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Marketing like a Fothermucker

Graeme Wallace, a disgruntled packing manager at Brewdog, was frustrated at being asked to be more punk so he decided to print ‘motherf**ker’ on the base of some cans of the Punk IPA cans.

When BrewDog were forced to recall 200,000 cans of beer, he probably thought he was going to be fired. He probably should have been, but he wasn’t, he was awarded with the employee of the month award.

Why? What on earth were they thinking?

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Simon Sinek’s brilliant TED talk lays the foundations for successful businesses. He explains the difference between the truly successful companies and the rest of the pack is simply a matter of why and what.

Many businesses know what they do and how they do it, but only a few know why. It is these few that make it big, and have loyal customers and employees. Consumers are just people, and people are engaged by why you do something rather than what you do.

The example he uses is Apple. Apple are successful because they are constantly ‘challenging the status quo’, they do that by making computers.

Similarly, BrewDog rebel.

BrewDog started as two blokes in Aberdeenshire unhappy about what they saw as bland mass-produced lager, so they set up a craft beer brewery.

They started with why? And that filters through to what they do.

They are rebels. Against large corporations, against bland lager, and against authority. BrewDog pride themselves as rule breakers.

They frequently get in trouble with the Portman Group (a trade group that promotes responsible drinking). When one of their beers was criticised for promoting binge drinking they released a corporate statement titled ‘Sorry not Sorry’ and started it by stating “We are sorry for never giving a shit about anything the Portman Group has to say…”

They created a 55% beer and decorate it with taxidermy. When they then got in trouble for that they produced a 0.5% beer and named it Nanny State.

They consistently inspire consumers to be punks and rebels.

They rebel themselves.

So shouldn’t their employees be rebels?

That’s why, despite costing his bosses 200,000 cans of beer and a shit load of money, Graeme’s mischievous creativity was rewarded.

It turned into a great marketing campaign that reinforced the company’s rebellious image. That was only possible because BrewDog have a big idea, and because they started at why.

And that’s because your brand image doesn’t just stop at the billboard, it’s not paper thin; it’s deeper, bigger and more important than that. Or at least it should be.

You, your customers, and your employees should know why you do what you do. Because if your employees believe in your brand, customers will too.

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