Warning: If you are a writer, blogger, communications manager, marketing manager or environmentalist and don’t drink beer, you might as well move on. You probably won’t get it.
Long ago, when crowded, indoor events like the Great American Beer Fest in Denver were still happening, I got to witness first hand how people make choices. Now, it’s not so easy to see these lessons, but let’s pretend that we as humans act the same.
While at the event, I didn’t even have to talk to anyone to communicate what I wanted. With over 4,000 beers, on tap and all I had to do was walk up with my one-ounce plastic cup, point at the beer I wanted to try, and some lovely person would fill it up. I would drink and move on to the next one.
Really, what more could you ask for of an evening?
But, there was one snag…
Without a massive hangover, and a possible trip to the hospital, there’s no way to conceivably try 4,000 beers in one night. So, how did I choose? How did one brewer or one beer lure me and my little plastic cup?
Here, some tips on how to get noticed when you and all your neighbors look alike. (If you haven’t made the connection yet to this particular website, environmental organizations, to the outside eye, all look exactly alike. Learning how to stand out is really helpful.)
1. Have a REALLY long line.
People inherently assume that if a hundred people are in line for something it must be good. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes not, but most of the time it will at least get people in line to try it.
2. Have no line.
Be so efficient that you move people right through. Many times, my urge to fill and subsequently drain my one-ounce plastic cup was so great that I wouldn’t even care what booth I ended up in front of. The first no-liner I saw won me. (Don’t judge. Remember when we used to have fun like this??)
3. Make it easy for a fan to follow up.
Thankfully, I didn’t actually keep track of how many times I filled up my one-ounce cup. But in all the times I did, only two samples really stuck out in my mind.
One of them was so achingly delicious that I took a moment to tell the brewer (or whoever was manning the booth at that time, I didn’t really take that much time to tell the difference…) that this sample was the best beer I’d had all night. But guess what? I have no idea what beer it was, what brewery it was from, or even what state or region it came from.
Why? Because there were 4,000 other names and logos distracting me. That brewer just lost a future customer because I was too distracted to remember who they were.
Honestly, it’s a loss for both of us. That beer was delicious.
4. Offer something no one else has.
You know what line was consistently long? The free cheese line.
At Beer Fest, you’re not allowed to bring in any food you can’t wear (more on that one in a sec). And all these beer drinkers are willing to wait in a long line just to shove in a toothpick full of blue cheese, because by the time you actually reach the front of the line, that’s all that’s left. And you know what? It was worth it. Now, back to the beer …
5. Be so unique and different, you start a new trend.
Like I said, you can’t bring any food in you can’t wear. Hence, the pretzel necklace.
People get hungry after all that beer, but don’t want to stop to stand in yet another line. So they string it around their neck. While this doesn’t actually help you to get noticed among the other brewers, it’s so fun and unique.
Participate. String up some pretzels and join the crowd.
6. Offer swag.
Only a small handful of booths did this, but I came away with a couple sweet buttons and each time I grabbed one, you know what else I grabbed? You got it… more beer!
Let’s be honest, most of the volunteers at Beer Fest are ridiculously happy with their lot in life.
They are volunteering at a beer event. I mean, c’mon.
And those people that were smiling, talking with the customers, and actually enjoying themselves were so fun. Sometimes, I even hung out there for a few minutes and sampled even more of their fine beer just because they were super fun. Those that pulled off the sour-pus look to perfection, I avoided.
8. Pay attention to the serious customers.
A lot of people were there just to fill up their one-ounce cups 4,000 times. (Are you looking at me!?) But a lot of people really wanted to find new products they would be interested in letting into their lives.
Pick them out, and make sure they have a way to remember you in the morning.