By Heather Sorensen
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Spring is a season for renewal as well as reflection. In this month’s “Business Is Brewing” column, we cover the topic of corporate branding and take a look at Crosby Hop Farm*, a company in Woodburn that successfully transformed its business model and appearance.
What Defines a Brand?
There are many key components that define a brand including: the logo, company story, staff, service/product offerings, approach and mission.
Think about some of your favorite brands and what makes you a loyal customer. On the flip side, if you’ve had an experience that was unfavorable, did you share that feedback with the company, with others or just move on?
Now looking at your own company — is the branding in step with your customers’ needs, the company offerings and today’s market?
Brand Communication and Service
Today there are countless opportunities for companies to interact with consumers, whether on a mobile device, PC, on the phone or in person. A complete communications platform is no longer a customer service line, email address or web form.
With the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest, there are multiple ways to share news and engage the public. Positions such as “brand ambassador” and “social media manager” didn’t exist a few years ago, so even if your company doesn’t have staff dedicated to these responsibilities, now more than ever, it’s important to build and maintain a positive online brand presence.
The keys to great communication and ownership of your company’s brand on all platforms include:
– Be relevant (i.e. newsworthy, timely or helpful).
– Be authentic and transparent.
– Be responsive.
– Develop a niche.
– Use a consistent voice.
Brand Evolution: A Fifth-Generation Farm Propels Into the Modern Brewing Era
When Crosby Hop Farm shifted its business focus from selling the majority of its crop to brokers to directly serving the needs of craft brewers, its brand transformation started with a new site and alternate, modern logo. The website highlights its updated mission statement and dispels the myth that it is just a hop farm. Crosby Hop Farm is a Salmon-Safe Certified, fifth-generation farm that grows hops and also processes, stores and brokers more than 75 varieties of whole leaf hops and craft-inspired hop pellets to the craft brewing industry. Today, its website continues to evolve with an online shop selling rhizomes as well as its consumer-facing “I Love Hops” gear.
In this brand transformation, one challenge remained: How can brewers “visit” the farm digitally? Crosby Hop Farm also wanted brewers to hear from their peers on why they work with the farm. Two separate succinct and cinematic videos were the answer. Without any prior experience in this area, Crosby Hop Farm hired a professional videographer and recently debuted the videos.
Just like any brand that stands the test of time, Crosby Hop Farm plans to innovate not only in its product line but also in its presentation.
*Crosby Hop Farm is a Plugged In PR client. Visit Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn or during the Craft Brewers Conference at booth #1351.
Heather Sorensen is the founder and president of Plugged In PR. She helps shape companies’ brands and identifies unique ways that organizations can stand out.