26 Brix is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bullet Consulting and will be operated independently from Bullet Consulting. It’s expected to launch by July 2012. Whereas Bullet Consulting serves clients across a range of industries, 26 Brix will focus exclusively on restaurants and wineries.
Needless to say, food and wine are very different from high tech and financial services. The needs are different. The kinds of people who work in these industries are different. The end customers are different. Clients in the food and wine industry require different services than the kinds of services that Bullet Consulting provides. For these reasons and others, I felt that serving this market would require a new name and visual identity, new messaging, and a new website.
Why the change – and why focus or restaurants and wineries? Toward the end of 2011 and into early 2012, I spent several months thinking deeply about my business and where it was going, and about my passions and what I love. Then, serendipitously, I happened to read a blog post by Alder Yarrow, a well-known wine writer, about the growing importance of social media for wineries:
“In an increasingly globalized world, where consumers are living, learning, connecting, and buying online, anyone who wants to sell a product in a competitive marketplace must be engaging their customers online.” – Alder Yarrow, Vinography
This was an epiphany. It occurred to me that while restaurants and wineries need to compete online like every other business, few of them have a clear idea of how to do that. Technology is not their core competency or their focus. They could use some help.
Moreover, I have the experience to bridge these two worlds. I worked for 15 years in the food industry, including nearly every restaurant job possible, and I’ve never lost my love for the business. After leaving the restaurant business around 1998, I spent nearly 15 years in high-tech marketing, including the last couple of years as a freelance consultant. During my time as a consultant, I’ve worked with small businesses on web marketing, building websites, and developing email marketing programs. I’ve also immersed myself in social media and SEO. The combined experience enables me on the one hand to speak the language of prospective clients and share their passion – and on the other, to offer them a service that they know they need but are not skilled in themselves.
And they need it. Increasingly, their customers expect an online and social media presence, especially Gen Y consumers. This generation of people born after 1980 (roughly speaking) is becoming the dominant consumer block in the US. Gen Y consumers have grown up with the Internet, mobile phones, and social media. They expect the companies they do business with to be online, to be active in the world of social media (including apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare), and to be easily accessed from a mobile phone.
"With a population of roughly 75 million, or 25% of the total US population, Gen Y is estimated to be the largest consumer group in US history, according to McKinsey. Gen-Y's annual spending power, which already exceeds $200 billion, is expected to eclipse Boomers' by 2017." For more information, see this article.
At the same time, restaurants and wineries don’t have the luxury of experimenting. Their time is precious and their margins are tight. If they invest time and money into something like a new website or a social media campaign, they need to see real, measurable value as soon as possible.
That’s where 26 Brix comes in. Our goal will be to provide online marketing and social media services in a way that is measurable and affordable, so small businesses can make the investment without fear of unnecessary risk (due to time and cost), and so they can see the impact of their investment. In fact, that’s what differentiates us from other agencies: our emphasis on results.