Leveraging Vancouver Craft Beer Week Marketing
At the risk of sounding immodest, Vancouver Craft Beer Week is a big deal. I just did a search for “Vancouver Craft Beer Week” on Google and it came back with 20,600 results. Between Vimeo and YouTube, the VCBW ‘I am a Canadian Craft Brewer’ promotional video has been viewed almost 2,000 times since April 21. There are over 825 followers on twitter and almost 1,400 Facebook fans. Then there are the mentions in the media… (Look for extra coverage on The Peak 100.5 FM and in the WestEnder, especially the upcoming edition on May 6.) All this has really only come together in the past month!
I would say that this rapid build-up of support is due to the fact that Vancouver Craft Beer Week is a simply an expression of the growing craft beer culture in British Columbia, as demonstrated by increasing craft beer sales. And for the first time, it brings brewers, the hospitality industry, and the public together in the largest, public demonstration of what we have in our own backyard.
The heightened publicity does not just benefit businesses directly involved in VCBW. There is a multiplier effect that extends to others, as well. For example, I know that people are coming to Vancouver from Austin, Phoenix, and Los Angeles specifically to attend this event. Given that it overlaps with Seattle Beer Week, brews travellers will be motivated to “kill two birds with one stone” and come here to spend their money. The Mayor’s Office recognized this value, which is why they have officially proclaimed May 10-16 as Vancouver Craft Beer Week. Seattle’s mayor has done the same.
For those who have a vested interest in seeing the craft beer culture grow and mature in the Lower Mainland, you should be using VCBW as an opportunity to leverage your marketing. The more voices there are talking about craft beer at this time, the more notice it will get from businesses, the media, and the public. Just look at what happens with Dine Out Vancouver and the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. Like them, VCBW drives business.
So while you may not be directly involved or able to participate in Vancouver Craft Beer Week this year, you can still benefit from it by joining the chorus in support of craft beer. This will ensure VCBW is bigger and better next year. What to do? You and your friends should join the VCBW Facebook fan page and share Wall posts, photos, etc.; follow VCBW on twitter to tweet & retweet about VCBW generally, specific events, venues, and breweries; “Favorite” all VCBW tweets; and view the ‘I am a Canadian Craft Brewer‘ video, making sure to click “Like.” Have a blog or Web site? Post something to let your visitors know and link it to the VCBW Web site for further information. What does this amount to? Consider the impact of the voices of a dozen people as compared to a packed GM Place – the more voices, the greater the effect.
Ultimately, the market responds to demand. This is how, at the grassroots level, we build demand for craft beer, working collectively in support of each other. Both individuals and businesses benefit.
Postscript: VCBW’s Director of Marketing, Chris Bjerrisgaard, wrote an interesting analysis of the key role social media played in the success of the inaugural festival.