Archive | 6:38 pm

The Taste of Ireland — The Branding of Guinness

17 Mar

Interbrand, and advertising and branding firm, posted the article Irish for a Day on its blog today.  Irish for a Day examines the branding of Guinness and praising its exemplary brand management since its founding.  Interbrand attribute’s Guinness’s success to three factors (none of which have to do with the taste of its product): heritage, brand management, and unique experience.

Heritage — Founded in 1759, Guinness is one of the oldest brands in the world.  (And,  for many people, Guinness is evocative of Irish history.)  An often referenced anecdote of the company’s history included in the article: “In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on an abandoned brewery at St James’ Gate, Dublin. It cost him an initial £100 with an annual rent of £45.”  (That was some foresight.  I wonder if anyone even knows who “owns” the land any more.)

Brand Management — Interbrand equates Guinness with Starbucks.  Like these two other iconic brands, a simplified and stylized image of the product is easily recognizable to customers.  And, “Similar to Apple and Starbucks consumers who flaunt their white headphones or white coffee cups as they walk down the street, brandishing a Guinness bottle or glass conveys a statement of belonging; of understanding the brand at a deep, emotional level.”  People who drink Guinness think that it says something about that, that it makes them a person of taste and distinction, and they want other people to know that, too.

We went to Ireland for the weekend when I was studying abroad in Wales. (That's me in the pink striped shirt.) It was 9:00 (am!) when we finished the tour and drank the pints. It was quite the day!

Unique Experience — Drinking a Guinness is an interaction between the person and the product that goes both ways.  “The visceral relationship manifests itself by the excitement one feels when first encountering this brand; the beer’s color, smell, the sound of its pour. The interactive relationship begins with the all-important opening ceremony: The pint arrives and the consumer…waits.”  There are few products that advertise their slowness and that own it.  Guinness is unique (I think?) in the beer world in this way.

Also about the experience, the Guinness Factory is a pilgrimage site.  It’s a beer drinker’s Disney Land.  And, it’s Ireland’s biggest tourist attraction.  Even I, who am not that big of a fan (sorry!), went to the Guinness factory when I visited Ireland and drank the free pint (I mean the pint that’s included in the price.)  It’s just what you do…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone.  (And, thanks Dad for sending me this article.)

Social Media and the Fear of Missing Out

17 Mar

Does seeing this picture of a concert make you feel bad about sitting on your couch reading my blog? It's okay, I'm sitting on my couch writing it.

Today, Caterina Fake, one of the founders of Flickr, wrote a post about how social media (particularly the constant updates about all of the cool things that everyone else is up to) causes us to feel insecure about our current activities, whereabouts, etc.  This phenomenon is referred to as Fear of Missing Out.

She says, “Social media has made us even more aware of the things we are missing out on. You’re home alone, but watching your friends status updates tell of a great party happening somewhere. You are aware of more parties than ever before. And, like gym memberships, adding Bergman movies to your Netflix queue and piling up unread copies of the New Yorker, watching these feeds gives you a sense that you’re participating, not missing out, even when you are.”  While this idea isn’t that original (I’m pretty sure I read a very similar piece on Jezebel a few months back, too bad I can’t find a link.), it is well written.

Also, it’s worth noting that Flickr is probably one of the sites most guilty (if an inanimate website can really be guilty of anything — is a website really inanimate?  — that’s a question for another time) of encouraging this kind of thinking.  (“You think you’re baby’s cute?  Just look at mine.”, “You thought your vacation was cool — until you saw my awesome tropical rain forest pictures.”)

And, it all seems to be a bit of an excuse for her to talk about all of the awesome (or not to awesome) parties that she’s going to at South by SouthWest (supposedly a music and film festival, but really a chance for everyone from the blogosphere, socialmedia, to get together, network, and stroke each other’s egos).  And really, how is it fair to update your blog about being at SXSW and then say that social media makes people feel like they’re lame and missing out?  I wish I were at SXSW right now.  (I can stroke egos and pretend that I care about art with the best of them!)  And I’m not just afraid that I’m missing out, I know that I am.  (I will get to SXSW one day.  And it will be awesome.)

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