Pay disparity between men and women is an issue that has not gone away. The 2017 Cascade Cycling Classic, the longest consecutively run elite stage race in the country, is not immune. The Elite Men’s overall winner was scheduled to earn a $2,951 payday for his efforts during the five-day stage race. The Elite Women’s winner was to receive $225 for the same effort over the same five days.

    As a result of this disparity, DVA Advertising & Public Relations set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the top three overall elite female finishers in the 2017 race, with a goal of raising $15,954 – the difference between the total Elite Men’s and Elite Women’s prize purses.

    “What kind of message does it send to young women who might be interested in cycling, that their male counterparts are earning more than 13 times the amount of prize money for the same or similar effort?” said Justin Yax, a partner at DVA Advertising & Public Relations. “As an agency of cyclists, and as fans of the sport and its importance to the Central Oregon community, we felt there was an opportunity to step in and help out where the UCI was restricting the good intentions of race organizers.”

    To the credit of race organizers, the Cascade Cycling Classic has distributed equal prize money for both the men’s and women’s elite winners for the past six years. in 2017, due to restrictions placed on the distribution of prize money by the International Cycling Union (UCI), race organizers had little flexibility when establishing the following prize money payouts for the Elite Men’s and Elite Women’s overall winners:

    All money DVA raised was distributed to the top three overall Elite Female finishers, proportionate to the current payout amounts. The first place overall finisher received 45 percent of the money raised, the second place finisher received 33 percent, and third place received 22 percent.

    We kicked off the fundraising effort with an initial contribution of $500, and hopes other individuals and organizations throughout Central Oregon and beyond will see this as an opportunity to help level the playing field, so to speak, with regard to this year’s Cascade Cycling Classic. In the end, more than $15,000 was added to the women’s prize purse, including $6,500 in community donations. More importantly, our efforts were noticed by UCI President, Brian Cookson.

    “We are hopeful this fundraising effort will send a clear message to all the women competing in the 2017 Cascade Cycling Classic that they are appreciated, respected, and valued,” said Yax. “Gender equality and pay disparity continue to plague this country, and the more awareness we can bring to the issue, the better. The outpouring of support has been nothing short of remarkable, in the first 24 hours alone we received more than 70 donations ranging in size from $10 to $1,000. And perhaps more importantly, the community is engaged in an important conversation about equality.”

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  • Lessons Bend Breweries can Learn from the Chicago Beer Industry

    By Natalie Ulum

    In a city that is already home to roughly 200 breweries, competition for tap handles and shelf space is fierce. Chicago’s Goose Island breweries were acquired by Anheuser-Busch in 2011, putting the Windy City in a national spotlight, and giving local brewers hope that they could also be recognized across the United States one day. But Rebecca Skoch of AdWeek found that it hasn’t stopped more hopeful entrepreneurial brewers from entering the increasingly saturated market.

    If you live in Bend, this probably sounds familiar.

    Bend boasts roughly one brewery for every 4,500 people and has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 5 Beer Capitals in the U.S., a truly impressive statistic for such a relatively small city. Local favorite 10 Barrel Brewing was acquired by Anheuser-Busch just 3 years after Goose Island. In addition to breweries, there are also wineries, cideries, and distilleries that call Central Oregon home and also compete in the local craft beverage market.
    Because of the similar market climates in Chicago and Bend, local brewers can look to the Windy City for ideas that could bring them success here on the west coast. Skoch highlighted two strategies breweries in Chicago have utilized to stand out among the competition: taprooms and food.

    Opening a taproom or brewpub is a great way to reach a local audience and build loyalty that will open up retail and tap space for a brewery and expand future distribution opportunities. Chicago entrepreneurs have also found that opening a taproom has been a financially stable first step to expanding their business because the brewery profits directly from its success.

    Chicago brewers are thinking outside typical brewery food. They have a new way of approaching the taproom experience that makes the food just as important as the beer. Some brewers have made their fare more elegant, while others have differentiated themselves by crafting beers that pair with their food, or a food that is already popular.

    Skoch also interviewed the beverage director at Heisler Hospitality in Chicago, Michael McAvena, who summarized the keys to success in a crowded brewery market, saying:

    “To start now and grow, based solely on Chicago-only beer sales, breweries really have to get things right. They have to brew great beer, they have to have a good business plan, they have to have good financial backing, their cost has to be right, their brand has to look good, and they have good sales people on the street… If they’re staying locally focused and keep checking those other boxes… they’ll have an opportunity to compete and succeed.”

    Investing in professional marketing and public relations services from an agency like Bend’s DVA will help an entrepreneur take their brewery to the next level and check all those boxes. It can improve the quality of beer a brewery produces by allowing brewery owners to focus on their craft and aid in attracting enthusiastic employees. DVA offers many services that can help a brewery “check the boxes” McAvena said will allow a brewery grow and thrive a jam-packed market, and their experience has shown two especially impactful ones are branding and marketing.

    McAvena stated that an attractive brand is key to the success of a brewery in Chicago. DVA has an exceptional design team that can craft a brand concept that captures what makes a brewery unique and has lasting quality. Developing a branding strategy also takes branding to another level. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to make that business everything to everyone, and lose their individuality in the process. DVA experts know how to leverage those precious few qualities that truly differentiate a brewery from all the others, and make a plan for how a business owner can consciously support that uniqueness every single day. One great example of excellent branding strategy comes from Cruz Blanca, a Chicago brewery that was ranked the #4 best brewery in the United States. They differentiate themselves from other breweries in Chicago by gathering inspiration from the explosion of cultural diversity in 1860’s Mexico City, pairing new interpretations of classic Austrian, German, and French beers with smoky Mexican tacos.

    A good business plan is perhaps the most important key McAvena outlined, but it can be more difficult than he makes it sound. DVA offers strategic planning services which helps a brewery owner strengthen their business plan by identifying strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, and create a plan that optimizes them to achieve an entrepreneur’s goals. It also communicates the focus and goals of the brewery to employees and empowers them to be “good sales people on the street.” DVA can then take a good business plan to the next level by using marketing strategies that strengthen it. They create marketing campaigns that stand out and become recognizable in the Bend community, such as the St. Charles Cancer Center’s “Treating the Big C” campaign, because they approach marketing in a way that is not only creative, but is also strategically targeted to achieve actual business goals.

    Chicago brewers have found many ways to gain a competitive advantage in the beer market there, from differentiating themselves by the food they serve to instilling a more stable financial structure. But if local brewers can learn anything from looking at Chicago, it is that although the brewery market in Bend is crowded, there is still room for more hopeful brewers or small breweries to succeed if they can communicate their unique voice to customers and get the right mix of business strategies.

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