Brewbound Voices: Leverage Your Beverage with Visual Storytelling

Editor’s Note: Laurie Millotte is the founder of Outshinery, a product photography and video creation company that generates images and other visual marketing assets without physical products. Millotte has over 12 years of experience as a creative director and designer in the wine & food industries and, in her column for Brewbound Voices, she provides three easy hacks to help brewers on a budget master social media with visual storytelling.

According to Nielsen, three out of four consumers decide which alcoholic category they plan to purchase from ahead of time, meaning there is incredible value in being — and staying — top of mind.

Beer drinkers are an especially tricky bunch to market to, because 70 percent will choose which particular product to buy while shopping versus 58 percent for other fast-moving consumer goods, according to Nielsen.

Knowing this, relevant imagery should be key in your marketing and activation efforts. By leveraging visual storytelling, you help consumers “recall” your product in stores and directly influence their purchase decision.

Here are three actionable steps you can take to get started.

Tease your fans with video content

Arouse interest in all of the things your brewery has going on by building hype. Get fans excited before your latest beer is available, tease them with details about an upcoming event, or show the makings of your new swag. The goal is to get people curious and talking about your brand.

Example: Threes Brewing leveraged an eye-catching video to announce a beer award. By animating the label of their Vliet Pilsner in a short looping clip, they were able to capture the attention of their followers so that their achievement didn’t go unnoticed.

Videos are known to improve engagement, and social media platforms are favoring this type of media above anything else. What’s more, you can repurpose video content in an email marketing campaign. Expect to see a drastic increase in your click rate — sometimes up to 300 percent.

But how do you produce video content with limited time and resources?

Empower your staff to help you. Have them take their own photos or videos and tag you. Even better, encourage them to create Instagram Stories that can be uploaded to the company account.

Instagram Stories are an effective tool to stay top of mind. They are the perfect way to deepen your connection with consumers and can be used to highlight your products, events, and reviews. Stories are also a useful means of recognizing partners, sponsors, and influencers while remaining authentic in the eyes of your audience.

Ecliptic Brewing recently used their Instagram Stories to build engagement and highlight their brand personality. Their story featured a gallery of funny photos taken at a local cycling event that concluded in their taproom. This was a great way of showcasing their sense of humor and community engagement in Portland.

Remember to run over your branding strategy and guidelines first. Showcasing positive interactions with your brand is invaluable, and best of all — it’s FREE.

Let your fans spread the love.

Chances are you have a tribe that loves you and is already capturing their experiences with your brews. Anything created by your consumer is called User Generated Content (UGC) and can come in the form of digital images, videos or any public online post. UGC is a must-use marketing practice. Just don’t forget to give credit where credit is due by tagging the author.

So how do you make the most of UGC?

Scout for hashtags and supporters who have tagged you in their own content. Then repurpose it to increase the authenticity of your brand by making the customer the hero in your story. Fans love big shout-outs from their favorite brands and will reward you for that feeling of inclusion by buying your products and telling their friends. Plus, your online followers will find this type of “social proof” more credible than any paid endorsement.

Bell’s Brewery serves as a prime example of how effective UGC can be. After a Bell’s devotee created a one-of-a-kind map from their beer caps, the brewery made the brilliant move of reposting his photo. On Instagram alone, this post generated 63 times more likes than a previous branded post. This photo was then shared on Facebook to drum up an additional 1,825 likes and 66 shares. Over time, these quick and easy wins can add up when building brand awareness.

Make your packaging do its job with quality bottle shots.

Humans are visual creatures. Do justice to the care you put in your brew and packaging by only using quality product shots.

“Having beautiful, up-to-date and easy-to-access images of our products has made life in sales considerably easier,” said Oscar Pottinger of Steamworks Brewing Co., an Outshinery client. “Whether I’m submitting images to help promote a product on an online store or putting together RFPs, visuals are a tool I use daily.”

There are a number of online services, including Outshinery, which take care of the hassle for you. They create consistent, professional images without the need for physical samples. They are perfect for breweries in a hurry, since you can get your visuals done BEFORE your product is canned or bottled.

With more than 100 releases every year, Mikkeller uses Outshinery to get its images produced quickly and efficiently.

But how do you keep all your images and videos both safe and accessible?

Once in possession of dazzling content, it’s a good idea to store it all in one place. Cloud services like DropBox allow you to safely store and organize all your digital assets. Your entire team is empowered and ready for all promotional opportunities that come its way. Plus, centralized online storage drastically reduces the risk of losing photos, logos, and videos.

Now it’s your turn

Investing marketing dollars in strong imagery can yield some of the biggest returns for your business. When done well, visuals enable your product to stand out and be remembered at the moment of purchase. Visual storytelling draws audience attention, establishes brand relationships, and shares your ultimate story.

About the Author:

With over 12 years of professional experience as a Creative Director and Designer in the wine & food industry, Laurie Millotte brings to life unique creative solutions with like-minded clients from every corner of the world. She has received numerous awards and acknowledgments and even had the honor to have her work exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for the exhibition How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now. She takes great pride in nurturing ongoing professional relationships with her clients, always helping them achieve exciting goals while having more fun along the way! When it comes to product photography for the alcohol industry, Laurie saw a hole in the market. She created Outshinery to not only drastically improve the process and quality, but to empower businesses of all sizes to put their best foot forward in an hyper-competitive world!

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