Founder and Brewer of Samuel Adams Serves as Commencement Speaker

Founder and Brewer of Samuel Adams Serves as Commencement Speaker

Client: New England College of Business

New England College of Business (NECB) provides quality education to working adults seeking career advancement. Its students are modern online learners who balance their schoolwork with their busy professional and personal lives.

_DSC0677Situation Analysis

New England College of Business (NECB) retained Schneider Associates (SA) to identify a speaker for its 2014 graduation ceremony who reflected the diligence and drive of NECB students. SA secured Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams, as the commencement speaker. Koch, who founded The Boston Beer Company in 1984, is well-known for making Samuel Adams beer a household name. Instilled with a passion for brewing from his father, Charles, and the five generations of brewers before him, Koch reinvented the industry by pioneering the microbrewery revolution. Formerly a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and an instructor for Outward Bound, Koch received his undergraduate degree, Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. He also has honorary degrees from Bentley University. He embodies the values of a lifelong learner who has constantly worked to evolve his business to fit with the changing times.

In addition to speaking during graduation and receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science from New England College of Business, Jim Koch also posed for photos with students and mingled with them during the graduation reception, swapping stories and toasting them with Samuel Adams beer. Each graduate was given a branded Sam Adams glass as a souvenir.


  • Secure a prominent speaker to draw attention to New England College of Business and its hard-working adult students
  • Drive traditional and social media conversation about Jim Koch, New England College of Business and the graduation ceremony

Strategies and Execution:

  • Worked with Jim Koch’s PR consultant to coordinate this speaking engagement
  • Drafted a press release about NECB’s commencement ceremony
  • Distributed press release and distributed to local media outlets
  • Drafted a social media publishing calendar promoting NECB’s graduation and Jim Koch’s speech
  • Secured an Associated Press photographer to take photos of graduation and distribute over the wire
  • Hired a Sam Adams lookalike to pose with Jim Koch after his speech and to take photos with students during the graduation reception
  • Live tweeted and Instagrammed during the graduation ceremony using #NECBGrad

_DSC0880Measurement and Results:

By securing an AP photographer, SA was able to get photos of NECB’s graduation distributed around the country, with a photo appearing in USA Today.

Using #NECBGrad, SA encouraged students, graduates, alumni and graduation attendees to engage on social media before, during and after graduation. During the month of May, when graduation was held, SA generated 1,315 interactions and 407,460 impressions from 733 unique users across NECB’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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