Emma Hibbert
describes her role at Adnams as one of the best jobs in the world…
Running the marketing at this iconic East Anglian brand…and being the company’s self-proclaimed ‘unofficial beer, wine and gin tester’, we’re inclined to agree...

Talk to us about Adnams…
We’ve a long history and heritage, but we’re still of an agile size which means we can move quickly and innovate. We spotted the trend for craft spirits and beers early on, allowing us to be a real industry leader. We’re proud to have a sense of entrepreneurism that runs through the business. 
As Marketing Director, how do you maximise the Adnams brand?
We’re passionate about storytelling. We believe marketing a brand or product…you know…features and benefits, is just one half of it. Providing consumers with real, unique stories, the stories behind the brand, creates a much enriched environment. Approximately 15,000 people take our brewery or distillery tour each year. They’re always fascinated when they walk past the pretty row of cottages here in the centre of Southwold and learn it’s just a façade. Peering through the windows, you’ll see a working Adnams production line with casks passing by on their way to be filled with beer! 
Many of our suppliers are local. Our grain is grown and malted Norfolk and Suffolk. Consumers care about this, so we make a point of telling them, but it goes further…We run a Barley Growers Club where people can learn, swap and share their ideas - and of course, attending key events such as the Suffolk and Norfolk Shows where we can really engage with people is a major part of our strategy. 
Archant too is a storytelling company with strong local roots, so there’s definite synergy. For many years we have been headline sponsors of the East Anglian Daily Times’ Food & Drink Awards, a fantastic event which champions local producers and tells their success stories – a perfect fit for what Adnams stands for
How important is the role of social media?
Vital. Again, building relationships and immediate two way conversations allows us to interact with our audiences.. We run competitions and our customers send in their pictures, we had them snapping away whilst sipping on Ghost Ship at Halloween for example.
What about traditional media? Does it still have a role to play?
Of course, Archant’s newspapers and magazines have unrivalled localness. In recent years we’ve seen a real move to localism. Adnams, whilst a national brand sponsoring major events such as the Boat Race and Tour of Britain, is still first a foremost a local East Anglian business, putting our region first. We still receive a great response from things like vouchers in the paper to come join us for a pint at our events.
What advice on marketing would you give?
Be focused. You can’t – and often shouldn’t – do everything.. Work out what you want to achieve, then look at the channels best placed to help you. It can be difficult at first so monitor the results and continue tweaking and refining – and keep ahead. SMEs have the advantage of being able to move faster to capitalise on emerging trends – so keep an eye on what’s around the corner in your sector.
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