• PARTING WITH PROFIT, SHIFTING STRATEGY, AND BUILDING CONSUMER LOYALTY

ABOUT OGDEN’S OWN

Ogden’s Own is the largest independent distillery in Utah. Founded in 2009, the distillery has gained notoriety for its unique expressions and its often-satirical playfulness on stereotypes in its home state – perhaps best known for its Five Wives Vodka, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Utah’s Mormonism that drove national attention to the brand after being outlawed in the state of Idaho (with Ogden’s Own eventually emerging victorious in the state’s Supreme Court). Since its inception, Ogden’s Own has championed freedom of expression and has backed up their vocal support by bringing awareness and financial assistance to marginalized and underserved communities. Their wide portfolio of expressions, including Five Wives, Madam Pattirini Gin, Porter’s Whiskeys and Underground Herbal Spirit, ensures that any customer can find a product that is suitable to their palate at a reasonable price point. A massively popular brand in its own backyard, achieving national recognition in a brutally competitive industry has been a longstanding mission for Ogden’s Own and a primary goal for their PR and Digital Media partnership with GreenRoom.

MISSION

When the Coronavirus pandemic arrived in full force in March 2020, it proved to be an inflection point for companies spanning nearly every industry, alcohol & spirits included. With Ogden’s Own relying heavily on the local food and beverage community to serve their products at bars and restaurants, the company could have easily halted operations and cut expenses when this revenue stream cratered. Instead, on the wings of its rock-solid leadership and a compassion to do right by everyone possible, Ogden’s Own took matters into its own hands and leaned on GreenRoom to help them achieve something remarkable: a full-scale shift in operations towards supporting their local and regional community to weather the storm and make it through COVID-19.

APPROACH

From Day 1 of this shift in tactics, GreenRoom operated as an extension of Ogden’s Own’s business in its truest form. As the brand’s PR and Digital Media agency partner for nearly a year, GreenRoom had previously focused on building Ogden’s Own’s credibility and awareness in both the local and national spotlight, securing product reviews and features with key media, stewarding community management on social platforms, and developing engaging digital content. However, as soon as the Coronavirus outbreak reached critical levels, Ogden’s Own valued the partnership that GreenRoom had provided them over the months so strongly that the company entrusted the agency to lead a dramatic shift in programming, the deployment of community-oriented tactics specifically designed to provide relief and assistance to those most critically affected by COVID-19.

Immediately, Ogden’s Own provided transparent communication with GreenRoom to aid in supporting the brand’s efforts. Crafting aggressive outreach plans to mirror the monumental shifts in the business and completely reworking an entire month of social content virtually overnight, the agency had to be as nimble as the Ogden’s Own team to remain in lockstep. The strategy was centered around disseminating critical information to keep a community safe rather than any element of self-promotion.

As such, the brand has not only been lauded for its generous actions, but also for its authentic communication and its accessibility to both its local community in-person and its large following on social media, in part due to the efforts of GreenRoom. By providing round-the-clock community management and messaging support, along with asset generation and media relations, GreenRoom ensured that Ogden’s Own had a voice that resonated in both the local and national landscape. Part of these tactics included stepping far outside of the traditional scope of work to make sure phone calls and messages were acknowledged in a timely manner, including direct interfacing with consumers seeking hand sanitizer, as well as inquiries from corporate & government representatives. With all members of the Ogden’s Own team working to fulfill sanitizer orders for the local government, first responders, hospitals and those most at risk, they were overwhelmed by the avalanche of questions and public interest. In response, GreenRoom not only took on the social engagements but also fielded incoming calls that were directed to the brand to ensure customers had the most updated information.

TIMELINE

March 2020
Ogden’s Own has never been shy about crediting the local community for embracing the brand over the last decade and building it from a two-person concept to a multi-million dollar business. With this in mind, back in mid-March, Ogden’s Own CEO Steve Conlin took the first step towards helping those in need with a bold pledge: to donate 100% of its profits made in March and April to members of the local Utah food and beverage community, specifically, the service staff – bartenders, chefs, waiters and waitresses – that are the backbone of the industry that’s helped them flourish.

April 2020
Taking the pledge a step further, recognizing the widespread need for hand sanitizer in the wake of a national shortage, Conlin and the Ogden’s Own team saw the opportunity to use their existing infrastructure to begin producing the commodity for local residents, using a recipe sanctioned by the FDA to begin batching it nearly overnight. Instead of solely focusing on producing Five Wives Vodka, Madam Pattirini Gin or Porter’s Whiskey, enter Five Wives Hand Sanitizer. To-date, Ogden’s Own has now produced more than 40,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for first responders, local government entities, regional corporations, and members of the local community, with no plans of slowing down.

May 2020
Ogden’s Own continued to identify communities in critical need of their assistance. In May 2020, the community in perhaps the most need of any in the entire country was the Navajo Nation, the Native American group spanning a cross-section of four US states including Utah and grappling with alarmingly high numbers of positive cases and community spread. Recognizing a need to act quickly, Ogden’s Own donated thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to the much-maligned Navajo Nation, hand-delivering multiple bulk shipments in the tens of thousands of gallons.

TIMELINE

March 2020
Ogden’s Own has never been shy about crediting the local community for embracing the brand over the last decade and building it from a two-person concept to a multi-million dollar business. With this in mind, back in mid-March, Ogden’s Own CEO Steve Conlin took the first step towards helping those in need with a bold pledge: to donate 100% of its profits made in March and April to members of the local Utah food and beverage community, specifically, the service staff – bartenders, chefs, waiters and waitresses – that are the backbone of the industry that’s helped them flourish.

April 2020
Taking the pledge a step further, recognizing the widespread need for hand sanitizer in the wake of a national shortage, Conlin and the Ogden’s Own team saw the opportunity to use their existing infrastructure to begin producing the commodity for local residents, using a recipe sanctioned by the FDA to begin batching it nearly overnight. Instead of solely focusing on producing Five Wives Vodka, Madam Pattirini Gin or Porter’s Whiskey, enter Five Wives Hand Sanitizer. To-date, Ogden’s Own has now produced more than 40,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for first responders, local government entities, regional corporations, and members of the local community, with no plans of slowing down.

May 2020
Ogden’s Own continued to identify communities in critical need of their assistance. In May 2020, the community in perhaps the most need of any in the entire country was the Navajo Nation, the Native American group spanning a cross-section of four US states including Utah and grappling with alarmingly high numbers of positive cases and community spread. Recognizing a need to act quickly, Ogden’s Own donated thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to the much-maligned Navajo Nation, hand-delivering multiple bulk shipments in the tens of thousands of gallons.

RESULTS

On the PR side, the agency thrust itself into lending real-time counsel and deployment of communication to manage the rampant consumer demand for hand sanitizer. Recognizing the role that the distillery was playing as a regional leader, GreenRoom leaned on its relationships with the local media in Utah and the surrounding states to facilitate media interviews for Ogden’s Own CEO, Steve Conlin, and spotlight features for Ogden’s Own across the digital, print and broadcast platforms.

From March-May 2020 alone, GreenRoom achieved:

  • More than 25 individual pieces of broadcast coverage spanning television, radio and podcasts
  • 20+ pieces of print coverage in leading regional newspapers and magazines
  • More than 75 online placements
  • 80+ million combined digital impressions, print readers and households reached

As momentum snowballed regionally, national media outlets soon caught wind of what the distillery was doing and the lengths they were going to selflessly help others. Soon, GreenRoom was able to transform this word-of-mouth into nationally facing media coverage with outlets including Fodor’s, The Takeout, Grit Daily,NBC affiliates in California & Texas, and more. This volume of results was unprecedented to the distillery and sparked a chain reaction: by virtue of the brand’s philanthropic efforts, there was a direct correlation in consumer demand for the spirits in the Ogden’s Own portfolio.

GreenRoom’s Digital Team likewise played a critical role as a mouthpiece for the brand. The social pages exploded and from March-May 2020, generating over 5 million impressions (a 1,068% increase from the same time last year), over 330k engagements (a 645% increase), drove 24k consumers to our distributors’ website (a 533% increase) and increased our follower base by 15k (a 4,162% increase).
As part of the agency’s community management, several incoming messages of gratitude, brand loyalty and enthusiasm about the brand abounded! A few standouts from Facebook:

On social, the agency launched the #SupportLocal Giveaway to support the local communities, giving away gift cards Ogden’s Own purchased that were to local bars & restaurants. This initiative was one component of the Digital Team’s larger strategy, focused squarely on managing social media communication, launching interactive campaigns, amplifying user generated content and sharing the brand’s actions with the world.

Moving Forward
What a difference six months makes – at the beginning of 2020, nobody (not even Ogden’s Own), would have expected that a Utah distillery would be relied upon as an essential resource for its entire state, but through nimble execution and a passion for helping those in need, that’s exactly what’s happened – and Ogden’s Own has no intentions of stopping any time soon.

Looking ahead, GreenRoom has its sights set on harnessing the mindshare, integrity and reliability that these efforts have established for the brand in the hearts of consumers, and leveraging it into increased success for Ogden’s Own on a national level. Everyone wants to support brands that they not only enjoy consuming, but also serve a greater purpose. The last few months have shown that supporting Ogden’s Own is an easy decision for anyone to make, and GreenRoom sees continued opportunity to be instrumental in accelerating that recognition.