Anchor Brewing: Beer Pioneers Craft a Social Strategy
Posted in — May 21, 2014
As America's original craft brewery, Anchor Brewing Company has been brewing hand-crafted beers in San Francisco since 1896. By its very nature, beer is a social product, and Anchor Brewing's social presence is a key component in its marketing strategy. The content strategy honors Anchor's rich history as a brewing pioneer and San Francisco fixture while engaging the ever-growing craft beer community with content that educates, entertains, and creates a context for conversation around the brand.
With roots dating back to the California gold rush, the Anchor Brewing brand was built around its storied history and a deep respect for brewing tradition. Anchor content invites users to be a part of the tradition by taking them inside the brewhouse with photos of the brewing process and other detail-rich content that educates as much as it entertains. Visual is a big focus: beer bio videos, images of the beer enjoyed in context, and custom shareable graphics enjoy strong engagement across all channels.
Pioneers Get Social
Anchor was early to the craft beer revolution, but somewhat late to the social party. They’ve made up for lost time, engaging the growing mainstream of craft brew fans by striking a balance between brew craft and broader lifestyle interests. The history of Anchor is the history of craft beer, and the hashtag #RaiseYourAnchor has become a battle cry for lifting expectations for beer and how craft beer is increasingly enhancing the experience with beer around the world.
Brewing Up Community Growth
The community has grown quickly over the past year, centered around an Anchor Brewing Facebook page that entered 2013 with just over 13,000 followers. Through targeted promotions that encouraged user participation, the community grew to 100,000+ at year's end, a 700% increase. Along with a website, blog, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube channels, Anchor’s created an ecosystem of social touch points geared toward discerning Anchor fans.
As the Anchor Facebook community grew in 2013, engagement with Anchor Facebook content mirrored the upward trend. Total engagement (likes, comments, shares) on Facebook posts grew from 6,000 in December, 2012 to 26,000 in December, 2013 (a 333% increase). Shares per post grew from 4 per post to 26 per post (a 550% increase) during the same time period.
Craft beer enthusiasts know their beer, and they love to share the experiences they have while enjoying their favorite brews. User-submitted photos from across the country and around the globe are featured regularly, which encourages others to capture and share their own photo, often tagged #RaiseYourAnchor. The ongoing effort has showcased Anchor as a global brand with loyal advocates from Sao Paolo to Stockholm, in addition to every state in the Union.
Shareable graphics are a mainstay. For example, when Anchor's hometown San Francisco 49ers made a run to the Superbowl in early 2013, it was only natural that a friendly wager was placed on the big game with fellow craft brewers Flying Dog, located in Maryland near the 49ers opponent, the Baltimore Ravens. A series of custom images was created to share with the Anchor Facebook community to showcase the bet and spur some good-natured 'talk' leading up to the game.
Summer Beertography Challenge
The Summer season is a popular time to enjoy quality craft beer with friends. Capitalizing on the enthusiasm for sun and suds, we invited the Anchor Facebook community to capture their summer moment with an Anchor Summer Beer - or any Anchor brew - and submit it for a chance to win one of three awards. A dedicated Facebook app was used for the promotion that enabled users to upload their entry directly on the Anchor Facebook page, and vote for their favorites in the People's Choice awards.
Sales and Social Connection
When Anchor released Anchor California Lager in February of 2013, a series of promoted Facebook posts was created to support sales efforts in key markets. Beginning in Chicago and expanding to in New York, Los Angeles, and additional regional markets, custom graphics introduced Facebook users to "California's first genuine lager reborn." A link to the Anchor Beer Finder was included in the post, which enabled users to find Anchor California Lager in their own neighborhood, and enjoy the newly-released beer. Anchor California Lager was the most-searched beer in markets targeted in the campaign, resulting in a boost in sales during the initial rollout. Website tools like the Beer Finder are woven into Facebook and Twitter as a way to connect fans to points of purchase.