Monday, November 7, 2016

Going Rogue...

Rogue Ales… and Spirits… and Soda… and Pubs… and…

I say Rogue and you think…
  • Beer
  • Dead Guy
  • Hazelnut Brown
  • Newport
  • Farm
  • Garage Sale
  • Brewpub
  • On and on and on… maybe even Sarah Palin
What you did not say, just as much if not more than what you did say is why I chose to conduct a case study on Rogue. Not Rogue Ales, Rogue Brewery or Rogue Spirits…Rogue Nation.

Rogue Nation is the cumulative branding power of all that has been, is and will be Rogue. Meeting halls in Washington, Oregon and California in addition to micro-distilleries in Newport and Portland, OR. Rogue products shipped, served and sold across the country and internationally are the result of humble beginnings in Ashland, Or. From the onset in 1987, the value proposition was set and arguably has not changed though almost everything else about Rogue has since then:

Character, innovation, quality or nothing!
Independent craft revolution!

This value proposition began with beer, but it did not stop there. Rogue understands brand positioning and brand extension. Rogue understands the power of community. Creating something that is making people feel special, unique or just more interesting is creating and then crowdsourcing their very own sneezers. They accomplish this by creating content for all platforms that overlaps where it should, stands alone when it should but virtually reaches everyone by being everywhere we are.

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So Rogue Nation has it going on in the branding sense, but let us now consider their social media content. As you can see from the screenshot above, you can find Rogue on any of your favorite platforms. I stick with facebook, instagram and untappd, but we can check out the others just for good measure.

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Facebook right now! The three most recent posts were all put up in the last 24 hrs indicating that they are active and the content current. All three posts are different, appealing to varying aspects of their audience from an external link promoting philanthropic works, an internal link promoting seasonal beer availability and a video of Master Brewer John Maier talking about brewing his original Old Crustacean.

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Instagram right now! Bright beautiful pictures that also speak to varying interests ranging from funny to informational. They are intentional in using Rogue specific hashtags, always including their logo and they call to action spans from an interactive contest such as #mydeadguy halloween photo contest to as simple as check out this beer or learn about our farm. Unfortunately, #Roguenation is also associated with vape pens, Rogue clothing and Rogue fitness brands but that does not stop it from being quite popular among Rogue Ales & Spirits instagram users. Rogue encourages followers to use #Rogueales or #Roguespirits in addition to the common use among beer drinkers to #beertitle such as #brutalipa(1,534 posts) or #hazelnutbrownnectar (2,095 posts).

Untappd right now! I love untappd. When I am on the go, I use it more than instagram or twitter. Rogue Brewery has been ‘Liked’ by 110,013 people, they maintain a beer list of 341 beers having pulled in a total 1.92 million check ins averaging 27,237 monthly. What I love about untappd is that, for a brewery or pub you should monitor ratings, photos, comments and any fishy beers added to your brewery but for the most part this is crowd sourced support at its best and it can feed directly into twitter, instagram and facebook if your followers so choose. On untappd, just like on  their website you can do a venue search to find where Rogue beers or a specific beer might be near you, you can check into a venue through a foursquare supported platform, maintain a wishlist and more. I like to describe untappd as a Beerscout app, like a beer loving girl scout I diligently collect badges to compare and contrast my beering to my brother and friends. Finally, as for connection to a company I always love it when the brewery for a beer I’m drinking ‘Cheers’ my check-in.
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So here are my final thoughts, I do not particularly love Rogue Ales. When I drink a Rogue beer I almost never think - Woah, that just blew my mind! I don’t think they make remarkable beer, but I do think they are making purple cows. Or purple gorillas and we all know about it and we all want to try it, because if you're a part of the Rogue Nation it's hard to miss out.

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Off Centered Ales and Off Centered Marketing?

I took to Twitter to find a case of listening done right. My partner and I have a joint Twitter account for our personal venture we call @BirdingnBeering. In @BirdingnBeering we bring ourselves, @SippinSiren and @QueerBirdNerd together. We follow anything we deem related to our two largest interests: Bird watching and drinking beer. As a sampling of who makes the list on this account we include breweries and pubs along with informational sites and land management agencies and conservation groups.  Such a compilation of accounts seemed the perfect place to turn for this assignment.

At first, I found myself to be quite wrong. @Greenpeace and similar ‘do-gooders’ were practically screaming their call to action. A handful of young breweries were plagued by a case of #too #many #ridiculous ##’s. I was #definitely #headshaking as a starting to speed up my scan of the feed until I saw this…

For anyone who has been west coast bound their entire existence and may not know about the pure glory of Dogfish Head Brewing, let me tell you. Dogfish Head is not only the first microbrewery I had ever visited, toured and fallen in love with. DFH, having begun their operation in 1995, is the first real microbrewing operation on the Mid-Atlantic coast to seem worth their salt. They have been on Twitter since 2008, 2 years after twitter’s inception and in that time they have 282,000 followers. This number seemed low to me to I checked out a few other popular Mid-Atl breweries.
Flying Dog, 9/2007
Heavy Seas, 5/2009
Evolution, 1/2009
Burley Oak, 6/2010

Seems DFH is building relationships just fine. Below I am showcasing an example that I was particularly drawn to. Admittedly, my Pennsylanian roots come into play here but hey, isn’t that part of building healthy relationships? Here DFH and Woolrich CLothing are a match made in heaven. Woolrich touts themselves as the original outdoor clothing company and wether Oregonians want to admit it or not, they are not the only timber working, flannel wearing folk in the country. Since I moved in Oregon 3 years ago I have made the connection time and again that Oregon is basically the west coast Pennsylvania. Dogfish Head has embodied this and put a beer to it! Dreams can come true. And since this image just encapsulated that entire story for me, of course I had to know more.

The tweet on the right included one relationship connection by adding @woolrich and one retweetable hashtag that can travel with their beer with #pennsylvaniatuxedo. They neglected to add a link to their website, which I sought out due to my own curiosity, but I believe they should have included it. Linking to would allow you to learn more about the beer and maybe peek interest in the long list of diverse brews you can see on the right side of the screen.

I don’t believe this was a slam dunk, but it was definitely compelling to me. I’m heading back east to visit my family in Erie, PA for the holidays and I fully intend to search out this brew. Cheers!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Purple Cow for Rent?

Kobie Hughes of Perth Australia was just a property owner trying to rent out her home. A standard 3 bedroom in a standard neighborhood that just didn’t have enough curb appeal to draw attention. Apparently traditional straight forward craigslist or zillow Australian equivalent advertising was not working for her so she got creative and posted her property as a “Financial Black Hole for Rent”.

Kobie made some notable changes to her ad and experienced overwhelmingly positive feedback and, I hope, a worthy tennent. She chose to be honest about the less desirable qualities of the neighborhood, leaving little to subjective speculation. Referring to the local bar, she says, “this charming tavern has kept its feet smelling carpet and may or may not still have a wee trough against the bar.” For the pet owners, such as I, the pet policy is particularly important. She writes, “We allow pets because there's no carpet for them to wee on and we figure pet owners won’t complain about the sweet chorus of dogs that raise their angelic song to the heavens (postman, neighbours, cats, spiders, wind, air) in the morning (noon, night, afternoon, dusk, dawn, evening, twilight, midday…).” The full advertisement is truly worth a read for a refreshingly good chuckle.

From my own personal experience, trolling for a rental can be mind numbingly monotonous. All the ads are titled similarly, details blur together between properties to the point where nothing makes anything special and eventually the only thing I end up caring about are the price points.  From a property manager’s standpoint, I can see this being problematic for actually getting your unit leased. So what is a landlord to do? Turn something on its head. Do the unexpected. Be remarkable. Get noticed.

I love you @ChacoUSA! #ChacoNation #ChacoLife

I spend a healthy majority of the year wearing a double layer rubber sole with a fully adjustable strap wrapped to my foot. In the mud. In the rain. Hiking. Biking. Working. Weddings. All the time. I wear my Chaco sandals everywhere! When I am forced, by the inevitable fear of wintery popsicle toes, to switch to boots I am still sporting a “Chaco tan” through the winter. I am proud to consider myself a part of what is known as the Chaco Nation where  If I had to dictate Chaco’s value proposition I would say that Chacos are making footwear for ‘everyone doing anything’. Their homepage states that,
”Chaco creates premium footwear for the outdoor-minded because we believe life is enriched through adventure, travel, and community.”

I am but a single. not-so-humble, Chaco brand loyalist, so I took to the Twitter to see what others are saying about Chaco and what Chaco is saying about itself. Checking out the hashtag #ChacoNation produced a swath of tweets referencing a photo contest  and sporting the tags #ChacoNation and #OutdoorNation. A deluge of young people posting pictures of their feet out adventuring. A contest? A gift card? I want in!  So, I got distracted from my ‘research’ went down that rabbit hole. It turns out that Outdoor Nation is hosting the contest for students of participating colleges that are involved in being outdoor ambassadors for their campuses. Neither LBCC or OSU are participating, so I lost interest and returned to my initial mission, but I learned that this partnership promotion existed and that young people across the country were jazzed about it.

Returning to Twitter I decided to search out @ChacoUSA in conjunction with #Chaconation. I wondered if anyone else is feeling the pains of fall and getting ready to pack their beloved sandals away. Some were and either switched to Chaco brand hiking boots or took Chaco’s advice on the matter. Enter, #Sockos and I am redirected to Chaco’s instagram.
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Challenge sandal wearing conforming norms! Wear your sandals with socks. What a stroke of marketing genius. If Chaco can just make it cool to wear your socks with your sandals more of us will spend more time in them. Ultimately, more people will notice because, let’s face it, everyone notices someone wearing socks with their sandals. And you are going to do something subversive in this hashtag, selfie, post everything digitally social world you should probably be proud of it…
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Lastly, I took a closer look at #ChacoLife and was immediately surprised to see that of the first dozen tweets 5 of them were from other businesses or organizations, not including two of which were from @ChacoUSA. They included Plato’s Closet (@plclarksvilletn),  Rearguard Gear (@rearguardgear), and (@campsaver) all promoting sales on Chaco products. Rad. This felt like a digital marketing dual back scratch! Another #Chacolife tweet begged the question every Chaco lover eventually faces which is to resole or not to resole and buy a new pair. I feel ya buddy, personally I resole and restrap whenever needed and get as many miles as I can off my two pair.

Ultimately, looking into @ChacoUSA was a lot of fun because of my affinity for their product and the fun vibe the collective #ChacoNation puts out into the world. I did not realize that was happening digitally as well as at our local SAGE summer concerts, farmers markets, etc. which is where I see my Chaco Nation brethren.  If I were on the Chaco marketing team I would be inspired by all of this and keep riding the wave of positive energy. There is a lot of positive feedback and therefore healthy ‘word of mouth’ from the people whose mouths say the most and speak the loudest - the market.

PS - This review did not even touch #Chacotan. If you're interest is peaked... it is worth checking out the army of people tweeting and intstagramming photos of their feet.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Making News, Building Walls... Its Yuge Folks.

Something must be done about this country’s southern border and US-Mexican relations. Heineken USA is taking a bold stance on immigration! As a product of it’s Born Bold ad campaign for Heineken USA, the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi have produced an answer to our plight. Heineken USA, makers of Tecate beer, believe they have an answer - A wall!

The 30 second ad opens to a desolate desert landscape, a wall spreads across the land dividing it in two as an eagle flies over head. The text on the screen types of U.S./Mexico as a voice over begins, “The time has come for a wall, a tremendous wall, the best wall.” Four men stand on each side of the wall. The feeling is ominous and we all know where this imagery and vocabulary is coming from.

Everyone is well aware that we are at the tail end of the 2016 election season. Arguably, a tailspin and it’s hyperbole is unavoidable. Saatchi & Saatchi were ingenious to use a theme, a package of propaganda that has been unavoidable to us for months now. Let’s face it, the wall is something that gets to every one of us. Either you support Trump’s wall and are emotionally emboldened by the thought of the hypothetical impenetrable force that would keep us safe mexican immigrants. Or, every time you hear about the tremendous and beautiful, amazing and great wall you vomit in your mouth a little bit before cycling through the five stages of grief.

The ad takes the first 14 seconds setting the stage and hooks us all. Then, a Tecate beer can slams down on the top of the wall which is clearly only 3’ tall and built for setting a cooler full of beer on. Now the eight men, four from Mexico and four from the U.S. are shaking hands, cracking open beers and enjoying a bipartisan brewhaha. Genius.

I watched the first presidential debate last Monday night with bated breath, so I know there were no commercial breaks - no room for this ad to find space amidst the debate. Where did they air it? Post debate on FOX News and (drum roll please…) Telemundo and Univision spanish-language channels. I loved this ad and even more appealing as saavy advertising, the spot they snagged to air it. I have never drank Tecate, I am an IPA drinking gay environmentalist, so I have never even noticed Tecate as a peruse the beer cooler and I certainly have the involuntary throat vomit when I hear people talk favorably over Trump’s wall. But this past Thursday while walking to the Co-op I noticed a discarded beer can along the berm of 3rd street, I never would have recognized or cared much about the brand of a discarded can, but it was Tecate. I now have brand recognition and appreciation. I must have told half a dozen close friends about the ad. The ad has now seen nearly 1.1 million views on Youtube and is seeing activity on twitter with its hashtag, #Tecatebeerwall. It was remarkable.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In a nut shell... a teeny tiny nutshell...

In 2007, I graduated with a BS in Biology from a small college in Pennsylvania, Lock Haven University, where I concentrated in both environmental ecology and marine science. Through the 9 years since that time my work has taken me deep into both the non-profit world of informal, environmental education and the US federal land management agencies, US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Forest Service, and back to environmental outreach and education again. I work now for the Corvallis Environmental Center as the Administrative Director of the Avery House Nature Center.
This term I am taking this Marketing class in addition to Principles of Accounting with the objective of obtaining an AAs in Practical Business Management. Identifying, implementing and evaluating effective marketing techniques through branding, outreach, print materials and social media are crucial to keeping our program relevant in my current work. Ultimately, my primary interest is in honing skills that will inform my decisions as a program director now, but as a small business owner in the future.
As for my personal passions, I have a very furry family. My fiance and I have created a blended four legged family. 7674_10101996978181708_3210265282761736028_n.jpg
From left to right; Janelle, that’s me. Aengus, 1.5 yr Border Collie. Freyja, 9 yr old Australian Shepherd mix. Sputnik, 3 yr old Border Collie/Chesapeake Bay Retreiver. Bird, my soon to be wife. Not pictured here is our orange tabby cat, Odysseus, who moved here to Oregon with me from Virginia in 2013.