Using Beer for Employer Branding?

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Group pf people toasting beersRecently I saw the new Third Shift beer commercial about a dozen times on Hulu. I thought it was very interesting that just about the entire commercial was directed toward building their employer brand. The commercial starts in the upbeat breakroom, moves on to team work in the brewery and then ends with the employees sharing a beer at the end of their shift. This seems to be a trending idea in the world of beer. Sam Adams has a commercial very similar to that of Third Shift’s. The entire commercial is dedicated to real employees  in their real environment, and their love for beer and making beer.

Are they on to something here? These brewing companies are starting to use employer branding to sell beer. Hmmm. Employer branding is still a relatively new concept, and they’re already flipping the script on us. Employer branding has been used to attract and retain good talent, but these companies intend to use it to sell their product.

The Third Shift commercial uses a few quotes targeted at their employer brand :

“A story about loving what you do.”

“When you love your job, you never work a day in your life.”

“When beer is your calling, you never clock out.”

The Sam Adams commercial doesn’t have a script, but rather compelling song called “Overwhelming Song”. As the powerful music plays, we see happy employees having fun together, drinking beer, popping tops, and jumping out of beer vats.

According to HR pro, Christopher Van Mossevelde, “…the consumer/corporate/employer brands are intertwined: If a company is viewed as being an unpopular employer, it will consequently affect everything else and cause disequilibrium in the corporate ecosystem.” So these companies are using this affect on the other end. By building a positive employer brand, they hope to increase sales and popularity.

Third Shift’s brand manager, David Coors  says, “We call it Third Shift to properly honor the brewers who worked through the night in order to pursue their passion of developing something truly unique.” If that’s not using employer branding to sell a product, well then I don’t know what is. Bravo to these brand managers and their companies for embracing employer branding on a larger scale. After all, who doesn’t want to buy from a company that treats their workers right?

Americans have had a tough go of it with the recession and the commonality of lay offs. These companies are essentially giving the factory workers, desk jobs, and hard laborers a pat on the back. Visiting Sam Adam’s home page, it is almost all dedicated to its workers. “From the very beginning, Jim wanted to create a company that he would want to work for.  Creating a culture that celebrated beer with a passion and depth of knowledge that can’t help but be contagious to others.  People at the Boston Beer Company all share a love of great beer.”

This is starting to make some serious sense. They have created a culture in which the employees genuinely love what they do. They aren’t recruiting here, they’re selling. And they’re doing that by letting their customers know that everyone in their company cares about the organization and their product. Investing in your employees is an investment in the success  of your company.

Using employer branding to increase sales is a pretty new concept, one that few companies have embraced. It’s always a beautiful thing when we can use one tool to benefit the organization in a number of ways. Investing in a strong employer brand has endless benefits, so start today.

By Maren Hogan