By: Courtney Fogle (@courtnxyfogle)
Her journey with Founders started 11 years ago as a server. Now, she’s the Communications Manager for one of the highest recognized breweries in the United States. In this episode of PR hangover, Francesca and I discuss some of the communication techniques that are used in the beer industry. Listen here!
“Brewed For Us”
Ever wondered where the motto “Brewed For Us” came from? Francesca explained that, in 1997, Founders was brewing the kind of beer they thought people wanted to drink. The co-founders were initially afraid the beer they wanted to drink would be too much, and they lost a lot of money until they decided to go for it and stop holding back. Experimenting with new recipes, they created flavorful new beers that are still used today. “Dirty Bastard” was one of the beers that really helped the company break through.
Grand Rapids – Beer City
There was a lot of hype when Grand Rapids became Beer City, USA. Francesca says there’s been an uptake in quality breweries in the area. Beer culture has exploded and Founders is proud to be part of it. She says a lot of what they do goes back to the “Brewed For Us” mentality. When asked how Founders keeps up with competition, she says they make sure that their products match their identity.
The Importance of Engagement
Francesca says that Founders’ two co-founders have their own unique personalities. The two men who started the company have inspired the voice of the Founders social media pages; using words that are similar to the way the co-founders communicate has helped shape its style. They currently have 276K likes on Facebook and 287K followers on Instagram. Founders’ in-house team has weekly planning meetings to discuss what concepts they want to incorporate into their social media content. Then, their photographers make them come to life with original and custom photos. They also use user-generated content because their fans take such beautiful pictures of their beer.
Beer fans love to be active on social media, so the Founders’ team makes sure to respond to comments, entertain, and build relationships with their followers. Francesca says their level of engagement is so high because they focus on growing personal relationships with their fans. It’s important to maintain an honest response from the team.
Writing Beer Descriptions
Francesca has quite the process for this very challenging and fun aspect of her job. She’s limited by 400 characters since the description has to fit on a label. Writing beer descriptions comes down to identifying the beer’s unique characteristic and the words used to describe it, all while using the Founders style and voice. Her first step is to meet with the brewmaster for inspiration and tasting notes. They’ll taste the beer if it’s available and talk about what went into the recipe. After reviewing her notes from the meeting, she’ll identify what aspects speak to her and what best fits that particular beer.
There’s also a process for creating the names for each of their products, which is delegated to a naming committee. The naming committee is comprised of Founders’ graphic designer, project manager, lawyer, brewmaster, and co-founders. They’ll create categories for the various styles of their potential names until they figure out what the best fit is for the particular beer.
If you’re interested in learning more about Founders and their products, check out their website.
Courtney Fogle is a junior studying Advertising and Public Relations. She is currently the Podcast Director for PRSSA and an account associate at GrandPR. Courtney is a singer-songwriter, with hopes to combine her love of music and PR so that she can work in the music industry managing artists and their brands. In her free time, you can find her listening to music or taking pictures of her cat, Oliver.