CO AMA Blog | Politics

New Year, Same You – Brands Taking Political Stances

By Taylor Gombar

Brand reflection is upon us with the turn of the New Year and the anniversary of the presidential inauguration. Throughout 2017, companies exposed consumers to various political positions through product campaigns and media releases. New Balance sneakers praised Trump’s opposition on the Trans-Pacific Partnerships, while Cards Against Humanity purchased vacant land along Trump’s border construction. Although marketers were criticized for their political stance, recent reports indicated consumer purchase habits are tied to vocal campaigns.

According to Edelman Earned Brand Study, 65% of consumers refuse to purchase from companies that remain silent on important issues. In October 2017, Uber faced public scrutiny when turning off surge pricing during the New York immigration protest. Lyft took a competitive stance and donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, increasing consumer flips from Uber. So why don’t most brands speak up? Generally, brands forget about the 50% of belief-driven buyers. Belief-Driven buyers hold a strong passion for brand beliefs and use their purchased brands to express themselves. Backlash is inevitable from non-supporters. Yet, marketers cannot forget the 25% of belief leaders that will rally behind the brand. Although a brand could take a stance that is not favorable by opposing customer beliefs, the message may resonate with an agreeing buyer.

Forbes outlined a basic rule for companies navigating the new political space— consider political activism versus exploitation. Pepsi exemplifies a brand that exploited politics to drive sales. Backlash arose when the company trivialized the Black Lives Matter movement through product positioning tactics. The company used the movement to suggest Pepsi as the answer to national peace. Yet, Pepsi overlooked the political activism agenda. Political activism is the act of expressing brand values through contributed efforts. A company must remain empathetic and choose not stray from their vision when choosing to speak out. A brand possess humility and by leveraging that humility a brand can resonate with a larger message, not solely a product campaign.

So, marketers, do not align your political messages with a “New Year / New Me” agenda. Remember your key target and your value set. Do not defer to silence in the wake of political turmoil. Belief-driven customers look to you to express their political views; be there with them.

Marketing in the Craft Beer Industry – It’s Not Just About The Beer Anymore

According to The Brewers Association, Colorado ranks third in the nation for number of breweries per capita. In 2015, Colorado’s booming craft-beer industry contributed a $1.7 billion economic impact in 2015. Craft beer fans in Colorado have an overflowing variety of beers and breweries. With so many great options, how can each brewery stay ahead of the curve?

Last week, we sat down with several marketing representatives from different breweries across the state to discuss how they manage their marketing efforts in the competitive craft beer industry.

While craft beer is here to stay, the industry has changed dramatically in recent years. Colorado went from having 175 breweries in 2013 to almost 350 in 2016. Julie Kovaleski, Marketing Coordinator of Boulder Beer described how the first craft brewery in Colorado is staying relevant throughout the years. Boulder Beer has the competitive advantage of name recognition, however,  they still have to remain competitive in this challenging market.  After 38 years of making incredible beer, Boulder Beer has learned that making a great product doesn’t guarantee success in this business anymore. Consumers want more.

Breweries generally begin with a  passion for making great beer, but in a saturated market like Colorado only succeed when they are able to offer that ‘something extra’ that consumers crave. Elvira Masinovik at 38 State Brewing has this down to a tee. At 38 State Brewing they have events almost every day: open mic, trivia, crafting parties, you name it! They have become not only an establishment where people can come for a cold one after work, but a place where the community gathers. The brewery industry is more than just the beer, is about the community and the experience.

Alicia Duncan at Kokopelli Beer Company agrees. They know their success comes from being the cornerstone of the Westminster community. Kokopelli Beer Company is the place where families gather and everyone is welcomed. Kokopelli is also proud to be the first sole owner and operated brewpub in Colorado. And, did we mentioned that this owner is a woman? Colorado is one of the lucky states that has one of the higher percentages of female consumers. Female beer enthusiasts in Colorado account for 32% of the market share in Colorado as indicated by The Brewers Association. Part of this change, in an otherwise male dominated industry, is due to the fact that breweries are now more than ever making an effort to promote craft beer events geared towards women.

For instance, Boulder Beer is partnering with Barley’s Angels, a group dedicated to women and beer, this Wednesday to offer a “Bacon Three Ways” pairing held in celebration of Colorado Craft Beer Week. On the other side of town, 38 State hosts different events geared towards the female demographic such as “Denver Girls Pint Out” and “National Nurses Day.”

In addition to hosting great in-house events and attending strategic beer fests, many breweries have all upped their social media marketing efforts. Breweries today need to have a presence on multiple platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat seem to be some of the favorites. The social media content includes events, new releases, behind the scenes photos, charitable work, and more.

Finally, the brewery-marketing gurus gave us some advice for those trying to enter the industry. Unanimously, they all agreed that the most important piece of marketing in the craft beer industry was to know your product. If you want to be in marketing in the craft beer industry, it is not enough to know your platforms and marketing strategies. You have to know about beer. Not just what your favorite beer is, but knowledge about the brewing process, ingredients, and different styles of beers. Many marketing representatives have gone through the rigorous process of becoming Cicerone certified. Talk about commitment!

If you are interested in learning more about Marketing in the Beer Industry, AMA Colorado  is hosting a panel of experts on March 22, 2017 to discuss the topic. You can learn more and register here.

Request for Quote – CHAMP Grant: Industry Market Research

The Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Program grant awarded to Red Rocks Community College will increase the attainment of manufacturing degrees and certificates that align with the industry’s recognized competencies, skills and certifications to create a pipeline of highly-qualified advanced manufacturing industry workers. The colleges will add industry-driven content to the manufacturing program and redesign several courses for online/hybrid delivery.


Submit electronic quote and summary of qualifications to: CHAMP Grant Project Manager Due: December 2, 2016 no later than 5:00 p.m. Subject line: CHAMP Grant: Industry Market Research We expect deliverables from the market research firm that emphasize action steps for improvement. All work MUST be completed on or before March 31, 2017 due to grant requirements.

Click here for additional information.