Brewdog — from hopeful home brewers to beer behemoths in 5 steps
Brewdog’s approach to marketing is as bold and brash as a half-brick hurled through a pub window.
In only 10 years, founders James Watt and Martin Dickie have evolved from moonshine merchants based in a home garage to floating their firm for millions on the stock market.
Brewdog’s a busy brand with lots of strands to its success — but we’ll tease out a few to find their secret formula.
1. Outrageous stunts
Doing things differently is a sure-fire way to differentiate your brand.
And Brewdog instinctively knows how to get noticed — from driving a branded tank down Camden High Street to unleashing the world’s strongest beer on an unsuspecting public — the mind-melting End of History, which clocks in at a staggering 55%.
A savvy understanding of social media combined with a catalogue of stunning stunts has made for a lucrative marketing formula.
2. Uncompromising culture
Brewdog’s uncompromising when it comes to its punky anti-heritage culture.
Whether a company that’s now a successful corporate entity can genuinely claim ‘punk’ credentials is debatable — but its ‘in your face’ attitude has remained consistent nonetheless.
When you set your stall as an outlaw outfit you’ve got to stick to your guns or go down in flames — there’s no middle ground.
3. Consistent branding
Brewdog’s brand design stamps itself on your consciousness — from the howling dog logo to the gritty sans serif font that helps its creative copy pop.
Waxing lyrical on a colourful beer bottle label doesn’t make the stuff inside taste any better — but it adds to the full-spectrum experience of Brewdog branding.
Memorable beer names help too — ordering a Punk IPA or Dead Pony Club evokes a unique experience that spans spit and sawdust musical heritage and wild west thrills.
This helps create a consistent customer experience whether you walk into any of their worldwide bars or look at their website.
4. Crusading customer experience
James Watt believes that the way to convert customers into loyal fans is by making your business a crusade.
Other brands offer craft beer, but people buy into the passion and self-belief Brewdog embodies.
Their values aren’t for everyone, but they’re clear and consistent. And they’re willing to sacrifice the wary for a tight tribe of cult followers.
The company has crowdfunded millions through its ‘Equity Punk’ investors too, so its evangelical ethos has inspired an army of believers.
5. Breaking boundaries
Brewdog are so confident of their winning formula that they’ve open-sourced their entire collection of recipes. So in theory you could make carbon copies of their beers —provided you had the requisite ingredients, skills and equipment.
Cultural commentator Paul Mason believes this act positions the brand at the vanguard of postcapitalism — a claim that probably infuriates critics as much as it enthuses acolytes.
But love it or loathe it, you can’t argue with Brewdog’s success — the company founded by two lads from Ellon, Aberdeenshire, is now a billion-pound business.
What marketing lessons can we learn from Brewdog?
- Controlled controversy can pay off
- Consistent branding is crucial
- Crusading businesses can attract loyal fans
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