Most industries impose an unseen tax on participants trying to stand out, go against that grain or do the right thing or hard thing.
The tax isn’t something regulated by an agency it comes in the form of higher costs, more steps, education, higher wages – all the things that go into trying to build a business that’s more than a simple commodity type copy of everyone else.
While companies that try to move and innovate against an entire entrenched industry may have to work harder to get their message understood and appreciated, when they do, the payoff can be well worth the added effort.
I find that most innovative companies find ways to turn some of the challenges they may face, in order to do it their way, into brilliant marketing strategies that work for them rather than against them.
Let me tell you about just one such innovator.
Boulevard Brewing Company was founded exactly twenty years ago by John McDonald. Boulevard has grown to become one of the largest specialty beer brewers in the Midwest, shipping products to 17 states. McDonald has become a leading voice in the industry for quality and innovation. Part of that commitment to quality came with the fervent belief that beer should be bottled in, well, bottles and not in cans. Even though most of the competition offers can beer for the convenience, Boulevard held out.
As recycling programs became more and more mainstream over the last few years, bottles were often not included in municipal recycling programs, creating a real problem for the glass only brewer.
Boulevard has been working in a solution for a number of years and finally got the local community to support an effort that puts small glass recycling units in hundreds of locations around the Kansas City area. While other community partners participated in bringing the program, operated by Ripple Glass who grinds it and provides it to local fiber glass companies, to reality, Boulevard was at the forefront and is receiving national attention for this first of its kind program.
Boulevard’s glass only innovation teamed with a glass recycling program has turned a problem into a marketing strategy.