Specific Is Terrific!

In response to my monthly enewsletter sent from my GingerJohnson.com url, a curious recipient inquired:

“Here’s my question! “Women Enjoying Beer”. Is this a niche you want to create for yourself in the marketing world?  Have you found this limiting in bringing in new potential clients because you are so specific? Since distilleries are coming more and more into play this area could be ripe for new marketing business from distilleries. What are your thoughts?”

My reply included the fact that I’ve had Women Enjoying Beer for 7 years now and it remains part of my businesses and pursuits.

  • The word ‘Niche’ has always gotten a bit under my skin, though I know what the reader is asking and rightly so. Niche seems to minimize, to somehow make it feel frivolous and inconsequential. Quite the contrary.
  • Women & Beer = universal.
  • Women + Beer = change the world.
  • Women + Beer = fascinating conversation.
  • Women + Beer = progress for gender equity when done right.
Women & beer holiday tasting event

Women & beer holiday tasting event

You must have a focus for any entity, any tax status, any reason before you open doors to be In Business. My focus has been on women and their relationship with beer. As the industry pioneer in this endeavor, to talk with, listen to and gather the insight from women directly, I’ve found the entirety of input mind blowingly thought-provoking.

Limiting? No way. Hell, it’s been an explosion!! A population previously unasked (women) about a global fact of life in earth as a race (beer) has continued to gather attention, spur students, media & press to contact me & want to talk for a paper they’re writing, and still invites smiles from the unfamiliar when they see my logo.

I’d limit myself and opportunity for women everywhere if I didn’t ask the questions I do of women as it relates to beer.

Why do I do it? Because I want to know, who more women don’t enjoy beer. Because I know now it’s not about women or beer, it’s a much bigger scope and purpose. Because no one else has deigned to see the import of talking with the worlds largest global population about an everyday topic. When this happens – when there conversations happen – we open doors into all sorts of other concerns, issues and topics. It’s like tipping dominoes that can never return to a stultified position (thankfully).

Distilleries are certainly open to contacting me as well – as are wineries, cideries, book manufactures & authors, car makers, plumbers, insurance agencies, and every single other good & service. Marketing services based on our singular and proprietary qualitative psychographic research benefits everyone, beer enjoyer or not.

I can help all businesses who are serious about properly and successfully marketing to women.

It’s the big pictures made up of small pixels that change the world for the better. Women + beer = big picture = conversations that improve our planet.

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Client Thumbs Up

“Hi Ginger

Yes, business is good …

We are closing on a location for our first taproom. It is exciting and very scary at the same time!  Believe me, I have all my notes from your seminar about marketing to women and they are very important to me.  For example, the restrooms are going to bright, squeaky clean, warm, and every detail will about it such as the artwork on the walls will be reviewed by the panel of women advisors I have put together, as you suggested.  As a second example, I can’t wait to start the women-only Introduction to Craft Beer Seminars after we open.

Cheers and best wishes for a wonderful long weekend,

B”

 

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How Women Enjoying Beer Got Started

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. – Goethe

When I started Women Enjoying Beer almost 7 years ago, I had no real idea what I was plunging into. Here’s how I share the story.

About 7 years ago I looked around and wondered, “why don’t more women enjoy beer?” What was that all about?

I had been getting to know the beer community, specifically professionals ala some various relationships and friends. They seemed like really engaged, fun, smart, and progressive people. People I wanted to be around.

Having already reinvented myself a few times, digging into something totally new wasn’t foreign nor scary to me. Why not!? The road less traveled may be paved with whatever you perceive gold to be…let’s give it a go.

So go I did. I started Women Enjoying Beer by submitting 2 proposals to the Brewers Association to speak at their annual Craft Brewers Conference. Lo and behold they chose one: What About The Other 50%?! addressing and Serving the Female Beer Consumer.

That acceptance had me hightail it into research mode to talk with and listen to women across the greater Midwest to get this party started. With the help of connections, family and friends, I lined up close to a dozen female only focus groups. After the first one, on a random Tuesday night in February in Central Iowa, I moved expressly into qualitative psychographic info; no stats or quantitative.

For a few reasons, this was absolutely the wise choice.

1. People are more comfortable talking about sex than money and earnings and so forth. Not asking what we’re perceived as very private questions (income, ethnicity, etc.) made it much easier to get responses from women everywhere. They wanted to talk about their emotions, feelings, experiences – all the psychographic input that forms our decision-making processes, conscious or unconscious.

2. I like this data way better since it’s really meaningful. Quantitative data have been measured; it’s static and cannot change. You can change the world with qualitative psychographic input. It tells us how people thing and therefore we can act on that in a forward fashion.

Boston: locale of my first ever Women Enjoying Beer talk, CBC 2010

Boston: locale of my first ever Women Enjoying Beer talk, CBC 2010

After those first dozen groups had been completed, I went into compilation  mode. Whoa. Let me tell you: research is a lot more work that I had anticipated. I have a much greater respect for getting it right, being accurate, creating questions which get to the core of the issue (and not your own agenda), and putting it all together in a cogent manner.

I learned a lot about women too, quickly.

Once the conference rolled around, I was very excited to share my findings. Packed room, inquiring minds, and an extremely fast 60 minutes whirled by as I spoke at that fateful conference.

Since that time, almost 6.5 years ago, I’ve still found Women Enjoying Beer to be the only independent business studying the relationship women have with beer. It’s been invigorating, frustrating, and incredibly interesting to say the least.

Onward we go at this point, 7 years in.

Here’s what we offer for services, as the only expert in this field:

1. Speaking. Keynote addresses, banquet entertainers, conference and workshop seminars.

2. Internal and external education and training.

3. Marketing, brand and image advisement.

4. Label and menu review and insight.

5. Consumer insight on women + beer that no one else anywhere, ever has had.

6. Entertainment.

7. BeerRadio. My live weekly radio program for 4 years.

I started the business because I saw an opportunity. No one had thought to study women and their relationship with beer before. We offer insight you literally cannot find anywhere else on the planet. What a ride it’s been.

Call me when you want to get it right with women from the start. What we do is smart marketing. It’s asking, really listening, and then formulating success as part of your foundational business plan.

Making beer is a passion – and it’s got to be a business. If it’s “only” a passion, homebrew. If you want to take it to the world, make it a business. Call us when you make that choice. The investment of the worlds foremost authority is well worth it for you, all the females walking the earth, and your commitment to making beer.

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Women In Beer

Over the last 7 to 12 years I’ve come to know many, many people within and related to the beer universe. The community of these people has been by and large invigorating and inspiring. They’ve helped me think, rethink, consider, laugh, let go, and learn. There are a few people whom I avoid, yet that number is low.

Hundreds of folks later, I want to simply thank some of them today. If you’re interested in knowing why, let’s talk about it over a beer.

In no particular order:

With the venerable & classy Kim Jordan, SAVOR 2015

With the venerable & classy Kim Jordan, SAVOR 2015

Julia Herz, Julie Johnson, Maureen Ogle, Kim Jordan, Sarah Watson, Krissy Zinski, Christine McKeever, Rhonda Kallman, Meagan Anderson, Tammy Tuck, Jill Redding, Kristi Switzer, Bernadette Wasdovich, Kellie Shevlin, Laura Lodge, Erika Reitz, Erin Rue, Nancy Johnson, Janet Fletcher, Erin O’Riley, Cyrena Nouzille, Sarah Johnson, Shannon McQuade-Ely, Julia Doll, Melinda Marks, Lisa Morrison, Lindsay Guerdrum, Rebecca Newman, Jenny van Wyk, Annie Pfriem, Rose Ann Finkel, Julie Wartell, Lisa Zimmer, Bernie Perryman, Emily Engdahl, Nicole Kasten, Chris Crabb, Alison Grayson, Stevie Caldarola, Olivia Cerio, Veronica Vega, Tonya Cornett, Lauren Salazar, Gayle Goschie, Leslie Henderson, Lucy Saunders, Meg Gill, Gina Schauland, Jennifer O’Connell, Megan Parisi, Sarah Barba, Tina Pachorek, Ashley Salvitti, Ashleigh Carter, Acacia Cooper, Jen Murphy, Ashley Guillaume, Kris McDowell, Geri Kustelski, Sandi Globus, Brandy Butts, Rebeca Dovali.

I know I have forgotten some at this writing – there are surely dozens more. It’d be one rockin’ party to get them all together for a celebration! I’ll work on that….

Thank you to them all. I appreciate and recognize that you’re helped inform my steps forward in me efforts to make a difference in the world.

Who do you look to and thank?

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How To Sell Beer To Women

1. Talk with women about beer.

2. Treat all females with full respect and know they’re paying full attention to you and your brand.

3. Offer flavor explorations (flavor first, not style).

4. Invite them in.

5. Invite them back.

6. Ask them questions. Shut up. Listen. Thank. Act.

The sum of our parts = brains and emotions and logic and experience and background. There is no one woman or female. There is only taste buds and desire for a delicious outing.

Put a blindfold on, treat everyone the same, and see success develop.

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Brought to Task

Occasionally someone challenges me when I bring Pink and Girls to task as it relates to being used in the beer world.

Make no mistake: The use of girls in relation to women and beer is unhelpful, damaging, and not clever.

By definition a girl is a female child, under the age of majority, and sometimes used in an offensive and denigrating manner.

You want equality? Don't call women 'girls.' They aren't.

You want equality? Don’t call women ‘girls.’ They aren’t.

Those who wish to stand up and crow about it being okay are not okay. Feminism is the goal of equality for all – and women intentionally calling themselves girls thinking they’re clever and that they have the right to do so are pushing the cart backwards, whether they want to recognize it or not. Equality will not be accomplished by calling women girls when it suits a certain few.

It wasn’t girls liberation, it was women’s liberation. And plenty of women have and continue to die for equal human rights based on our gender.

I absolutely fail to see how using girl where women should be used is in any way shape or form acceptable. Plus I challenge you back: Tell me how progress can be made by calling women ‘girls.’ No such thing.

Calling women girls lessens their full value as human beings. It doesn’t help reduce domestic violence, it doesn’t help reduce battery, it doesn’t help reduce the symptoms of the 23% wage gap, it doesn’t help get rid of the rampant objectification of women everywhere. Go ahead – tell me it’s okay to call yourself a girl and then want to be treated with full respect. Seriously, it’s unbelievable to me how women defend their position and desire to be called a girl.

And for the record, were not talking about femininity here. That’s different.

If you want to rant, go for it. Go do it somewhere else. I’m not interested in anyone – especially women – defending women being addressed as girls.

I believe in gender equity. I believe that everything we call ourselves matters – in every forum, that the use of colors in reference to a gender is out of whack and I’ve no time for women who will stick their chest out to accuse me of not supporting women.

Get over yourselves  and your attitude and get with the equity program. Women are women, they aren’t girls, chicks, babes, broads, gals, or anything else. They’re women.

2 comments

2 comments »

Making Beer Education Happen

What would have to happen and what would have to be true to make education happen?

In the case of women + beer: simple opportunity.

Ginger & Roger, founder of Prud'homme, in Toronto

Ginger & Roger, founder of Prud’homme, in Toronto

Opportunity and education combine to form a powerful purpose and progress. When you combine them they will generate positive synergy and get more women into beer. Here’s how.

  1. Women and men all enjoy flavor. Educate about flavor first, not style or brand or anything else. Flavor is where it starts.
  2. Create and provide opportunities for women to learn about beer. Single gender events, when done correctly , are incredibly successful. For females this means no pink, girl/gal/babe/ladies/chicks. For men this means no macho crap, sports themes or tools.
  3. People want and seek out educational opportunities. Make them happen. Whether you give tours for 30 minutes or 4 hour classes, education feeds the hungry mind.

Beer education has been heightened by various programs. With a nod to Cicerone and Prud’homme, these visionaries behind the value and progress education generates have bred a whole new batch of businesses bringing high quality opportunity to the masses. This is a good thing, as Martha would say.

Education. Opportunity. Two things that will move us forward. Like I say, love and money comes and goes – education lasts forever.

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Nielsen Thinks Women Have Been Addressed per Beer – What Do you Think?

Please read the following conversation and tell us what you think. Take particular note of the very last sentences, which are RED. What say you?

From an actual email exchange.

Part 1: From a professional brewer, 15+ years in the industry

Since I could not listen to the presentation a week ago I just today looked through the presentation you gave. One item certainly caught my attention. On slide X you point out that beer both in general and craft specific skews heavily towards men. On the next slide you show the ethnicity skew towards “white.” Based on the %’s in the 2 charts and population numbers in the U.S. it appears that the bigger opportunity in terms of total number of potential consumers for beer in general and craft in specific is the female market. That said, I am unsure what the index numbers mean and do notice that Hispanics index lower for craft beer than do females as a % of adults. Does that imply more opportunity?

You certainly have to choose a focus with time allotted and so I’m curious why you decided on the Hispanic focus when the larger opportunity appears to be the female market. Does Nielsen gather data on women and beer much like you have with Hispanics and beer? What is your take on the opportunity that women present for growing the beer category?

Thanks for considering my questions.

Part 2: From a VP at Nielsen

Thank you for your thoughtful question.

First off, in terms of the numbers themselves…

  • Hispanics 21+ account for 14.8% of the overall adult population currently, but only 7% of the Craft Beer volume, thus an index of 47
  • Females 21+ account for 52% of the overall adult population currently, but only 28.4% of the Craft Beer volume, thus an index of 55

So, you are right, the BIGGER opportunity in overall size lies with Females; however…

  • While Craft Beer is underdeveloped with Hispanics (that 47 index), Beer overall is NOT  — Hispanics accounts for 16.6% of overall Beer volume (vs that 14.8% of population), so Hispanics drink Beer at levels consistent with their population, just NOT Craft Beer.   That’s one reason why we focused on Hispanics
  • Secondly, if you consider the future growth rates, Hispanics as you likely know, will only become a much larger percentage of the overall population, and a lot of that growth will occur at the younger legal drinking age end – that’s a second reason we focused on Hispanics – the FUTURE potential that lies with Hispanics
  • Thirdly, at Nielsen, we have a Center of Excellence focused on Hispanics, so we know a fair bit about them.

That doesn’t mean that Females aren’t a big opportunity as well… they ARE just based on numbers (way more Females in total than Hispanics in total).  However, they just don’t drink a lot of Beer in general.    On the other hand, we know that Flavored Malt Beverages and Ciders have successfully addressed that opportunity.  And we know from various surveys that certain styles appear more to Women than others.

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Where’s the Service? What’s the Experience?

Remember the “Where’s the Beef??” campaign? Today I’d say, “Where’s the Service??”

Service is a funny thing. So many people Want It. Too few people know What It Is. Lots of people practice What It Isn’t.

Service = what you give.

The key here is that we often mistake service for experience.

Experience = what we get.

Are you ready with the Servant Mentality?

Are you ready with the Servant Mentality?

They are vastly different and still very much related. Round and round they go. For example: if someone is shopping at a store, say for a pair of trousers, a sales person approaches (hopefully) to inquire as to how they can help. True service and servant mentality isn’t “are you finding what you want?” Servant mentality is service focused – how can one serve another. What can I help you find, what it is you are looking for today, and ‘these whatevers would be very sharp with the pair of slacks you picked out.’ It’s help at its core: service.

Experience is the result of being served. A woman walks into a bar….

She is seated or seats herself (being greeted and seated is the best service) and awaits a beertender to assist. An in-tune and well-educated tender will introduce themselves (starting a relationship), inquire as to what they may be in the mood for (making suggestions so the guest doesn’t have to do all the work herself), and also makes recommendations to complement her choices (beverage, food, both). Providing an experience is what creates a meaningful memories. Memories drive people to want to repeat their experiences, the business sees the customer again – perhaps with friends they brought along – and round it all goes.

Service Tips Today:

1. When serving the female customer, ask open-ended questions. Service inherently starts with genuine conversation (not hollow, the real stuff).

2. If she gives you a closed return comment, then give her space, let her know you’re available, check back and ensure she’s finding what she wants and needs.

3. Offer appropriate recommendations and suggestions per the conversations you are able to have with her. If she’s rather tight-lipped, simply pointing our features and specials can engage her in a professional and polite way – you’re sharing what’s new, improved, in season and available.

4. Give her space.

5. Thank her for her business and visit – whether she buys now or not. Her experience of your service will greatly affect her support of your business.

Smart service leads to a positive experience. Get it right and thrive. Get it right and she’ll help you.

Resource: Paul Paz, Waiters World is an excellent Servant Leader.

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Are You Looking At The Right Issues?

Recently I got wind of a professional webinar within the beer world. It was supposed to be addressing the market, who and where the areas of growth for beer. Pretty straight forward idea.

I had registered for this said event and simply had to pass it up to tend to other business, though the topic is right up my alley.

Once it was over, I heard from a valued and reliable colleague that the talk had focused on areas of the market and population, yet not women. Apparently one slide of dozens addressed women as beer buyers and consumers. Excuse me, what??!!

What issues are you looking at?

What issues are you looking at? Are they right in front of you or elsewhere?

Instead the focus was on the Hispanic market. Yes, it’s growing globally. Yes, it’s an excellent population to work with and for. AND it’s still misses the point if the beer industry wants to really capture new, long-term, loyal market share that covers all ethnicities and facets of humanity: females.

After I shook my head in shock, and got my bearings again, I realized this: The Professional Beer Industry Community for the most part still has no foggy clue about who’s buying the beer in America. Scan data is a partial picture and dangerously lacking in deep lasting understanding of the female beer buyer.

I’d ask the people in business in the beer arena: What issues are you looking at? What do you want to accomplish, what are your goals, who is your target market and why, what are you doing to bring in outside expertise you’ll never have to build and support your brand?

Time and time again all someone has to do is to surf a bit on the web to find consistent and reliable data to support the fact that women are the primary buyers of all goods and services. Read here, here and here for a sampling.

So when you’re looking at business development – from beer to cotton swabs to cars to tools – take note. You’ll be successful when you carefully examine the female shopper and buyer.

Beer people beware: you’ll stagnate and deflate unless you make some drastic changes in patterns, habits, acceptabilities and practices towards and involving women.

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Ladies At Ladyface Love Beer, Cheese & Chocolate

Mmmmmm.

(silence)

Ahhhhhhhh.

(silence)

Ladyface Alehouse is where you'll want to go.

Ladyface Alehouse is where you’ll want to go.

Okay, well it wasn’t *quite* silent between bites on Monday at Ladyface Alehouse…what we had was over a dozen enthusiastic guests participating in a tasting at the brewpub.

Cyrena Nouzille, founder and operator of Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, Agoura Hills CA, started this women’s education meet-up about a year ago to offer a deeper sip into beer. It’s designed for women who enjoy flavor, learning about beer, food, and the camaraderie that accompanies the worlds second oldest beverage.

It was my pleasure to have been the specially invited guest to present on the select Ladyface beers made by the very capable head brewer, Dave Griffiths, complemented by Dagoba Chocolate and Cypress Grove Chevre. Seriously. Every palate in the house was happy.

Here’s the deal: when I conduct tasting events – beer, beer & food, cooking with beer and the like – I’m interested in opening minds. An open mind is the best palate. Experimentation and tasting is the name of the game and mix and match we did.

Yes, a great time was had by all!

Yes, a great time was had by all!

Our faithful server brought out 2 beers (in small glasses) to start, as well as two cheeses to which I added a plate of chocolate. After everything was handed out and around, we got to talking about a few things:

  1. Smelling your beer. I teach techniques like Blood hound and Drive by.
  2. Tasting your beer and food together. There’s a marriage just waiting to be tried.
  3. Some HerStory & other tidbits were thrown in. Questions were raised and conversation ensued.

I know it’s a successful night when I lose by voice – and that I did! The pub is a popular place and rightly so. Comfortable, gorgeous art and design of space, and a delicious beer and food menu entice all comers.

mmmmm....

mmmmm….

If you’re in search of flavor, taste and taste some more. Visit and enjoy a local brewpub – the majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery. Ask the management of pubs, breweries, restaurants and bars who carry beer to provide educational opportunities. An educated person has a more open palate, which is good for the whole merry-go-round.

Thanks to Cyrena, Johanna, Adrian (chef), crew and guests who were part of the fun Monday night at Ladyface. Already looking forward to the next time. Call on me when you’d like to have your own special tasting events.

Menu

  • Beers: Grisette, Trappistine, Ladyface IPA and Russian Lullaby
  • Cheese: Cypress GroveLambchop, Midnight Moon & Humboldt Fog + Fourme D’Ambert Bleu and Cow Milk Brie.
  • Chocolate: Dagoba Lavender Blueberry, Chai & Xocolatl

Many thanks to Cypress Grove Chevre & Dagoba for their participation.

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Beer For People Who Don’t Like Beer

Gord and I met tromping through the Vancouver, British Columbia airport. We must have been headed through customs at the same time, him returning to Canada, me just arriving. Both of us on work trips.

What started as a casual comment happily developed into a very pleasant business lunch. We chatted about a variety of things and in short order the conversation veered towards beer. It could have been the business card I gave him…beer starts a lot of conversations.

Cheers to great folks like Gord ~

Cheers to great folks like Gord ~

Anyway, we decided to head to one of the airport eating establishments for a quick bite of traveling lunch. The service was fine, the food was fine, the beer was tasty and the company was grand.

What Gord asked me as we settled in was “How do I get someone who says they don’t like beer to try it?” While it wasn’t the first time I’d been asked, it did give me pause. Over the years in business with WEB, I’ve learned that the primary reason women say they don’t enjoy beer is they rely on a very distant or previous unpleasant memory to guide their current decisions making process around beer.

While emotions can be good in decision-making, in this case, it’s not good. In fact, it’s detrimental. It’s a hindrance for a number of reasons. One, the memory (gathered in research) is almost always due to the beer having gone bad, like pumped out of a keg with an oxygen pump or it was stale or old and oxidized. Secondly, the cause of the bad memory was self-induced. Beer doesn’t make you drunk or sick – you do that all on your own. Be responsible for your own actions and the beer will absolutely reward you. Lastly, and for a minority, is for truly valid reasons: issues like allergies, family abuse, and addiction and recovery concerns.

So how do you remove the barriers of an old and still poignant memory around beer and appropriate persuade someone to try beer anew? In this case Gord was asking in relation to his beloved wife….good question.

Since I’ve been asked this numerous times, here are some suggestions.

1. Find out what she kinds of flavors she likes – comprehensively. Explore all sorts of beverage and food tastes and write them down.

2. Talk about where those flavors can be found and made. Discuss ease and difficulty in procuring and recreating these pleasing flavors.

3. If there is already a trust in the relationship, you both need to take a leap of faith. It’s beer – don’t be offended. It’s beer – try it.

4. An open mind is the only tool you need. Your taste buds will do the rest WHEN your mind is open.

5. Seek and present opportunity often and appropriately. Never pressure, always encourage and nudge.

Beer: try some. It's all different these days.

Beer: try some. It’s all different these days.

6. A taste of something, literally a tiny bit of the universe, is a very small thing to undertake. If you find it pleasant, try it again. If you find it offensive, try it again. In professional circles, the key to accurately tasting something is two tastes – not just one. Let is sink it and let your palate acclimate and comprehend.

7. Pair beer with food, perhaps starting with the food first.

8. If she drinks wine or spirits or both, look for beers that carry similar flavors to those beverages she already likes.

9. Make beer cocktails. Even if you prefer straight beer, you’re not her and a cocktail or mixed drink make with beer can be a great entry into further exploration.

If her mind is open, you’ll be successful at a minimum by exposing current beer and flavors available therein. If she’s not open-minded, still invite her over for a beer – serve her what she wants and drink what you want too.

The whole point and pint of beer is camaraderie and building community. After all, where do people gather: brewpubs, kitchens, and campfires. Places of relaxed and delicious fun.

Pints up to Gord for the inspiration for this article ~ cheers and hope to see you again soon.

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If You Didn’t Do What You Do, What Would You Do?

Kind of like the woodchuck…what would you do given no other influencers than desire?

It’s unusual to get a new question at a professional workshop wherein I’m the invited or paid presenter and educator. So last summer when a gentleman in the room asked me “What do you hate about your job?”, I was stumped.

Great people who expand my world = what I love, like Jennie/Dr. Chenergy (GABF 2014)

Great people who expand my world = what I love, like Jennie/Dr. Chenergy (GABF 2014)

His question caught me off guard for a few reasons.

  1. I focus on the positive and look forward, instead of for and at the negative.
  2. I’d honestly never considered that question in my mind, partially because I like what I’m pursuing and making happen.
  3. Hate is a really strong word – one I rarely use.

After stammering for a moment, and pausing for another moment or two, I’m sure I came up with some sort of response (I’d have to ask him to see if he remembers). What I do remember is that it made me reconsider what I DO like about my company and how I spend my days.

Life is either too short or too long, depending on your vantage point. Either way, choosing to invest the limited hours of life we get is a conscious choice and we should use it wisely. An old adage is still timely and true: Life’s short, play hard. I’d adapt it to this; Life’s short. Do what fulfills you and makes you happy.

FYI

What I Hate About (Any) Job: Arrogant people, selectively ignorant people, snobbery, and other garbage usually perpetuated by people. So I avoid those people.

What I Love About (Any) Job: Mind expanding positive people, interesting new experiences, flavors, travels, changing culture for the better, improving gender equity, having fun.

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What Needs To Change With Women’s Beer Group Names

This article is still very true.

And it makes me wonder when women and going to stop perpetuating and creating “clever” monikers for females beer affinity groups. Bad names do way more damage than they do good. Here’s some I’d strike from the list:

  • Pink Boots Society
  • Girls Pints Out
  • Pussy Cat Beer Guild
  • BABES

All of these are – perhaps well intended – and have intentionally chosen names for the groups that will only continue to hold women back. Education can’t be packed in a sexist wrapper and called good.

It’s absolutely mind-blowing when you consider they were created by women. What the heck do the men then think – “If she calls herself a girl/chick/babe/broad, then why can’t I?” And they’d be right. Double standards in public are a poor and stupid choice.

Cheers to smart women who are helping create progress - Ginger (c) with Krissy (l) and Rocky (r) of Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY - where they recently hosted a women + beer event

Cheers to smart women who are helping create progress – Ginger (c) with Krissy (l) and Rocky (r) of Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY – where they recently hosted a women + beer event

Correction of ills, overcoming everything from the female/male wage gap to prostitution, are all part of gender equity it’s a big picture issue. It’s global, local and everywhere we can and can’t possibly think of. It’s up to women mostly to stand up and say. Men, you need to speak up as well.

There is no room in my mind for any of these names to be related to beer. So let’s bring beer into the picture.

If beer’s been modernly perceived as a male drink of choice, and women want to get into it – great! They must do it with full respect to themselves. Cheekiness or being coy or clever with words isn’t helpful – again, it’s damaging and negates and reverses progress. Women are smarter than that. The days of going to university or college for women to find husbands should be dead. This behavior and thinking will never deliver full equity. Don’t be lazy and let this mindset persuade you into thinking it’s okay. It’s not okay.

A cheesecake type calendar is circulating in the beer world of females who work at breweries in seductive poses. Women, this isn’t helpful or cute or even good. It’s simply perpetuating that you are the sum of your boobs and legs, smiles and eyes. Be the sum of your brain cells and backbone, your fortitude and intelligence.

The kicker for me is that the women voluntarily featured in the calendar I know to be otherwise smart women. What broke down? Where was the idea that “this is cool!” when all it does is further objectify them instead. Missteps and selective ignorance and blinders to what’s right, especially intentional ones, need to become extinct where women and beer are concerned.

If we can change the way people think about two universal planetary things (Women + Beer) we can indeed change the world for the better. I’ve seen it. It’s possible and I’m going to stay at it.

Here’s the good news: It’s easy to encourage and make change happen. Stand up, speak up, be vigilant. Women and men everywhere are responsible for making equity and equality happen.

Here are some groups who do it right:

  • Ales 4 FemAles
  • Crafty Ladies
  • Fermenta
  • Women Enjoying Beer

They’re highlighting education to a population that has not been focused on or considered to enjoy beer. They’ve chosen names and titles which build up respect for women learning about beer, not breaking it down. It’s about education first to a powerful population they recognize are curious, deserve full respect, do a majority of buying in the USA and are fun to have around.

Are you part of the solution or problem?

FYI – If you read this and want to take issue, you better be prepared to tell me how these groups and titles truly encourage equality and equity. No ranting from a lopsided perspective allowed (no, I’m not being hypocritical).

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Marketing Beer To Women

This afternoon found 26 guests, 9 hosts and myself at our Marketing Beer To Women workshop. We’re holding them pre-CBC and pre-GABF to really deliver useful insight on how to successfully market to the most influential population on the planet: Females.

These workshops are free with a refundable deposit required to hold required reservations – making sure we’re both vested in the event. The first time we held it we had all 40 show; today 25 of 26 were present and listening.

Here’s the deal in marketing to women:

1. Females make up the majority of the human population.

2. Marketing is communicating. You better know how to communicate with all the target markets you wish to engage.

3. It’s about opportunity – not gender.

WEB was launched 6 years ago. I looked around and wondered “why aren’t more women enjoying beer?” That seemingly humble question has propelled and motivated us to delve into that question and the myriad replies and insights women want to share.

Black Shirt Brewing taproom

Black Shirt Brewing taproom

In 2012 we offered a voluntary Women + Beer Survey – over 240 women all across the North American continent replied with heartfelt and specific input. I could tell they were felling *finally!!* some one is asking me what I think about beer. The flood of input was encouraging, fascinating, incredible, and useful. (here’s a link to the original post)

Marketing beer is about knowing your audience and clientele, as is marketing for all goods and services, organizations and associations. Know your market. Pursue it correctly. Have fun and be successful. In that order. The workshop today covered a lot of ground, based in our qualitative research an don specific Women + Beer survey reports.

  • Thank you to The Neenan Company for their First Pint sponsorship – all attendees were treated to a fresh beer at the workshop.
  • Thank you to Black Shirt Brewing for being our host location. Carissa, Chad, Mary, Casey and crew were on top of things, have a clean brewhouse and taproom and it was a conducive space for education.

Call on WEB when you’re ready to skyrocket your success in marketing to women. We’ll come to you, educate, enlighten, assist your internal and external growth. After all, we’re about Bringing Beer To Life.

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How Funny Is Your Beer? AKA Beer And Good Humor

I want to talk about humor in your brand today.

Most people enjoy a pleasant experience. Beer has an inherently pleasant aspect to it, from the community around it to the celebrations that happen with it to the deliciousness our bodies enjoy. Fun is good and fun is appropriate with beer.

Humor used effectively and with respect towards all is an excellent element in marketing beer. In our research over the last 5.5+ years women have solidly stated that appropriate humor is attractive when they are making their buying and consuming choices as well. Here’s where it can get sticky – or not.

What precisely is good humor? What’s appropriate, to whom, and when? While there’s a subjectivity to humor there’s also a lot of (un)common sense that should guide us. Ask these questions of the brand to see if they pass:

1. Is there any sexism in the humor? If there is, in any direction, it’s inappropriate.

2. Is there any ageism or racism or any other -ism that degrades any population in the humor? If so, it’s inappropriate.

3. Can a three-year old see it, can a pre-teenager read it and can my grandparent read it and also think it’s funny or do they miss the humor all together?

Respect = Good Humor.

Respect = Good Humor.

Appropriate adult humor does not invite disrespect or insulting any population. This is the time to hire a pro outside the company to review ideas. I know since we’ve been invited to engage with clients who want a fresh eye to help the brand grow, not put off a potential customer or 10. Like Eugene Simor, President of Alamo Brewing:

“Thank you so much.  You pointed out much that I missed myself.  Very valuable info.” – per reviewing potential new label changes.

You can be clever and funny in a thoughtful manner. That’s what makes Carol Burnett and Bill Cosby and Ellen DeGeneres so funny – they humor us with reality and honestly funny stuff; never needing to denigrate or bring anyone down.

And here’s the kicker: Beer should be elevated, not brought down by people on beer companies that find toilet or racy humor suitable for their companies. If they’d ask themselves: Do I have a female in my life I care about? The answer would undoubtedly be yes – so relate those ties that bind and execute humor that respects those loved ones as much as it should respect your beer.

That’s where humor in beer is appropriate. Use it wisely and most likely you’ll get good feedback and consumer engagement.

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Features and Benefits of Beer

  • Feature: an interesting or important part, quality, ability, etc.
  • Benefit: a good or helpful result or effect

Now that those two are clearly defined, what are the features and benefits of your beer? What are the features of the brand that differentiates You from Them? What are the benefits of choosing Your Beer over Their Beer?

Here’s some insight:

Female beer buyers and consumers all want 3 things in their relationship with beer: a social component, an educational facet and a value proposition. All three of these fit the specific person and situation, every time, sometimes varying widely from another time. They are ever-changing so if you’re a beer business you must be aware of this fact.

Features & Benefits of beer: talking about them with customers is key.

Features & Benefits of beer: talking about them with customers is key.

Another thing to note is that consistency of positive experience will bring women in and keep them there. Consumers move around – they like to try, go and do whatever it is that catches their eyes and tastebuds.

By extolling the virtues in the form of brand features and benefits you will give them a reason to come to your brand, and hopefully, reasons to stay.

Women want the positive too, by the way. Don’t denigrate another brand to build yours up. That’s political BS and no one really likes perpetual negativity. Plus if your brand can’t stand on the quality platform alone, then it has no business being in the beer business to begin with. What women do like is quality, a flavor that appeals to them and a good interaction.

Invest your time outlining, honestly not myopically, features and benefits of your brand, how to utilize them for success internally then externally, and keep moving forward.

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Be In It For Good

  • Remain connected to the experience and flavors
  • Be generous hosts – make everything feel easy
  • Who are you, what do you want, what do you want to say

The above thoughts all came from a friend and colleague whom I much admire, like and respect; Fred Bueltmann, New Holland Brewing & widely known as the Beervangelist.

Fred’s words often resonate with me as I believe the philosophy of what he is communicating is not prevalent enough in the industry. I’ll expound.

1. Remaining connected to the experience is where the consumer starts. The consumer wants to connect with your beer and brand. The industry professionals already involved need to constantly and emotionally remember this every day. The customer is who you are making the beer for. Yes, you have to love it yourself to really do it justice. That said, you can’t drink it all yourselves so keep one eye on the customer, always.

Be in it for good.

Be in it for good.

2. Remain connected to the flavors. I am a huge proponent of flavor, not style. Consumers 1. Don’t necessarily know about style 2. Consumers don’t necessarily care about style if they do, 3. Flavor is where the conversation needs to start with everyone, no matter their experience. Flavor is a common ground topic. Every one tastes and explores flavors. Start with this common denominator to make steady constant progress.

3. Be a generous host. Do all of your guests feel welcome to the brand? Do they buy your products on sale or off sale or both? What does the environment in which they purchase your beer look like? What do the labels look like? Who do they speak to? Who do they repel? Being generous implies a cognizance and awareness of Who The Customer Is. Many times the “who” is she.

4. Make everything feels easy for the customer, including buying your product and consistent taste of beer. Attention to quality is key here. Successful businesses, otherwise known as brands, build their worlds on consistency. Something the consumer can count on, to return to over and over again, for the experience they are looking for. How specifically consistent? That’s up to the company and what they want to be consistent. I can guarantee if you have a flagship beer (or more) they must be the same, every time to the consumer.

5. Who are you? Who you are is part of the story. The story is what the consumer, especially the female buyer and consumer, want to know and embrace. The story makes a brand.

6. What do you want? Knowing what your goals are, aka what do you want, is critical in every endeavor from playing musical chairs (I want to be around til the last chair) to businesses (I want to deliver a delicious high quality product every time).

7. What do you want to say? Communication is addressing your story and message forward, it’s called marketing – bringing your product to market. It’s a good word and a principle concept in building and sustaining a solid beer company.

Your female customers deserve no less. You deserve no less. Be in it for good.

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Small & Big In Beer

Small is not a size word.

Small is not irrelevant.

Small isn’t everything.

Big is not bad.

Big is not a size word.

Big is different from bad.

Big is different than good.

Small is different from good.

Small, big, good, bad. These are words I try hard not to use. They’re too subjective and fraught with personal influence that to call something good or bad is doing it a disservice.

Who are any of us to judge? What are our parameters? Who gives us the authority to make the call or definition?

Small, big, good, bad - all are based on perspective.

Small, big, good, bad – all are based on perspective.

When we’re talking about women and beer, it’s an interesting concept: small and big. Is the brewery small? If so, what does she think about it? And what’s small about it? Aren’t they big on heart and passion? Aren’t they big on trying to serve the community? Are they big on being small?

If the brewery big? What is big and to whom? What does big mean? How big is big? How big is small? How small is big? And where do you go from one to the other?

Think about how you use these words. Women aren’t a small population, though they still occupy a small-er portion of beer consumers. They are the big-gest buyers of all goods and services, across categories in America. That’s big.

I put my whole life into my business. That’s not small. And I dare someone to tell any business owner they have a ‘small business.

Rethink your words before they come out of your mouth or go on a page. Like a presenter once stated, we have “preconceived notions of how something should work base don what ti looks like.”

Women are big. Beer is small.

Beer is big. Women are small.

Which ones ring true to you?

Before you picture women or beer, close your eyes. Think with your brain first.

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