The reality of relationships BY MARK HELLENDRUNG
We have all heard that it is not what you know, it is who you know. Similarly, one is only as successful as the strength of one’s relationships. I believe both of these adages to be true, maybe even more so since bringing back Narragansett Beer, for the beer business is extremely relationship-driven.
For a beer that has been around since 1890, the wide range of consumer relationships between New Englanders and Narragansett Beer is incredible. Many have nostalgic memories of Curt Gowdy, Gansett and Red Sox baseball. Others remember Narragansett being bought out, with the new owners eventually closing the brewery in the 1980s. Our challenge is to channel all of this history, both old and recent, into a cohesive tale of our endeavor to rebuild our brewery here in New England.
Social marketing strategies and techniques are top priorities for businesses today. Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Constant Contact, YouTube and the like are all great tools to help understand your customers, tell your brand story and build relationships and communities. But these tools need to be managed properly - neglect a fan’s query or comment for a couple days and you run the risk of appearing dispassionate; contact constantly and you could oversaturate your customers with too much conversation.
At Narragansett Beer, we have had a lot of fun and some success using these tools to build relationships. But we have also had our growing pains. When we changed our Web site to a blog format, we decided that we would not filter content unless it was clearly inappropriate. While this strategy has created a deeper relationship with most of our fans, there have been a handful who have not appreciated some of the views of posters. With the right amount of focus and attention, these relationship-building tools will help you understand your customers better than ever.
In today’s challenging business environment, consumers are revisiting long-held brand relationships and switching brands more than in recent memory. Businesses are reviewing service relationships and questioning whether they are with the right providers. I believe strong relationships will be one of the critical factors in building businesses over the next decade. Tell us what you think at NarragansettBeer.com.
President of Narragansett Beer
Family: Wife Katie, four daughters - Ava, Eliza, Maeda, Maya
Favorite Author: Cormac McCarthy