Every so often you see something that makes you sit up and think, “wow, these guys are on the ball.” I saw that from the folks over at Molson this week.
A few weeks ago I received a pitch from Molson’s PR firm inviting me to an event called “Brew 2.0.” As the pitch put it, “[…] to introduce their new breed of brew, [Molson] lined up Brewers Ian Douglass & Bryan Eagan, booked a badass room in the ACC & organized a tasting for the awesomest geeks in Toronto.”
This wasn’t the “wow” moment. To be honest I was originally more than a little confused as to why they invited me, a PR blogger who’s about as likely to write about a new beer as I am to brew it (or so I thought!). Still, it was free beer and I had a free evening so I thought “sure, why not” and agreed to attend.
I approached Molson communications rep Tonia Hammer at the event and asked her that same question. Her response was essentially that they wanted to start to get to know a few folks in the space. Fair enough – I’m open to that.
The rest of the evening was good – you can read more in Tonia’s write-up or Eden Spodek’s post – as expected, beer flowed freely, the people were great and I came away planning to write precisely nothing about the event.
Fast-forward to last week. I was a few days from hosting a barbecue at my house and had invited a bunch of social media types to come on out. Imagine my surprise when I got a direct message on Twitter from Tonia:
“Heard you’re having a bbq this weekend – want to drop off some ‘samples’ for the party!! Let me know when you’re avail. for a beer drop”
I let her know where and when I was free and sure enough, the next day a whole lot of beer arrived at my door. What’s more, Tonia remembered what I was drinking at the Brew 2.0 event and included some of that in the mix.
Would this have worked if Tonia (and Molson) hadn’t already established a relationship with me before hearing about the barbecue? I doubt it. In fact, I probably would have thought it was a little creepy that they found out I was hosting a barbecue.
In reality, Molson’s approach did work – for several reasons:
- They pre-established a relationship with me
- They communicated casually with me (not in bureaubabble)
- They proactively reached out when they saw an opportunity that would genuinely benefit both sides
- They contacted me through the tools that I choose to use
- They didn’t ask me to write anything about their products in return
- In fact, they went to pains to say we weren’t expected to write anything about Brew 2.0 and when it came to the barbecue they didn’t even mention my site.
It was still a risky ploy – I’m sure some people might not have reacted well to being approached like this – but it worked for me. That’s the benefit you get from connecting with people early-on – you learn what works for them and what doesn’t.
- Me, writing this post about their blogger outreach
- Twenty or so people who drank free beer all night and will likely tell their friends all about it
- Photographs like these:
What do you think about this kind of outreach? Would it have worked for you? What would you have done differently?