OMEP/Kelly Walker Collaboration Helps Bend, Oregon Distillery Grow 350%
OMEP recently worked with Cascade Alchemy, in collaboration with Kelly walker Marketing. Take a look at their guest blog post about the project below.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Nowhere does this apply more than in the world of the startup businesses. Strategic resourcefulness can make up for a lack of resources—and resourcefulness has been endemic to the success of a recent collaboration between the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP)and Kelley Walker, Marketing Director to help Cascade Alchemy Distillery become a leading brand in the Oregon distilled spirits market.
Cascade Alchemy is a startup distillery entering its 3rd year of operation, led by Owners and Distillers, Joe Hale and Tyler Fradet. Hale spent 10 years as Packaging Supervisor at a local brewery before attending the American Distilling Institute and receiving three certifications in Artisan Distilling, Modern Moonshine Techniques, and Hands-on Whiskey Distilling. Fradet owned a construction company for years and has been an avid home brewery for years with a passion for spirits.
Cascade Alchemy needed help with marketing, but being a small startup, they didn’t have the budget. Kelly Walker contacted OMEP consultant Kleve Kee, knowing about their mission to help local manufacturing businesses. With some discussion, funding was found to build a marketing and brand development plan for Cascade Alchemy, starting with a predictive analytics study of the industry to provide key data sets.
The statistical industry study revealed key insights into major demographics and distilled spirit product preferences, and gave recommendations for marketing emphasis (on products and regionality) and product development.
Using data from the study, along with marketing expertise, Intrepid led brand development strategies—resulting in the tagline, “Your taste. Your spirit.”—along with social media management and advertising campaign concepting.
Within weeks, Kelly’s social media strategy produced significant results: Average Daily Organic Reach saw an increase of 976.5% in just its first 28 days. When first analyzed, there was an absence of content and an immediate strategy was to focus on top-of-mind awareness by populating the page with strategically-planned content. During this period the page also saw improvement of the following metrics: Reactions rose 700%, comments rose from none to 1-3 per day, and shares rose from none per day to an average of 3. This was a great improvement over past page performance and Cascade Alchemy was quite happy with the immediate progress. The audience was at 730 on the day that Intrepid began managing the page and grew to 773 in the first 28 days without the assistance of a boosted “Like” campaign. Average Daily Organic Reach was approximately 24% of the fan base.
Intrepid did not create the social media strategy until after the first month when the data study provided insights, so an initial strategy of Social Link-building was followed. Social Link-building establishes B2B relationships by “liking” and sharing prospects’ social content and being highly responsive to dialog. This strategy resulted in the development of a mutually-beneficial relationship with a local a cocktail catering company that has offered to use Cascade Alchemy products for its non-profit open bar events. It also helped develop a major B2B collaboration that is currently highly confidential.
The content strategy for Cascade Alchemy has focused on telling Cascade Alchemy’s story and tying it into their fans’ stories and interests—who they are, what are they like, their tastes. Their spirit. This strategy has done remarkable well so far, as predicted. Since Pinterest is a highly-used social media platform for the identified key demographic, Intrepid created a Pinterest page for the brand, highlighting different recipes that Cascade Alchemy has for their products. Intrepid produced a fun video in their own “SWIG of Branding” studio, showing how to make a popular drink using one of the client’s liquors. This video got great reach and engagement, and Intrepid will be producing more of these fun brand videos.
In addition to social media, Intrepid developed an ad campaign focused on highlighting the culture and interests of their fans. The ad campaign engages this fan base by asking them to post photos enjoying their favorite activities, on Facebook and Instagram. Selected entries have the opportunity to have ads created with their photos and the tagline, “Your taste. Your spirit,” along with a private tour and tasting for winners and ten of their friends, along with a free hat, tee, and rocks glass! (Of course, strict OLCC regulations are followed.)
Aided by this collaboration with OMEP and Intrepid Marketing, Cascade Alchemy’s February sales increased 350% over the same period last year.
OMEP Consultant, Kleve Kee is very happy with the results. “Top-line growth of sales and revenue is crucial to the success of any business. Combining our process of business guidance with Intrepid Marketing’s strategic creativity over the past four months has accelerated top-line growth for Cascade Alchemy Distillery in Bend, Oregon. Within a relatively short time, we have developed and rolled out a marketing strategy that is proving quite effective, with record sales for the distillery. This ‘experiment’ has created a model for other local manufacturers to follow on the path to developing their brands to their full potential.”
“The OMEP-Intrepid project has been a huge success for us!” according Hale and Fradet. “OMEP has really helped us with our manufacturing principles such as flow, supply chain, and financial planning. Adding in Intrepid Marketing has created an exciting, measurable momentum that you can feel and see, that we may not have had working with another marketing agency. For a small yet growing company, this has been a great partnership that is setting us up for continued growth!”