You might think imagination is key to innovation, but to me, imagination came after listening. A true focus on what the people in front of me needed when their words could only describe what they knew existed.
A couple of years ago, I was meeting new potential clients, who asked me to write a PR plan for them to enter the beer market in Israel. “We just finished production on 3 different types of hand-crafted beer, it’s heaven in a bottle, and we need people to know about it, so it’ll be easier for us to enter hotels, restaurants & bars, liquor stores and direct sell through our website.”
I enjoy a good beer and was well experienced in promoting new and old brands in my area, so initially the plan was meant to be straight forward. Only now, that I had promoted so many small breweries in Israel, I knew how difficult and frustrating it was going to be for them to sell what they created.
See, people always start a business when they know they can make something people will want, but reaching people is a completely different set of skills and so much hard work. The beer brand needed to hire and manage salespeople to convince other people to sell their brand to the venue’s local customers and shoppers. In no time, the small, beautiful makers become just another product on a shelve full of other brands and makers – a live version of “99 bottles of beer on the wall.” And within 3 years, most of these new and exciting makers will go out of business.
“Why don’t we reach your potential new customers and start growing your business by giving them the full experience of who you are?” I suggested. “We will do pop-up bars in selected homes around the country, the homeowners will bring their friends and invite the local community and I’ll go to the press saying we started a new movement and call it “AirbnBeer”!
They loved the idea but didn’t want to go through with it thinking it’ll hurt them in the long run with entering other selling points. I won the brewery’s account but lost my own desire to keep running through the same channels to try and achieve a different outcome. I closed my PR office, decided that 17 years was enough public relations time for me, and decided to build this idea as an online product and as a new way to reach potential shoppers for small brands who want to grow their business.
Just like any other business, startup, or company, I know I am making something people want, now the job is to reach the right people to spread the word, to host, to take part in a new form of shopping experience, and always depend on YOU to your shoppers to sell you best! Good luck to us, good luck to independent creators and makers, good luck to amazing hosts!