Author: Sam Wilson – Sales Executive
As the newest member of staff here at exSite Communications the top brass thought it would be interesting to throw me straight into the deep end – the world of corporate conferences. My task was to undertake market research on what’s hot, hip, innovative, trendy and trending with Irish start ups and SME’s. From online branding and digital marketing to product design, for this I was issued an itinerary of conferences and events showcasing Ireland’s freshest start ups and businesses across the country.
For what I thought was an appropriate start to my research into branding, I kicked off at the Irish Craft Beers Expo in the RDS www.irishcraftbeerfestival.ie showcasing some of the country’s budding microbreweries. As a newbie to craft beer, there was no shortage of brewers and beer sommeliers willing to advise me. I started with an easygoing light Pale Ale “Limeburner” from kinnegar brewing.ie, which is reserved for those transitioning from the “Main Brand Filth” mass produced lagers and scourge of the craft beer world. From then on the hard hitting IPA’s such as the Scarlet Pimpernel from killarneybrewing.com to the Seaweed Saisons from the Dungarvan Brewing Company ending with some samples of the small batch Porters such as “Heatsink” from metalmanbrewing.com. There were some stronger featuring beverages on show which came from newly launched distilleries offering some (legal) “Poitín” which had a kick that would put a mule to shame.
Many of the companies showcasing had started off with initial “basic” websites about a year back which were set up on a more or less ad hoc basis to get the info of the company out to the public. However we have found that the trend is pointing to a demand for modern professional sites. The evidence coming from the number of companies coming to us looking to beef up their sites to be mobile responsive with higher levels of content and quality content at that, clean modern layouts and eCommerce functionality. These companies have put more investment into their digital strategy as they understand the importance of proper digital marketing and branding for their produce as the nature of successful beer producers is intrinsically tied to how it is marketed. No point producing the perfect pint if nobody is aware that it exists.
For my latest excursion I was off to Skreggan for the National Ploughing Championships. I may have been one out of a possible three Dubliners for the record breaking 100,000 attendees on the launch day. As I had expected, agricultural business as far as the eyes could see, along with some tractor football and the occasional Marty Morrissey appearance. From what I had seen, trends included the addition of advanced information systems integrated into traditional agricultural processes, a lot of Local Enterprise Board start ups, all of which were either currently engaged in or looking to improve their online presence. Many of which are currently at 1-3 page websites showing the bare min This increase in SME’s looking at the importance of a significant online presence was seen recently in the article featured in the Irish times SME’s becoming increasingly positive about outlook. And of course there were some absolutely fine heads of cattle on show.
To conclude, in Ireland from ploughing to beer, social media and digital marketing is being integrated across the board. The correct application of proper web design and online presence is noticeably as important as the modern cow Herd management systems in agriculture and for brewers’ applications for knowing when your beer has just hit optimal fermentation. The added value of investment in information systems and proper digital marketing is being realised, which can be seen in the number of companies across the conferences and events I have been to with modern html 5 mobile responsive websites.