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Hiker Brewing Co.

Hiker the Brand – Part I

Whilst all the construction work is progressing to schedule, the biggest grey area for us at the moment is around the less physical side of the business, mainly around the Brand and how to market it.  It is really not our area of expertise, and we have looked into getting professional assistance, but due to cost blowouts with the construction phase and budget constraints it’s not something that we can really afford to do at the moment.

I also never found an agency that I felt 110% comfortable with entrusting this important piece of work to, the quotes were rather large, and I wasn’t confident that we were going to get the best bang for our buck. I have reflected on this issue a lot over the past couple of months, as to whether I am too much of a control freak.  I truly don’t believe so, it was just that the people I met with didn’t feel right for this project, whether it was lack of beer branding experience or understanding or whether they were too forward in telling me why I needed them, and fluffed out the services they would provide.

So after a lot of thinking and discussion, we have decided to progress with the development of our brand in house, and whilst it seems daunting I feel it is the right way to go, as we are the founders of the brand, and really should be across its full DNA. 

So it was time to do some research, and crack the process.

So What is a Brand?

Based on a few google searches this is what came up, a brand is : 

  • a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind.
  • a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme.

I was still not 100% sure what all that meant and what the real endgame was.  So I decided to try and articulate it visually, as that is what works for me.  It took me some time to think through things, but I think I now get Branding holistically.  Enter the 4 step approach I developed.

Hiker the Brand – 4 Step Approach

Below is a diagram I developed of what I think the steps are to developing and establishing a brand, and how it applies to Hiker.  I don’t think I will be awarded a PHD for it, as I’m sure it is missing things, but by developing it, it has made me a little more confident about the steps we have taken and need to take in relation to the Hiker Brand.

The Branding Model has 4 stages namely:

  • Brand Name
  • Brand Development
  • Brand Awareness, &
  • Brand Advocacy

Stage 1 : Brand Name

The name of the brewery is important, and needs to reflect the type of business / brewery / experience we want to have. I came up with the name Hiker, whilst of all things actually Hiking!  At this stage owning a brewery was a bit of a pipe dream but I was always thinking of names for my potential brewery.

I wanted a short, sharp name, something that also reflected an active, healthy life, as I love beer and I also like being fit and healthy.  Hiker fit the bill, it ticked all of the boxes, and then I expanded the full name to Hiker Brewing Concern.  A number of people have asked me why Concern and not Company.  Basically the simple answer is I loved the term that is used for another brewery – Big Shed Brewing Concern.  But it became more relevant when I joined forces with Daniel (who owned Ornith, a gyspy brewing brand) , as a Concern is a business that merges together several independent companies into one company under unified management, which is basically what we are.

So that is how we got our name……

Stage 2: Brand Development

The brand development stage is largely complete, with only a few little things to tidy up such as visual identity and finalizing our market positioning. A few things we have finalized include logos, our mission and values.  The mission and values we covered off in the blog post – The Hiker Way

Regarding the logo, this has been an evolution.  Me being a jack of all trades, and having some basic graphic design skills have been refining the logo over the past 2 years.  I really wanted a simple logo which was nice and clean.  The overall concept of mountain peaks has stayed across all the versions, although every time I look at the first version I think of a cracked egg.  The main changes in the last few versions was the font, and its angle.  

The final version included a bird flying above the mountains.  This was added as a nod to Ornith (Daniel’s Gyspy Beer Brand).  We have settled on a number of different logos including a monogram, to try and cater for every situation. Something that I picked up reading Black Hops Book – Operation Brewery.

The main concern I have is how the logos will work on a beer can, and work is starting on that process so time will tell.

I will cover the next two steps – Brand Awareness and Brand Advocacy in my next blog post, as I am still working through how we approach these steps.

Until next time…

Cheers to the journey