A bar that sells Hoegaarden (pronounced Hoo- Garden) is a bar I can appreciate. As a kid in college when I met someone new I went straight to their record collection to gauge their taste in music. Any Airplane? Rashaan Roland Kirk? Doc Watson?
When Brooklyn Brewery introduces a beer outside the states it carefully selects the bars it introduces in. The bars have to fit the Brooklyn mold. The barkeeps must be conversant in beer, the owner has to understand the Brooklyn taste profile. Brooklyn, when introduced to a new customer, requires a narrative. And the bar itself, must bespeak of the Brooklyn Brewery vibe. These select bars, in effect, become spokespeople of the brand. The channel helps define the new product experience. Outside the US, Brooklyn is a premium beer. Beyond the hipster-ish name, the brand does not convey a lot. So a selling hand is required.
This is how Brooklyn gets a foot hold in a new market.
This is how good marketers need to look at their launches. While I’m doing brand research for clients, I look beyond the corporate boilerplate. Beyond the quarterly financial reports. I dig past the trade journalists and category consultants – I look to the channel. And I sniff around for passionate users who I feel understand the language of the product. The language of the consumer. (Depending on the category, these special consumers are often Posters – content creators who spend time on the web.) Annie Prouxl, before she wrote The Shipping News spent a good deal of time in Newfoundland breakfast joints listening to the locals. That book didn’t come out of a travel guide or Wikipedia, it came from listening. Peace.