what BrewDog had to say on that subject here) but I will bore you with what I like about the brand and the product.

 

Black Isle Yellowhammer

 

The Product

The first Black Isle beer I tried was the Blonde which I loved and since then I’ve not been shy of trying out others in the range. I won’t claim to be any kind of beer expert but I know what I like and I really like the beers that Black Isle Brewery make!

I was never really a big fan of beers and lagers previously (as a west country boy I was always much more partial to a cider!) but with the explosion in choice of beers and lagers outside the likes of Carling an Foster’s now available, there really must be something for everyone out there. If you can’t find one you like, you just haven’t tried the right one yet! The Black Isle Brewery Yellowhammer and Blonde are very citrusy, crisp and refreshing. Just what you need when a soft drink simply won’t do.

I’m a big fan of their packaging which uses a similar design across the range but with a simple use of different colours to differentiate their different types of beer. It’s very distinctive on-shelf and I think it gives a nice uniformity and identity.

 

What Black Isle are up to

Black Isle Brewery are the only organic brewery in Scotland and the whole organic thing is very prominent on their packaging and on their website. Playing the organic card can be a risk if it’s just a positioning ploy, but I get the feeling that with Black Isle it’s genuine. A good example of this is their ‘Highland gardens for bees’ initiative where they are putting their money where their mouth is in fighting the good fight.

Black Isle Brewery are trying to save the planet but by the looks of things they are also trying to have a good time whilst doing it. Jocktoberfest (weirdly not in October?) is their weekend of beer, bands and bratwurst and looks awesome. Now in its third year, it looks like just the right mix of teuchters, wannabe hipsters and beer drinkers to make for a cracking weekend. 

On Facebook and Twitter they seem to keep a pretty steady flow of Tweets and Posts including competitions, promotions and engagement with their fans and followers. Googling ‘I hate Black Isle Brewery’ and ‘Black Isle beer is rubbish’ returned a disappointing 0 search results, so they seem to have a good handle on things in Social Media.

 

Black Isle Brewery sum up

I like the beer, I like the packaging, no one seems to hate them that much online, they do some nice events work and they are genuine about being a force for good in the environment. Whats not to love?!

I’ll be interested to watch how this brand does over the next few years as t’s a very competitive market place and it will be fascinating to see who thrives and who falls by the way-side. The sales and distribution side of things aren’t quite so easy to comment on from the comfort of my sofa, but these factors will undoubtedly have a huge impact.

 

 

 

 

Promotions everywhere!

I SEE PROMOTIONS

Ever since I started my IPM Diploma in Promotional Marketing, I haven’t been able to stop seeing promotions EVERYWHERE. When I started, I didn’t even really know what  promotional marketing was! Below are some that literally dropped onto my lap out of a magazine. Plenty of use of the words FREE and WIN!

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PS This is me easing myself back into blogging, it’s been nearly a year. Baby steps…

The power of nostalgia. Or not.

A couple of days ago I received a tweet from a friend linking to the new Internet Explorer ad ‘Child of the 90′s’

 

Definitely a good video which got me tweeting backwards and forwards about having a basin hair cut, remembering POG’s and the fights they used to cause at school and generally reminiscing about all the different things that pop up in the video. Looking at the amount of tweets, articles and blog posts out there about this ad, it seems to have generated a good bit of coverage and discussion, racking up over Five million YouTube views in four days. All of this got me thinking about nostalgia and its power in advertising. According to Don Draper (yes I am using a fictional character to demonstrate a point), using nostalgia in advertising can create or highlight a deep bond between consumer and product.

 

The Robert Heath book ‘The hidden power of advertising’ argues that most advertising was processed at an emotional level rather than a rational level and this is obviously the effect that the Internet Explorer Child of the 90′s video was going for. 

Now I love tripping down memory lane as much as the next person but this video isn’t going to make me ‘Reconnect with the new Internet Explorer’ as the tagline goes, and I don’t think it’s enough to make the wider internet browsing public do so either. I am open to being proved wrong when Internet Explorer announces that it’s the top internet browser, based on the success of this campaign. 

Kia: Cars which speak for themselves, Customers who speak for us.

As anyone who has bought anything on the internet or made a big purchase recently will know, online reviews are incredibly influential in buying decisions. My biggest purchase at Christmas was made purely on the basis of research into reviews and opinions online.

This month Kia have launched a new ad campaign which promotes the brand’s use of customer feedback through review service ReeVoo, using the strapline ‘Cars which speak for themselves, Customers who speak for us’.

On the Kia website for every model of car that they make, you can see what current owners have to say about the cars, major positives and negatives, as well as scoring the cars across different features.

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Using Reevoo Kia can show how they are dealing with customer service issues.

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Potential customers can ask existing Kia owners questions.
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Kia claims that using Reevoo like this makes them the first automotive brand to make itself openly accountable to customers in such a way. The car market is a difficult place to differentiate yourself, so I think that Kia have made a smart move in becoming so involved with the discussions that are  happening about their brand and products. On their website Reevoo talk about social commerce as ‘any user-generated content that influences the buying process’ and believe that these discussions give the opportunity for brands and businesses to engage on an individual basis with existing and potential consumers, listen to feedback and influence purchase decisions. I think it’s great to see a big brand really giving this a go as too often brands give the latest fashion/thing/craze a token effort, so for Kia to make social commerce (as Reevoo call it) such a central part of their marketing and advertising across channels is quite exciting. Whether this converts in to more sales for Kia only time will tell!
Ps Check out some of Kia’s previous adverts. My favourite is the one with the time travelling, break dancing hamsters.

Whisky brands in digital and social – Speyburn

During the day when I’m not fighting crime and helping old ladies cross the road, I have the pleasure of working on marketing and advertising a whisky brand and I recently read an article on single malt whisky brands and how they perform in the digital space. With this being a subject close to my (professional) heart, I wanted to follow up on the article with a look at one of the brands mentioned in the article and explore some of the opportunities that digital and in particular social media have to offer.

The brand that I chose to look at is Speyburn and taking a quick glance at their website, you can buy whisky from the site (they use shopify for their ecommerce) but there’s not really a huge amount going on. The most interesting thing you can do is sign up to ‘Clan Speyburn’ and in return for giving them your jealously guarded personal details you will  receive a welcome pack, pin badge, and a regular newsletter (without being too much of a dick I hope this is more regular than the ‘clan news’ – last updated in August).

Venturing off their website and onto Facebook there is a Speyburn page which has 2,650+ followers but again not a huge amount going on (for the record the Swedish Speyburn page has 2900+ likes and more activity going on). Intermittent bursts of activity are about as good as it gets here.

Further afield on Twitter they don’t have actually an account, but shhhhh… don’t tell them but people are actually talking about Speyburn on Twitter. OK so they aren’t exactly a trending topic but there is enough conversations mentioning them specifically  and  DEFINITELY enough conversations going on about whisky in general to want to try and grab a piece of the action!

Overall they really should try harder with their presence in digital as currently it’s a bit token at best.

 What Speyburn should do:

 (This is based on the twin assumptions that they would like to make more people aware of their brand and ultimately want to sell more whisky!)

  1. They should listen in on the social conversations which mention them, their industry and their competitors.
  2. Analyse the conversations that they have listened to; what are people saying, who is saying it, where are they saying it and what drives people to engage?
  3. Based on this analysis, they should create a plan around providing content that whisky and Speyburn fans will be interested in to try and grow their social presence and to build more awareness of the brand. The content they create should be based on their website to encourage traffic and so that they can work to capture information and drive e-commerce. Looking at what works for other brands they should consider behind the scenes news and pics as well as consider activities like photo driven competitions to try and increase fan and follower involvement. A potential source of existing content is YouTube where there are already videos of people tasting and reviewing their whisky. Other activities they could try are tweet tastings and blogger outreach in an attempt to tap into the existing whisky communities on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
  4. In terms of trying to sell more whisky there are plenty of B2B conversations to tap into; pubs and bars talking about brands, tasting events happening and retailers mentioning the whisky they sell – all of these conversations represent potential customers who can be engaged with on or offline.

Overall I think that Speyburn’s digital/social presence as briefly examined is symptomatic of a wider trend where most companies, brands and organisations feel that they should do more in digital and social in particular but after a short time lose interest. As with anything in marketing their activities should be linked to the overall  strategy for the brand and a plan put in place for how they are going to achieve their objectives, then they need to stick to the plan.

All easier said than done and certainly easy to say from the comfort of my sofa!

 

#teamgrimmy vs #teammoyles hashtag battles!!

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So today was Nick Grimshaw’s first radio 1 breakfast show, taking over from Chris Moyles, in a move by radio 1 to try and attract a younger demographic. In the run up to todays show the marketing and promotion heavily involved the use of the hashtag #teamgrimmy (‘young people love social media right, so we just have to use a hashtag!’) allowing people to show their support for the new show. Using this hashtag they got some of Grimmy’s famous friends to show their support including the likes of Justin Bieber, Alexa Chung, Rita Ora and Harry Styles (not all my cup of tea but some big followings on twitter).

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With Chris Moyles having a large and loyal following the hashtag #teammoyles started for his fans to show that Chris Moyles may be gone but he’s definitely not forgotten and using Topsy to compare the number of tweets both the hashtags were getting it looks like #teammoyles may have come out on top!

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Topsy only measures tweets that includes links and tweets which get retweeted to try and not include tweets by bots, so there will be a lot of tweets by people that didn’t include  links and didn’t get retweets, but this applies to both hashtags so should be pretty representative of how both hashtags did overall.

This is another good example of how when using a hashtag you have to really think ahead to how people are going to interact with it. There are plenty of examples of where hashtags get hijacked and ripped to shreds and recently the Waitrose hashtag #waitrosereasons was taken over by people taking the mick out of the up market retailer and although no real harm was done to Waitrose’ reputation (they actually dealt with it pretty well acknowledging how funny some of the tweets were) it goes to show that marketers really need to be careful when unleashing the power of the hashtag.  I have no doubt that once Grimmy has been going for a while #teammoyles will quieten down and #teamgrimmy will be a good way for fans of the new show to find each other but today the #teammoyles supporters have definitely made their point on twitter.

Oh my god – Burberry are like so amazing in Social Media!

ButtonsSo Burberry are an amazing brand in the social and digital arena blazing a trail where other brands should follow. Hmmm. I’m not so sure whether other brands should follow what they do as best practice.

If you check out some of the press they get you could be forgiven for wondering how Burberry ever got by without social media in the first place, posting good growth last year whilst spending an impressive 60% of their marketing budget on digital. Their figures are impressive as well; 13 million+ likes on Facebook, 1.24 million followers on Twitter and over 16 million views of their videos on Youtube.

When you look at what they actually carry out on these channels though, they go against a lot of the advice on what best practice in social media is, especially in engaging in a two way conversation with your followers and offering value to your community and not just trying to sell your products. From what I can see Burberry don’t engage in conversation with their followers and all they do on Facebook is post pictures of their latest products and ranges. According to the Marketing Week article they don’t link their social activities to sales either. None of these behaviours are going to help your average business or brand on-line and in social.

The main thing Burberry do have going for them is their content. Their community lap up the pictures and videos of their latest shows and products. If people want to learn anything from Burberry it should be that great content can drive engagement within your social community. Growing this community in the first place is another challenge altogether and not every business is a world famous brand over 150 years old with a huge marketing budget to spend on activities that don’t even get linked to sales. Maybe look elsewhere for ideas on growing your community.