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How to Create an Authentic Brand: A Behind the Scenes Look at Dogfish Head

Building a Brand

Constructing a model takes a big quantity of effort and time. Regardless in case you are a startup or an present agency, your model is essential to attaining what you are promoting and advertising objectives. For those who wrestle with the next questions, this publish is for you whatever the business you’re in:

  • Are you struggling to get outcomes together with your model?
  • Do you marvel find out how to construct an genuine model on a finances?
  • How do I adapt my model to market and business modifications?

B2B and B2C Applicability

The ideas on this publish usually are not simply relevant to the craft beer business, however may be utilized to any B2B and B2C enterprise. An instance from the craft beer business offers a superb mannequin of find out how to construct an genuine model from the bottom up and alter with the occasions. Everybody within the craft beer enterprise is acquainted with Sam Calagione, however I feel telling Sam and Dogfish Head’s story is important to any new or present enterprise.

The Dogfish Head story offers a case research of brand name constructing and the way the corporate adapts to the brand new regular that blends on-line and offline convergence efficiently. The dialogue supplies an in-depth take a look at establishing a model, rising a model, and adapting in an genuine method. Dogfish Head represents a great state for different craft brewers or any group in any business in search of to determine their model.

Dogfish Head based by Sam Calagione began as a brewpub in Rehoboth Seashore, Delaware in 1995 and the Dogfish Head microbrewery was established in 1997 in close by Milton, Delaware.

Building a Brand Photograph by Kowitz

A model evokes a sense, an impression, or a picture based mostly on a sense originating from the experiences with an organization or group and its services or products. The important elements of a model embrace model messages and product experiences of the buyer.

The model constructing course of consists of:

  • Buyer identification
  • The message
  • The picture of the model and packaging
  • Present constant product high quality
  • Model recognition
  • Shopper possession

Buyer Identification

The craft beer shopper sometimes has a mean family revenue of $60,000, a bachelor’s diploma or larger, enjoys outside actions, and employed in knowledgeable profession.  The first age demographic for Dogfish Head consists of era x shoppers and millennials from 25 to 34 years previous. The corporate has a big advertising emphasis on this demographic, which is probably the most important within the craft beer phase.

Millennials make up 57% of the craft beer demographic based mostly on craft beer quantity bought. Era x represents 24%, and the child boomer era makes up 17% of the craft beer quantity bought. The customer behaviors of the craft shopper embrace a passion for higher style, experimenting with flavors, seasonal choices, and the character of the corporate or model that the buyer can relate.

The Message

Dogfish Head has a devoted message or mission assertion, “off-centered beers for off-centered individuals” that may be discovered on each package deal of beer. This mission assertion is clear in the whole lot Dogfish Head does from non-traditional brewing strategies and types of beers utilizing distinctive components, similar to inexperienced raisins, juniper obstacles, and Muscat grapes. Different off-center beer creations embrace the Historic Ales particular collection of beers utilizing historic ale recipes from everywhere in the world.

The corporate additionally has the Steampunk Treehouse created by artist Sean Orlando created for 2007 Burning Man Live performance at their headquarters. The corporate additionally sponsors off-center occasions, such because the Dogfish Head Intergalactic Bocce Event held at their Milton, Delaware headquarters housing two full-size bocce courts.

The Picture of the Model and Packaging

Building a brand Photograph by Bernt Rostad

The founding father of the corporate designed the brand and the font utilized by the corporate along with the unique labels for its 90 minute IPA and Raison d’Etre merchandise. The corporate now makes use of totally different artists from the rock music business to create the paintings for the corporate. The long-lasting Dogfish Head emblem, font, and paintings discovered on all visible communications offers a particular visible permitting a shopper to differentiate the corporate from its rivals simply.

The Dogfish Head emblem is displayed on faucet handles, labels, and packaging making it straightforward for shoppers to determine the model within the market. The standard of Dogfish Head beer is unheralded within the craft brew business with a cult following for the beers of the corporate evidenced by the numerous progress and gross sales of the corporate during the last sixteen years.

Present Constant Product High quality

High quality, consistency, and innovation are important values for Dogfish Head. The corporate produces 37 beers, consisting of the year-round brews, occasional rarity brews, and 4 seasonal brews. Dogfish Head has a top quality management lab with a employees of six individuals tasked with operating every batch by way of a 42 level guidelines. The corporate exams the beer 24 occasions from the brewing course of to packaging to make sure high quality. Every batch of beer is examined by a sensory staff of educated staff from totally different departments.

The panel exams completed beers and beers nonetheless within the fermentation course of. To make sure freshness (high quality and consistency) each bottle of Dogfish Head beer is date stamped so, each retailer and regional gross sales managers can guarantee their inventory of beer is updated.

High quality Vs Demand

As the corporate has grown within the final a number of years, Dogfish Head has been challenged with sustaining the stability between demand and progress. Dogfish Head has an unrelenting concentrate on high quality and consistency, and subsequently has determined to tug out of 4 states and get rid of exports to Canada and the UK. Pulling out of Canada, and the UK has allowed the corporate to develop in a managed method with a give attention to retaining high quality.

Model Recognition

Sam Calagione and the Dogfish Head model are icons within the craft beer business. The standard, consistency, and innovation of the corporate’s beers and the advertising packages supporting them present the corporate with distinctive model recognition.

Sam as an early publicity stunt rowed a ship throughout the Delaware River dressed as George Washington when the corporate entered the New Jersey market. Consequently, Levi Strauss used him within the Slates clothes line targeted on six American entrepreneurs. The publicity from Levi Strauss helped launch Dogfish Head to a bigger nationwide viewers.

Occasion Advertising – One-on-One Engagement

Model recognition has been developed utilizing advertising efforts, comparable to utilizing the brewpub and craft beer festivals to check market new creations and create consciousness. Beer occasions targeted on the beer are one other advertising tactic. Sam Calagione persistently evangelizes the Dogfish head model to its distributors, gross sales pressure, and goal shopper with conferences and occasions to interact with their clients.

The important thing focus at Dogfish Head focuses on one-on-one engagement via occasions and using social media to constantly interact their clients utilizing content material advertising targeted on the corporate’s values. Different core elements to market the corporate and relate its elementary values, embrace environmental duty, help for the area people, books authored by the founder, and the Discovery Channel actuality collection.

Distributor Relationship

Relations with distributors type an necessary a part of the method to acquire shelf area at retailers with most states requiring using wholesalers to distribute alcoholic merchandise. Dogfish Head varieties distinctive partnerships with distributors who use push methods to realize beneficial shelf area in retailers throughout the nation. The distinctive high quality beers and the advertising packages relaying the corporate values type a definite and simply recognizable model within the market.


building a brand


Shopper Possession

The craft beer motion is about difficult the established order of mass produced beers offering a greater tasting beer. Craft beer shoppers turn out to be engaged with a model based mostly on the corporate’s character they relate.

Dogfish head engages shoppers with its merchandise that categorical its distinctive private id. The corporate creates possession utilizing the three brewpubs, brewery excursions, festivals, and beer occasions with a heavy concentrate on social media.

The first aim of Dogfish Head’s advertising facilities on the occasions and social media to create consciousness loyalty for the model. Dogfish Head has been an instance to different craft brewers within the market with a way to acquire model loyalty on a restricted price range. Proving that an organization can inform the person story of a model, Dogfish Head engages shoppers based mostly on shared values and beliefs with promotional occasions supported by social media.

Dogfish is a longtime success story within the craft beer business. The corporate is presently ranked quantity 14 within the craft phase and quantity 23 within the general beer phase based mostly on gross sales quantity in 2017. The corporate has sustained progress yr over yr since its inception as a microbrewery in 1997. I feel we will all agree that 20 years of sustained progress is an unimaginable achievement for any group in any business.

The corporate achieved vital manufacturing progress of 30 to 50 % per yr from 2002 to 2012 to help its equally spectacular gross sales progress. Annual revenues grew from $Three.6 million in 2003 to over $41 million in 2012. In 2017 gross sales have grown greater than 20% versus the prior yr. The corporate has additionally been acknowledged contained in the craft beer group with gold, silver, and bronze awards on the World Beer Cup.

Model Loyalty

Dogfish Head is a model that has established itself as a model with vital loyalty from craft beer shoppers. The corporate has skilled distinctive gross sales and gross sales progress during the last 16 years. Dogfish Head has demonstrated how a small enterprise can compete towards a lot bigger corporations and develop into a longtime model.  Utilizing occasions, distributor relationships, and social media as the primary elements of its advertising technique, Dogfish Head stimulates consciousness and creates model loyalists.

Dogfish Head loyalists determine with the corporate’s genuine and passionate off-centered mission capturing shopper loyalty based mostly on shared values and beliefs. The web and offline advertising efforts present particular perception into precisely how Dogfish Head has tailored and the way they’re succeeding in gaining much more model advocates.

Any enterprise trying to construct its model or revitalize its model can use the perception gained from Dogfish Head’s model constructing. The web and offline environments supplies a fantastic synergy and serves as a profitable components to creating an genuine model. The offline and on-line parts present a barely totally different method to interact with shoppers with the distinctive Dogfish Head product portfolio as a key advertising device.

Any model constructing method central focus must be on buyer engagement. The Dogfish Head model strategy includes the enterprise mannequin, enterprise and social implications,  shopper relationships, enterprise course of administration, and  its technical infrastructure.

Enterprise Mannequin

Dogfish Head generates income based mostly totally on product gross sales at on-premise and off-premise retailers. Dogfish Head makes use of a concentrated progress technique give attention to attracting new clients to the craft phase utilizing a differentiation generic technique complemented by means of buyer intimacy.

Building a Brand Photograph by Bernt Rostad

Enterprise and Social Implications

The millennial era represents the most important era at roughly 80 million individuals with over $170 billion in buying energy. The massive affect of the millennial era is shaping the best way that manufacturers ship messages. The millennial era is forcing companies to vary and contemplate its online-offline convergence. Key traits of the millennial era embrace altruism and a predisposition to help social and environmental causes.


Digital and Social Media

Millennials have the very best utilization of social media and are faster to undertake  know-how than some other era. Smartphone utilization is critical for the millennial era particularly sharing footage on social media platforms. As well as, millennials have the very best proportion of word-of-mouth advertising electing to share suggestions a few services or products each on-line and off-line.

When concentrating on millennials, a enterprise should incorporate occasion or experiential advertising providing a private one-to-one relationship. Substantiating using occasion advertising is the statistic that 78% of millennials favor a model expertise that’s related and provides them info. The traits of the millennial era require an organization to make use of digital advertising and social media which is in stark distinction to the face-to-face interplay desired by this era.

On-line-Offline Expertise

Dogfish Head’s enterprise technique makes use of a twin strategy mixing on-line experiences with a heavy use of running a blog and social media (Fb and Twitter) mixed with occasion advertising. The blended strategy offers the power to start and proceed the dialog with the millennial and era x shopper.

Web and social media permit an organization to proceed to interact these generations in an effort to realize model consciousness, stimulate trial utilization, repeat utilization, and finally model loyalty. The implications of the millennial statistics help the social media tactic of partaking utilizing on-line channels to help the occasion advertising high-touch required by this era.

Shopper Relationships

Dogfish Head has distinctive on-line and offline shopper relationships forming a essential element to its success with a model that’s genuine and stands for one thing that buyers can help.


building a brand



Within the on-line area, Dogfish Head performs exceptionally properly when it comes to metrics throughout Fb, Twitter, and YouTube. Dogfish Head ranks as one of many highest beer manufacturers (craft and large beer) throughout these social media platforms. Dogfish Head has the very best diploma of interplay with shoppers with the quickest response time on social media platforms in comparison with different manufacturers. These figures point out Dogfish Head’s engagement is the strongest with its audience with the quickest response to clients stimulating model loyalty.


Offline Sam Calagione and the Dogfish Head staff attend a big quantity of craft beer occasions together with craft beer festivals, beer dinner pairings, and particular collection (historic ales) nights at pubs. Sam and his workforce’s relentless ardour for craft beer and brewing utilizing totally different strategies with distinctive elements units Dogfish Head aside.

Dogfish Head creates the platform for individuals to be part of one thing they relate forming a deep shopper relationship.

Product Improvement

Sam and Dogfish Head don’t use focus teams and as an alternative use the people who find themselves already buying their product. Dogfish Head makes use of present clients offering them a voice within the evolution of Dogfish Head merchandise. The Dogfish Head technique of product improvement deepens engagement and protects the corporate towards failures and lack of future enterprise.

Sam and Dogfish head firmly consider that paying clients are extra possible, to be trustworthy versus paid focus teams within the product improvement course of.

Right here’s an ideal quote from Sam sharing his distinctive perspective on clients and product improvement:


“Companies that incorporate their shopper into the R&D course of will discover that’s an exquisite strategy to construct loyalty, as a result of they take satisfaction in being a part of the choice”

– Sam Calagione


The buyer relationship interprets to unimaginable success and probably probably the most model loyal shoppers within the craft beer phase.

Enterprise Course of Administration

Buyer intimacy types a robust element in Dogfish Head’s differentiation enterprise technique. Dogfish Head’s buyer intimacy strategy seeks to type a deep relationship with shoppers and its model loyal clients. The enterprise course of administration (BPM) aligns processes targeted on clients’ wants.

Dogfish Head constantly improves its capacity to successfully attain its audience and innovate by means of know-how integration. Accounting techniques, social media know-how, and digital media know-how present a way to ship the ever-increasing demand for Dogfish Head’s merchandise and type a deep relationship with its clients.

Supportive Technical Infrastructure

Dogfish Head‘s know-how infrastructure makes use of monetary and CRM software program, servers, net servers, community and switching gear, in depth databases, net improvement know-how. The know-how infrastructure allows operations processes and using multi-media know-how throughout digital and social media platforms. Enhancing engagement with shoppers 24 hours 7 days every week, in a means that conventional channels can’t. For instance, Dogfish Head makes use of footage, and YouTube movies pushed out utilizing social media to interact followers.

Buyer Intimacy Technique and Higher Enterprise Selections

Dogfish Head’s buyer intimacy technique integrates with know-how to help the enterprise. The corporate’s has carried out improved accounting options (include prices), generate compliance reporting, and streamline enterprise processes that end in improved enterprise selections based mostly on actionable monetary knowledge. Most significantly, the accounting answer has allowed Dogfish Head to provide the ever-increasing demand for his or her merchandise by their clients.

Web site know-how allows the distinctive fish finder functionality on the web site offering the power to seek out places the place their beers are bought. A bigger server and database permits the client to seek for the closest location of every beer within the Dogfish Head portfolio by zip code or all places.

The Dogfish Head story offers perception right into a enterprise that has efficiently constructed its model. Specializing in change, Dogfish Head has been capable of keep true to its id mixing on-line and offline convergence efficiently. Buyer intimacy supported by know-how offers a key element of constructing model loyal shoppers that evangelize the model.

The businesses on-line and offline strategy targeted totally on the wants of their millennial audience is among the prime causes for his or her success. Different organizations may label this as a personalization or consumer expertise technique, however Dogfish Head has all the time stayed very near its clients. Dogfish Head offers a human and private strategy that exhibits sincerity and real look after their shoppers in an genuine means.

Sam and Dogfish Head really differentiate the model and its product choices within the market and exhibits different craft brewing corporations and some other firm the best way to set up a model, develop a model, and adapt in an genuine means.  





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