If your signature beer is a dark stout, why not carry the darkness theme throughout your whole company? Surly Brewery in Minneapolis has done just that and modeled their whole organization along with a brusque theme.

No light fluffiness or pumpkin spice here: their beers have names like  Overrated, Furious, Todd the Axe Man, Fiery Hell, Cynic, Sour and Dumpster Fire. Their corporate volunteerism is called “Give a Damn”. Their website is in dark colors and sassy language.

And it’s working for them. They produce over 29 million pints/year. Their city-block-sized Beer Hall and pizza gardens are overflowing. The gift store is a tourist attraction in itself.

Not all messaging or themes need to be full of unicorns and rainbows. Use Surly’s darkness as an example of how authenticity in your branding can shine the light on your products.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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