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, which is to modify the textures of certain ingredients for an enhanced gastronomical experience. Besides the cocktails, Hopscotch also bolsters a wide array of local themed shots, which include nostalgic favourites such as the “Bandung shot”, “Ondeh Ondeh shot”, as well as a “Milo Dinosaur shot”
Drawing inspiration from the game, Hopscotch also has a games corner, which features retro games which locals once enjoyed as kids. Some of them include “Jenga”, “Crocodile Dentist” and “Snap”, favourites of patrons looking to have some friendly competition with friends. The bar also features a classic dart board, and a foosball table, which have proven popular with patrons.
A bar is intended as a place to feel comfortable and relaxed, and Hospcotch seeks to do just that through cocktails, the nostalgic games area, stir-fried wok food as well as friendly and outgoing staff. 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.
Usually, 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.
- Most competitors have larger social media presence in general and greater engagement.
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.
Current Marketing Strategies
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 relied upon the 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.
Social Media: F&B Industry
Most FNB outlets tend to have a social media page. Although less measurable in terms of ROI, many adopters find social media to be rather useful in improving business sales in the long run.
The 2013 Green Hasson Janks Food & Beverage Industry Survey reveals that more than three-quarters (78.9 percent) of executives report that social media is having a significant impact on their businesses.
What sets social media apart from a standard company web site is the two-directional content. More specifically, a company needs to be ready for customers adding their own comments and content.
Some of the reasons FNB companies use social media:
- Connect with new potential customers, either through a fan’s networks, or a more cold but targeted network.
- Connect with existing customers and fans to induce a larger Long Term Value(LTV) of each customer, by being reminded that the outlet exists, or that the outlet currently has some specials, going on.
- The social media channel is also used as an avenue for customers to view products and services, as well as to enquire about information such as operational hours, concept, contact number, and to make reservations. It basically creates a medium for the customer to connect with the business, and vice versa.
Relevance to Business
As a business targeted at the millennial segment of the market, a group of individuals heavily in-tuned with social media, it is by far the most effective means of reaching out to these individuals. With the market currently occupied by many more established names and many other up-and-comers, the tendency to just fade into the masses becomes a pressing problem. Social media will allow Hopscotch to create its own distinct identity of a localised speciality cocktail bar and reach out to potential paying customers through visual content, campaigns and initiatives. Additionally, in such a competitive market, the power of peer reviews cannot be understated. 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.
Analysis and Evaluation
1. Hopscotch has a small online presence
- It has a strong organic fan-base and engagement, with an average of 30-50 likes per post per 1000 followers. However, it’s reach is still limited because of the lack of volume of people engaged online.
- It’s current strategy of word of mouth recommendation online (friends, friends of friends liking the page) has been effective in getting an average of 2-4 new likes a day. However, barring a spontaneous viral campaign, this rate of growth is still unsatisfactory for the business to establish its name as a top bar contender. Possible avenue would be to look to paid ads to reach out to potential clients and create a greater social media presence.
2. Visual content like pictures/videos, fail to capture the charm of the bar
- Visual content generated by the bar is visually dull and lacklustre. Doesn’t catch the eye of users at first glance. Missing out a tremendous opportunity to captivate intended audience, resulting in current audience drop off and failure to capture new audiences. Visual content necessary for self-promotion to new customers and maintenance of current customer interest.
- Current posts and contents feels robotic. Compared to other bars and FNB outlets, that possess a strong social media following, Hopscotch’s Facebook posts lack variety for its respective audiences. Content like photos of drinks appear too frequently. Users don’t feel compelled to engage these posts as they are too similar and repetitive. Look to alternate posts between the business, information about bar-related articles and personal posts of employees and customers can make the social media page more engaging and diverse.
3. No active promotions or initiatives that can increase fans and engagement
- Social media platforms currently functions as a tool for Hopscotch to provide insights into the bar. Lacking in calls to action for users to actively engage business online. Promotions and Giveaways are ways to allow customers to actively engage the business and create possible sales conversions in the process.
4. Too few posts/post not made at relevant timings
- Frequency of post is currently once/twice a week. Lack of constant content creates a void for current users and missed opportunities to engage new audiences. Most B2C businesses currently post minimally 2-3 post per day just to maintain some sort of social media presence. Needs to maintain pace with the competition minimally in order to prevent being forgotten.
- Posts are currently made at odd hours like 11pm where there is little or no traffic online. Tools like social bakers can be used to track peak traffic periods to manage post timing to maximize customer impressions and potentially engagement. As a bar, the most relevant time to post “alcohol” related post before happy hour (6-7pm) to draw customers in, or late afternoon, possibly after a hangover.
5. Social media manager(Owners) have no time to manage page
- Efforts on social media has been hindered by owners inability to manage both operations, traditional marketing and social media marketing. (Lack of manpower). Need for a scheduling tool, transfer of emphasis from traditional marketing to social media marketing due to demographic, and investment into a social media publicist to manage the curation and dissemination of content.
1. Research on what content type and social media will best cater to the social media users of Hopscotch Bar.
- Surveys handed out to customers in the bar as well as a sample poll amongst a group of potential customers will be conducted. Review of user engagement statistics on each individual platform will be monitored for the next month.
2. Integration of content creation tools and change in content creation approach
- Experiment with good and free to use content creation tools like canva.com. Re-wording of social media brand message i,e, content to be written to be more conversational, subtle in its promotion, and to overall be more engaging, rather than “Come drink today”, “come drink tomorrow”
3. Comprehensive post schedule
- To create a content schedule which includes sample content for up to 3 months, including pictures, best days and times to post and boost, as well as a distribution of content types. Introduction of content scheduling tools such as Postcron to effectively and efficiently create and manage content.
4. Dissemination of content
- To initiate a self propagating campaign to promote the bar via growth hacking at a low cost. Example: Giveaway competition every week. “Simply like and share this post and comment why you love cocktails! One winner will be selected every week to claim a pair of bespoke drinks from us”
- (Case Study: Smoothie King. Privately held and based out of New Orleans, Smoothie King decided to try a marketing campaign involving Facebook. They posted a contest to win free smoothies for a year. To enter the contest, fans had to “like” its Facebook page and submit a testimonial. This increased its fan base almost 25 percent, with more than 45,000 new connections.)
- To engage nightlife/F&B bloggers to feature Hopscotch on their social media platforms to boost publicity.
- Come up with a feedback platform for customers to give their feedback on what they would like to see.
Done by: Roger Yip, Peh Jun Jie, Lemuel Low