Japanese craft spirits (i.e. shochu and awamori) are relatively unknown in the U.S., so the Japanese Consulate in Los Angeles asked for our help to get the word out about activities they had planned. They wished to reach a gatekeeper audience of bartenders, restaurant owners, bartending schools, culinary schools, chefs and media to promote a series of promotional events to educate the public on Japanese cuisine and craft spirits.
We executed a combination of email marketing, social media marketing, and influencer outreach. Email marketing activities included outreach to 500 bartender contacts to seek applications for participation in the month-long event; Email offers to bartenders and restaurant owners around Los Angeles to invite them to a special “Savor Japanese Craft Spirits” reception; Invitation to all audiences to attend a special lecture and tasting on Awamori. The project also included outreach to bartending and culinary schools to get both volunteers to help with the events and to participate in a lecture and demo on Washoku, the cuisine of Japan. Finally, we also generated social posts and advertising to promote the events.
It was a tough sell, but we were moderately successful. Each of the events was well attended by key contacts and gatekeepers. The emails open rate averaged around 27% which is better than expected, given the national averages. We reached around 10,000 people via social activities for a very small spend. Media was modest and regional, but it helped get the word out to a broader audience.