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Marketing Lessons From One of Ireland’s Most Iconic Brands

When people think about Ireland, the Guinness Storehouse is often the first thing that comes to mind. But that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, the Guinness Storehouse didn’t even exist 15 years ago. So how did Guinness develop the number one tourist attraction in Ireland and reinvigorate its brand? By carefully examining its marketing and crafting a well thought-out branded space.

Grainne Wafer, one of the senior global marketers on the Guinness brand, explained, "The Storehouse is a fantastic way for people to experience and engage with the Guinness brand. But what we are really trying to do...is make it as rewarding, enjoyable, engaging and as participative as possible. That’s true with everything we try to do on the Guinness brand in terms of marketing.”

So whether you’re a large organization with an interesting history or a small startup, these lessons from Guinness can apply to your marketing:

Focus on interaction.
The Guinness Storehouse is carefully designed to encourage interaction with the brand, but also between visitors. There are digital games, bars and even a class on pouring the perfect pint to get people talking. Wafer said, “It’s a place for interaction among tourists who are traveling around Ireland, for the people who live there and for the new Guinness employees who are undergoing training.” In addition, visitors can use the giant interactive wall (one of the largest in the world) to leave messages that connect to their social media.

Tell a story.
Visitors’ exploration of the Guinness Storehouse begins with a guide telling them the origins of the brand. Preserved in the floor of the entryway is the 9,000 year lease that Arthur Guinness signed in 1759. As visitors continue on their self-guided tours, they learn about and interact with more historical facts, the actual brewing process and the evolution of Guinness’s marketing. At every point, the Guinness Storehouse invites visitors to be a part of the brand’s fascinating story.

Know your audience.
Before the Guinness Storehouse was built, the company recognized that it needed to start thinking about how to bring in the next generation of Guinness drinkers. They understood that people typically start engaging with the brand in their mid-twenties, so the design of the Guinness Storehouse is meant to attract “guys and girls who are at their first job stage, who are progressing a bit more.” The advanced technology and the juxtaposition of the building’s old exterior and strikingly modern interior serve to accomplish this goal.