Apple Juice

How public relations and social media fueled

How public relations

and social media fueled

the launch of a new hard cider brand.

the launch of a new

hard cider brand.

The backstory

When you’ve got big dreams for your brand without the big budget to get your plans off the ground, an audience engagement strategy can provide the spark you need for liftoff.

Clarksburg Cider, FARM’s sibling company, was entering the Western New York hard cider market. But without the budget for paid media communications at the initial launch, we had to find a low-cost, high-impact way to engage customers, generate excitement, and drive sales. Otherwise, Clarksburg would never find its footing within an already crowded hard cider market.

Agency services:

  • Public relations strategy and media relations
  • Organic social strategy and execution

PR push

We began our earned media approach by developing a public relations plan designed to be executed in two parts. The first was to attract attention to the opening of Clarksburg’s production facility. Then, to continue our momentum, the second was to generate media coverage when Clarksburg’s on-site Tap Room opened.

Segmenting the story into key milestones allowed us to reach out to media at various times over a six-month period. This kept Clarksburg’s growing customer base excited and eager to sample the cider.

Our ongoing efforts included developing press materials, pitching media, and organizing facility tours for the press, key stakeholders, and public officials.

Organic social media

We began our organic social strategy by gaining an understanding of key audience preferences, so we could tailor content to various social platforms. Then, with a platform-specific hashtag strategy, coupled with targeted engagement tactics, we kept our content at the top of news feeds.

To compel our audience to stop their scroll, we developed creative themes and campaigns to highlight Clarksburg Cider’s key differentiators in a market where there are more beer drinkers than hard cider enthusiasts. And of those who know hard cider, many have only experienced the sweeter mainstream varieties—the opposite of Clarksburg’s more sophisticated line-up.

Our content highlighted Clarksburg’s inventive approach to hard-cider making, using cider as a canvas to experiment with various flavor profiles and techniques, including barrel aging and herb infusion. It featured engaging visuals, video, and trending reels. Just as important, we showcased the people behind the brand to help Clarksburg forge a more genuine connection with their customers.

So, how'd we do?

Our PR efforts achieved:

TV features,
one of which was a three-plus-minute segment with our local NBC affiliate.
print stories,
earned multi-photo, above-the-fold features, along with a robust cover story in The Buffalo News’ Gusto.
online pickups,
including a video feature by The Buffalo News.
social posts,
from news outlets, craft enthusiasts, and local food and beverage influencers.

That’s an earned media value exceeding $2,600,000.

That’s an earned media

value exceeding $2,600,000.

For social, we evaluated engagement based on followers during the launch and compared our results to both industry standards (according to Rival IQ) and engagement rates for three of our competitors. Here, we dwarfed the comparative stats on both Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook engagement rate:

Instagram engagement rate:

Do you have a great story to tell,

Do you have a great

story to tell, but

but your audience isn’t exactly

your audience isn’t

exactly perched on the

perched on the edge of their seats?

edge of their seats? 

Stick with us and you

Stick with us and you may end up

may end up needing

extra chairs.

needing extra chairs.

  • Public relations
  • Content marketing
  • Video production
  • Organic and paid social strategy and execution
  • Experiential marketing

Our Take

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