March 17th, 2010 by Max Silver
Happy St. Patty’s Day! Have a Narragansett beer and watch how social media is transforming a brewery.
When traditional advertising just won’t cut it, and competing with brands like Bud Light and Miller Light appears impossible ’ but sales are up 90% since last year ’ why not ride the social media wave?
After taking a hiatus for almost 25 years, Narragansett Brewery is back and appears to have taken a few pages out of Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing book. The brewery’s new site is a content creating machine ’ Check it out. You might be surprised by the look. Rather than dump money into a lot of inert advertising, they’re focused on building loyal consumers through social media and events. In 2009 alone, "Gansett executed close to 1,200 such events."
Their longtime slogan is perfect for social media: "Hi Neighbor, Have a ’Gansett!"
One thing they are doing to really distinguish their online strategy is their "Support The Cause" part of their website. The campaign hopes to to sell 7.5 million cases a year, and if it succeeds, they will build a brand new brewery and create hundreds of jobs for New England residents.
To really include their fans in building their brand, they are asking everyone for three action items: 1) sign a petition (by sharing comments on their blog and Facebook Page), 2) buy a case, and 3) tell them if there are any stores or bars that don’t sell ’Gansett. So far they have over 800 comments on the petition alone ...and that number is continuing to grow.
Here’s my pledge, which automatically migrates from Facebook to the ’Gansett site:
Another very social aspect of their campaign are the "pledge videos" posted to the blog, where, during ’Gansett events, people are asked to pledge to drink however many cases they wish of Narragansett beer over the next year. These videos are posted on the Narragansett website, and done in a very fun and informal way. Holding an open call for user (drinker) videos is an excellent way to get people to engage online after being entertained, because it gives them a chance to get themselves and their friends on the ’Gansett site.
Here’s why this is such a fantastic use of social media:
It creates a strong online to offline engagement and consistently encourages sharing.
Many brands will chat you up on Facebook and Twitter, but they don’t ask you to find something in your life (like a store or a bar), and give you a reason to connect your offline life to your online life with their brand.
They also have an active Twitter account (@GansettBeer), where they often post links, re-tweet pictures, and let their 1,600 followers know where their next event is going down. On Facebook, they have done a better job than on Twitter so far, with around 8,500 fans. In general, they use Facebook in the same way they use Twitter, posting about the goings on of their brand, but always in a casual, fun way. One very nice integration they have added is functionality that lets you shop for their gear on the Facebook page. Talk about ease of use, how nice is it that people don’t have to leave Facebook to buy?
So if you like Narragansett Beer, and want to "Support The Cause" to help them continue to expand, then make sure you pledge your share of cases for this upcoming year. Heck, you might even want to put yourself down for a sixer tonight!