Libby McCaughey
about 1 year ago by Libby McCaughey

The importance of Marketing and Brand post-pandemic: BrewDog's unconventional strategies

BrewDog Barnard Castle Eye Test Domenic Cumming's

The effects of COVID-19 are still being felt the world over. In uncertain times, brands are left wondering what they should do next – do they carry on as normal at the risk of appearing to be profiteering, switch tactics entirely or cut budgets to reduce cashflow?

As the pandemic broke, by the third quarter of 2020 over 52% of UK companies recorded a decrease in marketing budgets compared to 11.6% the previous quarter. Keeping a marketing budget right now is more important than ever in order to plan for long-term prosperity and performance of your business.

Out of sight = out of mind. By keeping in touch with current customers, and by getting your brand in front of target customers during this time, you can make sure that you’re right there when they need you most. 

The easiest way to get it right is by doing what is right. Consumers expect more from brands than they used to. They now expect them to act in a way that matches their own views (or challenges them in an educated way), as well as to serve a greater purpose than simply making money.

That doesn’t change in the midst of a crisis, if fact consumers have been quick to make an example of companies seen to be acting for profit alone, failing to protect their staff or prioritise key workers.

Consumers believe that brands and companies have a responsibility to do the right thing, whether that means keeping staff safe, pivoting the brand to do good where it’s needed, or keeping us happy in volatile times. 

Some brands responded to the COVID-19 pandemic well. Others have slipped up along the way. Attest, asked 1,000 nationally-representative UK residents for their feelings on various brands, one of them being BrewDog. 

BrewDog had a pivoting response to COVID-19. After coronavirus lockdown meant they lost 70% of revenue overnight, resulting in a net loss of over £8m they have since gone on to grow revenue by 15%. But HOW?

The brewery put their energy and spend in to making a positive impact and started producing hand sanitiser to ease the national shortage and has been donating to the NHS and local charities ever since. 

17.8% of consumers said they now feel more positively towards BrewDog than before the pandemic, which is even more impressive when you consider that 28.4% of respondents hadn’t heard of the brand before.

When other businesses “zigged” they “zagged”. The craft beer giant has taken advantage of every opportunity in the most unconventional way. Quick off the mark, Brewdog founder, James Watt, asked his 67,000 Twitter followers to vote for the best name for a new, limited edition beer: ‘Cummings & Goings’; ‘260 Miles’; ‘Stay at Homes’; were all funny and ironic choices but the winner was ‘Barnard Castle Eye Test’. It is now available to buy online.

“All profits will go to funding our production of free sanitiser for the NHS & Health Care Charities,”

Their branding genius didn’t stop there. After Aldi's own-brand beer became the talk of social media for bearing more than a passing resemblance to the brewer's Punk IPA range, BrewDog struck back by introducing a new line dubbed 'ALD IPA'. (BREAKING NEWS: Aldi have now faked "Elvis Juice"... What should BrewDog call it?)

While they could have dealt with it using legal letters, BrewDog knew the capabilities of Twitter and the story quickly went viral. Watts made Aldi an offer they couldn’t refuse.

BrewDog is now a carbon negative organisation; caring for social issues has become critical for corporations in recent years. Consumers want to see a business with a heart, which is able to start communications with various environmental organisations, charities and social interest groups, which will in turn will help increase the business’ network and brand’s reach.

So, Aldi couldn’t exactly say no, or they’d risk being seen not to care for environmental issues. But they went a step further, ensuring excellent publicity by matching BrewDog’s offer to also plant a tree for every case sold.

There is a lot more to say about BrewDog but we hope this is enough to show the you the importance and worth of marketing and brand awareness, now more than ever.