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  • drive your business forward

Sprinting and Sampling

Checking in with Buchi Kombucha, 2014’s Drive Your Business Forward Winner

Sprinting and Sampling

CHECKING IN WITH BUCHI

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Without a doubt, winning the Drive Your Business Forward contest was one of the defining moments of our company so far. Just as we dreamed it would, our new Sprinter totally turns heads, and has increased our impact at events by degrees of magnitude while decreasing the amount of work, setup and expense.

We took the Sprinter — now known as the #buchimobile — to Knoxville, TN for a Whole Foods grand opening where it generated so much excitement that they are now outselling our hometown of Asheville and have become our #1 selling account! With our Sprinter’s built-in taps, we can afford to give free cups of our kombucha to all of the workers in the stores we visit. In the first 2 weeks on the road we’ve already given away almost 200 cups of kombucha, and sampled out over 50 gallons!

We also just got home from the East Nashville Craft Beer festival where instead of setting up plastic tables and jockey boxes and renting an expensive refrigerated trailer, we were able to pour all of our flavors on tap right from the side of our van with onsite refrigeration. By the middle of the day, the whole festival was buzzing over Buchi, which is amazing considering we were the only non-alcoholic vendor at the beer festival.

YOUR DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS FORWARD ENTRY STORY

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Honestly, we learned about the competition during the final week when submissions were due. For years we had been saving money to buy a Sprinter as our old van “Chewy” (named for the sound she made when driving up hills) was falling apart and starting to cross the line from endearingly glitchy to sketchy and downright dangerous.

We had a genuine need, and had spent many hours on the road daydreaming about what it would be like to get a new van and how we’d use it. With that much desire and forethought, it was easy for us to speak about how a new Sprinter would help “drive our business forward” in a succinct and impactful way.

YOUR CONTEST ENTRY TIPS/ADVICE

What do you think Buchi did with its entry that got it noticed?

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At the core of our approach was taking the time to really listen to the contest requirements and answer all the questions with our entry. We took a calculated risk by hiring a local production company, Industrious Productions, to put together our video. It cost $1,500 for 60 seconds of footage, but in the end our production quality helped set us apart and demonstrated we had the imagination, passion and follow through it would take to make this magical opportunity come to life.

Did you do something special to plan for your submission? Sketch out a “script” for your video?

We started with words, and quickly drafted a script that answered what we heard being asked by Fast Company and Mercedes-Benz. Fitting that amount of information into 60 seconds was a challenge, and it took multiple rewrites and intensive editing to get to something so detail dense but yet digestible.

After we thought we were finished and had recorded audio for the video, we ended up totally rewriting the script two nights before the deadline and replacing it. Something authentic is better than something polished. It also really helped that our designer Josh created a graphic rendering of what the van would look like if we won.

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Did you do any type of research?

We watched previous winners and finalists to see what made companies stand out in the past and started to get a better idea of the kind of story you’d be excited to tell. We also put ourselves in Mercedes-Benz’s position, and thought about what kind of story would get them the most excited, and get the Sprinter the most positive exposure.

In terms of actually making the film, we had recently worked with American Express’ Open Forum in a media feature “documentary style” film, so we already had a good amount of high-energy video content available. We also dedicated an entire day of shooting new footage to tailor our video to this contest to show our dedication and enthusiasm.

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Best piece of advice? Tangible tips of what to include, how to format, etc.

  • Listen to what’s being asked for and answer it.
  • Watch what past winners and finalists have done to get ideas, but be authentic to your brand’s unique expression.
  • Be clear in your vision and communicate the excitement and passion that is already driving your company forward, and how the van could accelerate your inertia.
  • Production quality will separate you from the masses, but sharing your compelling story and vision will take you from there.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR BUCHI

Our dream of offering a healthy, probiotic living food which people enjoy as a social beverage is waking up into a reality, and the Sprinter is definitely helping this happen.

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Now that we have the Buchimobile — we want it on the road as much as possible. We just hired our 9th full time employee to be our events and festival manager, and he’s already busy filling up our calendar with events all over Appalachia and the Rocky Mountains. Who knows, it might even pull up to Fast Company HQ in New York sometime soon. 🙂

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