“Craft cocktails for every occasion”
Hopscotch by Mixes from Mars is a craft cocktail bar tucked within the clandestine courtyard of former traffic police headquarters, Red Dot Traffic. Started in September 2014, Hopscotch has gone on to become one of Singapore’s more notable craft cocktail bars, with features in publications such as Travel and Leisure Magazine Southeast Asia.
The concept of Hopscotch is based on a single mantra; To deliver a quality and noteworthy customer experience. The drinks concept is for the delivery of craft cocktails with a local twist. Each drink incorporates some form of local element, be it in substance, form, or both. Their cocktails also tend to utilize forms of molecular mixology techniques, along with their favourite local themed shots.
Drawing inspiration from the game, Hopscotch also has a games corner, which features retro games which locals once enjoyed as kids. Hospcotch seeks to creates a unique experience through cocktails, the nostalgic games area, stir-fried wok food as well as friendly and outgoing staff.
Current problems faced by Hopscotch
-Lack of weekday crowd: the venue is packed on Fridays, Hopscotch, however, faces an issue with drawing a decent crowd on any other day (even Saturdays). Some of this is attributed to the rather obscure location in the heart of the Central Business District, and the lack of a working crowd on Saturdays.
-Lack of brand awareness online: With a small following online, most of the customers are referred to the bar by word of mouth.Despite Hopscotch’s poor visibility from a crowd, and it’s rather speakeasy nature, the bar has been rather successful in drawing a good number of regulars. But relying on such archaic methods is unsustainable as the growth of customer base is slow and its name gets lost in the chatter in comparison to its more vocal competitors.
Why Social Media for Hopscotch?
Current customer demographic and target audience
Hopscotch’s current customer demographic is formed mostly of young working professionals between 26 and 40 years old, and have a good mix of both males and females. A sizeable portion of these patrons come from the people working nearby in the CBD area. However, statistics on the bar’s social media page reveals that more than 80% of fans and users engaging its social media platform are from the 18-34 year old age category. This reveals a mismatch between the current crop of customers and the demographic that Hopscotch appeals to. Consequently, this also presents an opportunity to tap on a currently unexplored demographic of late teens and young adults.
Therefore, an ideal Hopscotch customer is an individual aged between 20-40 years old, one who is looking for a unique drinking experience and a no-frills environment to enjoy the company of friends. Its customers are active on social media, so must Hopscotch!
The Power of Social Media for F&B Outlets
The 2013 Green Hasson Janks Food & Beverage Industry Survey indicate that more than three-quarters (78.9 percent) of respondents report that social media has a significant impact on their company. The difference between social media and traditional websites is the two-directional content. More specifically, business need to allow customers to give their opinions and feedback (Janks, G.H. ,2013).
A Paper Review of Credibility of Media Sources found that for mid to high interest group individuals, as our ideal customer would fall under, peer sources are considered more reliable and effective in creating buyer intent. With every Facebook user a potential peer contributor, the peer source review of Hopscotch can go a long way in creating a reputation for the business, as well as a community of followers.
How is Hopscotch’s social media doing currently?
After 2 years, Hopscotch has less than 2000 likes on Facebook, a dismal growth rate of 6% over 2 months and a total of 300 interactions over 30 post, which is an astoundingly poor 10 per post.
Several key competitors have been narrowed down based on the type of demographics that the bars cater too.
It can be observed clearly that Hopscotch bar is trailing behind on social media marketing with less than 2000 likes. Being a bar that is 2 years old, it is trailing behind competitor TESS bar which was opened just last year. It becomes pertinent that Hopscotch has to improve on its social media platforms to keep up with its competitors.
Current Marketing Strategies
Interview with Founder Takeaways: Hopscotch markets a lot through word of mouth, stemming from the initial networks of the co-owners, and stretching on to include the networks of regular patrons.
Hopscotch also relies strong press coverage on media channels such as “The Straits Times”, “Honey Combers”, and “City Nomads” for their initial crowd. The flow of articles however, have slowed down significantly. And also due to the influx of many newer bars, the word of mouth marketing process however, has been rather slow. People seem to forget that Hopscotch is present.
On social media front, all of Hopscotch’s platforms are personally managed by the owners and only through Facebook and Instagram. Content includes posts about the staff, drinks, games, promotions, and upcoming events and happenings. The owners currently do not use the Facebook boosting function due to cost constraint, and lack of familiarity. On further discussing with the owners, we also found out that they do not have an in house marketing team, which is quite a normal case for many small businesses.
Here are some of the key areas we have identified where they are lacking:
How does Hopscotch leverage on social media to overcome its challenges?
Objectives and Goals
Embracing Hopscotch’s unique value proposition of unique craft cocktails presented in interesting ways, meaningful customer service, pleasing vibes, and the fact that the drinks are rather expensive; the team has come to the realization that marketing Hopscotch Bar is akin to marketing a luxury product, where the prices of products and services are high, but promises an experience like no other. Our team has come up with the slogan of “an experience like no other”.
Goals set the course for any campaign. Our goals align with Hopscotch’s theme of building an organic following based on the experience being sold. We intend to kickstart the campaign with some immediate buzz, followed by a constant stream of good and effective content distribution and long run audience building.
Strategy 1: Integration of Refined Content Creation
Canva is a free and easy to use graphic design software that can serve its purpose as a content creation tool for Hopscotch. As a bar operating in the nightlife/F&B industry, attractive and visually appealing collateral is key to set any business apart from the myriad of competitors out there. Canva allows a user with little to zero background experience to create beautiful posts to capture the attention of our audiences online.
Fig 1. Sample post created for Hopscotch within 5 mins with Canva
1.2 Emphasis on creating good social media posts:
We want to exact very high post standards for Hopscotch to follow in order to keep up with its peers:
Use bright, well-lit and eye catching photos – This allows our followers to have something aesthetically pleasing to the eye when they see our posts so that they can associate positive sentiments towards Hopscotch.
Match and pair fonts – Another method to create visually appealing posts is to do font matching. According to Canva, a suitable font that Hopscotch can consider is Montserrat, as it portrays a contemporary feel that is simple yet effective (Pack, 2015).
Post at relevant timings –In an interview that was conducted with the editor of Whatsnextsg, a local lifestyle blog, He reported based on his company’s social media statistics, the optimal time for posts on social media in Singapore are meal times. We focused to posting during meal times and have noted an increase in the number of likes.
By posting at consistent meal timings that is tested and proven by an influential media outlet, it allows Hopscotch to be consistent in their social media posts which allows followers to know when to expect content from us. In the long run, this might inculcate a sense of familiarity in them, such that they can look forward to fresh updates from us during meal times on a consistent basis.
Connect captions and pictures/videos – After going through Hopscotch’s social media feed, we have identified some posts that mentioned their new and unique cocktails but the post was a shot of their bartender and not the cocktail itself. This is not effective as followers are not able to visualize the new cocktails that Hopscotch wants to market. We recommend that there has to be a link between the subject matter of the post and what is in the pictures/videos so that the followers are able to understand the entirety of the posts instead of feeling confused by the mismatch between the subject matter and image.
Diversify post mediums and content – Hopscotch has primarily been utilizing photos and snapshots of their bar, cocktails or people. Hopscotch should consider a two pronged approach to improve their outreach. Firstly, they should diversify the mediums that they employ to include YouTube/Facebook videos or even snapchat. This would be useful because the followers will get bored of merely looking at static photos of Hopscotch. Secondly, Hopscotch should consider diversifying their content as well. They should explore coming up with creative and novel ways to subtly market themselves, such as interesting videos on how their cocktails are made and so on. This diversification will allow followers to be constantly surprised by our content, and will set Hopscotch apart from its competitors as well.
Create links and call to actions – According to Thomas & Brook-Carter (2011), interaction with customers is a very effective method to market the brand. Therefore, we intend to create posts that will allow customers to like and share our page, and by doing so, they stand a chance to win free cocktails. Letting users be a part of this campaign allows greater interaction, and this will make them become more attached to the brand (Thomas & Brook-Carter, 2011).
Encourage staff to share posts – Currently, content is only shared to fans of the hopscotch Facebook page. By encouraging staff and co-owners to share such content on their personal social media accounts, we can tap onto their existing networks. According to the Social Network Theory , this would be beneficial to us especially if they have high closeness, centrality and betweenness in the social groups that they belong to.
1.3 Establish Partnerships with Media Producers
The third strategy is to establish partnerships with media producers so that Hopscotch bar is able to leverage on additional content such as videos to expand the social media reach of its different platforms. Our group managed to get media production company, Orhsome Productions, to help take a corporate video of Hopscotch’s 2nd year anniversary to test the effectiveness of a good viral video marketing strategy. The reach of this video has since hit the 10k mark, and has 4.8k views. This is indicative that having such videos, on top of the conventional posts, is indeed very effective as a marketing strategy and helps to contribute to our larger aim of promoting ‘an experience like no other’ at Hopscotch Bar.
What we propose is that Hopscotch continue to build such relations with media producers so that from time to time, we can leverage on the effectiveness of such videos online to gain a larger following in our various social media platforms in the long run
2. Media Outreach for audience building
Media Networking Event
The last short term strategy is to host a unique media networking event/drinks tasting event to spread awareness that Hopscotch bar actually exists.
In Singapore, the press and media has always been the key channel of distribution to the public. They have a significantly large reach to the general populace. Therefore, on top of just inviting social media influencers like most of the businesses are doing, we intend to invite Tier 1 and Tier 2 media stakeholders as well. This includes people from the traditional press, radio, television and popular lifestyle blogs such as Honeycombers, Nightdowhat, Ieatishootipost Whatsnextsg, Smart Local and the like. We can reach out to hundreds and thousands of followers if the bar can showcase its chops effectively. The brand should engage in conversations with the attendees to build rapport with these media stakeholders, which will only put the bar in an even better light
Fig 2. Instagram worthy items that may end up on the social media accounts if given the opportunity
Long Term Strategies
Our strategies in long haul for Hopscotch will focus heavily on creating an online presence and audience. A strong online community not only gives the brand credibility, but also allows Hopscotch a platform to interact with its members, creating brand loyalty and awareness and solving the dreaded weekday slum.
1. Share for Shots Giveaway
A proposed weekly contest held on Hopscotch’s relevant social media platforms, “Share for Shots” aims to engage and educate the public using product incentives.
The advantages of having such a simple, yet engaging campaign, is its effectiveness in building and educating the brand’s fan base. Likes from the contest allow us to physically acquire followers, thoughts on which product contestants would like to try prevent contestants to actually do research and educate themselves on the brand and its products; no shot can be consumed online, and winners will have to physically make their way down to the bar, which may lead to sales on site and further exposure when they post their review of the products online.
2. Comprehensive Content Schedule
We assisted the founders overcome some of the challenges they face with social media, we came up with a complete content strategy for Facebook for the entire month of December, 2016. Post schedule will focus a lot on featuring their brand and its product through informative and engaging product posts and events schedule. However, this should be done in tandem with post about staff and customers, in order to perpetrate Hopscotch’s image as a bar for friends and the Singaporean drinking community and create a more relatable online impression for its followers. Timings are in strict adherence to meal times, and mediums varied.
3. Press Distribution
We came up with a simple and comprehensive press kit for Hopscotch to engage media outlets with. The straightforward layout aims to allow for key information on drinks and the bar etc. to stand out and eye-catching visuals to entreat journalist to cover Hopscotch due to its unique products. Press distribution is also a cost-efficient method of creating brand awareness and building audiences as media kits are created in house, distributed over email and picked up by interested media outlets at no cost most of the time. The articles generated create substantial outreach for the brand on each outlet’s extensive follower base and lends credibility to the brand as it is now associated with reputable media outlets.
Fig 3. Results after 2 short months reveals promise for such a strategy
4. Influencer Marketing
Soh Pei Si (@speishi) hosted her 21st birthday at Hopscotch and talked about on her relevant social media platforms. Multiple enquiries were made to Hopscotch thereafter about using the venue for similar events and for reservations. The reach and pull of these celebrities is definitely something Hopscotch should explore as it has proven to work particularly well for their business in particular.
We recommend they explore reaching out to prominent social media influencers with the opportunity to host their events for free at Hopscotch’s venue, in exchange for the possibility of spontaneous coverage for the brand. Similarly, paid partnerships in the form of bar ambassadors can be looked at to create strong brand associations with such noteworthy influencers like Lady Iron Chef and Seth Lui.
5. Events platform
Hopscotch should look to explore priming its premises as an event’s venue for weekday corporate events. A stone’s throw from the corporate businesses in CBD area and other tertiary institutes like Singapore Management University, Hopscotch can use social media to provide awareness of this ideal events venue for the relevant organizations.Using the power of corporate social media like Linkedin to fulfil B2B services as corporate events host instead of relying on typical B2C publicity, which is unlikely to work because there’s high resistance towards leisure on typical weekdays. Especially since weekday evening events are usually popular amongst businesses.
Monitoring the progress since the team started managing Hopscotch’s Facebook page, we have achieved much within this short time span of one and a half months. The page fan base grew tremendously, and we were extremely lucky to be able to capitalize on Hopscotch’s second anniversary to promote much of our content.
During this period, Hopscotch is also able to garner its three all-time best posts in terms of engagements and reach. The executive team at Hopscotch were extremely happy with our results, and we personally hope that the owners will continue adopting the long term strategies we have charted for Hopscotch Bar.
See you at Hopscotch soon!
Lemuel Low, Roger Yip, Peh Jun Jie