Earlier this year we fielded a call from Mark and Jesse Sommers, the father-son duo who had recently transitioned from investors to co-owners of Berthoud Brewing Company. They were interested in grabbing beers and talking about some can redesigns. As thirsty craft beer junkies, we’re suckers for anyone who’s down to talk shop and toss back some pints. As purpose-driven marketers we’re hopeless romantics when it comes to talking about cans and brands. We preach the gospel of intentional, authentic, and aligned brand marketing because we know the craft audience has a nose for bullshit, a mandate for soul, and the attention span of a toddler. We looked forward to sharing our perspective and learning more about theirs.
We left our sit down with Mark and Jesse with some unique takeaways and observations: (1) their honest and forthcoming approach to making lighter, crushable, true-to-style beers, versus having wild aspirations of innovating the industry or setting the craft blogger-sphere aflutter with the newest trend; (2) their unwavering commitment to using only real ingredients - no matter how much time it takes to hand-zest limes; (3) their humble honesty about the roots of their brand, and their lack of involvement with it, and connection to it; (4) and their sincere willingness to listen, engage, and entertain significant change.
We sent over a proposal that wasn’t really a reflection of their ask. Not exactly a sound business tactic, but we believed they would benefit more by spending time developing a solid brand architecture first, in order to have a complete and ownable identity, before diving into their initial objective of packaging changes. Thankfully they bought into the plan.
We quickly dug in, learned a lot about them, and in turn helped them learn a lot about themselves. Their stripped-down honesty was as refreshing as their beers. After spending some solid time developing a robust brand architecture with all its critical components, they agreed we had created something they proudly felt was a true reflection of who they are and what they want to be. With that goal accomplished we could now move forward with their initial ask for some can art... along with a rebranded logo package.
We made it clear from day one that we weren’t there to tell them what we thought of their current brand – which, to be fair, had some cool art and interesting features, along with no shortage of inconsistencies and inadvisable marketing practices. Rather our job was to use the tools we had developed with them as a guide to develop a visual identity they felt was a true reflection of themselves. We don’t enter these projects with the goal of creating something we like for someone else; our intent is to simply help bring to life the identity our clients have in their souls and minds in a way that we believe can be ownable and differentiated in the market.
Check out our version of ‘where it started’ and ‘how it’s going’...
Speaking of how it’s going, the initial feedback on the new brand architecture and rebrand has been awesome. Jesse and Mark feel they have a greater understanding and vision of the brand and are using the elements we created to guide decisions across all levels of their business, not just marketing. Their customers have been sharing how much they like the new art and so far, everyone’s comments have been right in line with what they hoped to hear. And perhaps most importantly, their sales are trending into record-setting territory.
To capitalize on the opportunities a rebrand presents, and to amplify these positive trends, we’re psyched that Berthoud Brewing decided to double down with us on a project to develop and refine tools across their sales and marketing spectrum: Pitch Decks, POS Elements, Content Development, Philanthropy, Media Relations, Retail Programming, and more. We're thrilled with how the initial efforts came out, and the positive and immediate successes they created (increased POD's, greater rate-of-sale, new community connectivity, and media coverage, to name a few).
Mark and Jesse are perfect examples of how a brewery can capitalize on an opportunity when they open their minds and show a willingness to invest in not just an end product, but in the entire process. We know it wasn’t something they were totally comfortable with, but they placed a lot of trust in us, and now that they’ve gone through the process we're fired up to see how much value it's already delivering for their brand, and can't wait to watch it continue to pay off in the years to come.
Read on to check out some of the early highlights from our recent efforts. As things develop and some of our additional projects roll out (Social/Web Development, Additional Programming and POS, etc.) we'll add those in too.
SALES TOOL DEVELOPMENT
Understanding the multitude of challenges, responsibilities and distractions retailers face every day, we developed a clear, conscice, and complementary set of tools that: (a) assist the Berthoud Brewing sales team every time they walk in the door, (b) serve as all-encompassing informational leave-behind pieces when buyers and key stakeholders aren't available, and (c) function as easy-to-produce and versatile pieces that are easy to place in high-visibility locations in any kind of account. By unifying and simplifying the elements we're making every step of the sales process easier for everyone involved.
With the sales toolkit complete our next step was to get the redesigned cans behind the lens - both in the studio and the wild. Fresh content is the lifeblood of every brand, doing it with ultra-high-resolution, on-message, imagery is what often makes the difference from just having presence, to making a lasting impression. No one appreciates the distinction as much as we do, and it's an area where we're proud to say we've excelled.
Each Berthoud beer has a unique identity that stands well on its own, but also lines up well with the others. We made sure our studio imagery showcased the uniqueness and detail that went into each redesigned can. Likewise, since each was inspired by something meaningful to Jesse and Mark, often by local Berthoud and Loveland people, places, and experiences, we picked nearby locations for our lifestyle shoots to authentically represent them. We loved shooting these and can't to share more in the coming months. We've included a few samples from our first round of shoot that we feel genuinely bring the brand to life. With versatility as a key driver, Jesse and Mark now have content they can use all over: web, social, printed POS, PR, etc.
We love it when the opportunity to create client collaborations presents itself - especially when it involves aligning authentic brands with charitable efforts. This morning we announced that Berthoud Brewing has joined up with longtime partners Can'd Aid (disclosure - our fearless leader is a board member) to help raise funds for an adaptive park project in Berthoud. Jesse and Mark generously agreed to match donations made in the month of December up to $5,030 (the altitude of their brewery and fitting name of their delicious Double IPA).
To kick off the kindness the project will be a featured element in next Tuesday's (12/7) Colorado Gives Day - with corresponding parties scheduled Saturday, December 11 to really get the ball rolling. There's already been a bunch of buzz about this and we can't wait to see where it goes from here. If you're interested in learning more about the project and the inspiring story behind it (encouraged) or even better, donating to it (highly encouraged), follow THIS LINK.
And if you've got an opening in your calendar next Saturday we'd love to see you out at one of the Berthoud Brewing taprooms as we drink beers to do some good. For more information and to RSVP to the events follow these links: BERTHOUD TAPROOM PARTY // LOVELAND TAPROOM PARTY.
Berthoud Brewing had never executed any form of Media Relations outreach. On the heels of their rebrand and aligned with their local community driven philanthropic effort with Can'd Aid, Turn It Up was able to secure a mix of local and industry media placements to support donations and drive Berthoud Brewing brand awareness.
Here is a list of initial Media Placements: FORBES, Thirst Colorado , The Loveland Reporter Herald, Berthoud Weekly Surveyor, North Forty News, The Longmont Times-Call, BizWest, Craft Brewing Business, My Beer Buzz, The Brewer Magazine, Brewbound.
Leveraging the Philanthropic effort and community relationships, the brewery engaged key retailers and partners to participate in the program. Through additional placements, pricing features and signage at retail the program was able to drive donations from partners and consumers while creating increased visibility for the updated brand and driving sales during the Holiday Shopping season.