View Full Version : Start with Why - The Secret to Success for Craft Breweries?

09-04-2013, 10:10 AM
I recently read Simon Sinek's book - Start with Why (http://www.amazon.com/Start-Why-Leaders-Inspire-Everyone/dp/1591846447) - and it got me thinking a lot about marketing in general and specifically for craft breweries.

The premise of the book could be summed up as:

“People don’t buy WHAT you do. They buy WHY you do it.”

Basically, Sinek says the product is much less important than the story that consumers tell themselves behind the product.

(If you want to check out, Sinek's TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html) gives a concise summary of the book)

Obviously, it's important to make a quality product, but there doesn't seem to be any lack of quality craft beer in the market right now so it's tough for that to be a differentiator.

Personally, I think Sinek is dead on.

I got inspired and put together some examples of craft breweries that I think are killing it because they're following his advice (knowingly or not) and some of my thoughts on it.


What do you guys think? While both are obviously important, is it more important for craft brewers to focus on improving their product or on improving the story behind their product?

Also - if you haven't checked out this comment by Wicked Daddy (http://discussions.probrewer.com/showthread.php?24908-Craft-Brewery-Strategy&p=86591#post86591), I think he sums things up much better than me on this concept.

09-04-2013, 11:10 AM
I see some of the points here, definitely.
But in the end, it's the product itself (and the quality thereof) which is most important, at least to me.

There has always been a word to describe the use of a good story to sell a sometimes marginal product: "hype".

Now, put a good story behind a great product, and then you've got something...even in our culture, where quality is not necessarily a deciding factor for American consumers. One only need to cite the early days of home video...when consumers' embrace of VHS over the demonstrably technical superiority of Betamax defied all logic.

Hmmmm...wait...seems like I just inadvertently supported the very hypothesis I originally set out to marginalize!
Perhaps well written hype is indeed more important in the end.
Never mind.

09-04-2013, 12:23 PM
Great branding/marketing sells the first pint. Great beer sells every pint after that.

Great beer is a necessity, but in this market you've still gotta give people a reason to try it.

09-05-2013, 11:31 AM
Great branding/marketing sells the first pint. Great beer sells every pint after that.

Great beer is a necessity, but in this market you've still gotta give people a reason to try it.

This is a much more concise version of what I was trying to get across. My observation about most markets and craft beer in particular is that they aren't lacking for quality products.

I'm probably a fairly average beer consumer in terms of taste and I never hurt to find good craft beers so it seems like while brewing a quality beer is essential, it's not a differentiator. Telling a great story about your brand and brewery that gets me emotionally involved is something that a lot of brands aren't doing a great job of still so there's a lot more opportunity there.

09-05-2013, 04:05 PM
We love what we do and at least speaking for myself I do it with passion. But I focus just as much on the product as I do on marketing and I am truly breaking new ground in marketing in my country. We've been open 6 months and the majority of the country knows about us. I constantly get invited to speak at universities and what they are most interested in is our marketing. If it was all about the product then Corona would be broke but instead it is one of the most successful beer brands in the world. Just food for thought, I am in no way saying we should make crappy beers like Corona but let's not kid ourselves, marketing is the bigger piece of the equation.