Posts Tagged ‘Guinness’

Stout talk and “target audiences”

November 14, 2021

I do love my pint of stout and as someone who has worked for Guinness and for a subsidiary of Heineken, who produce both Murphy’s and Beamish in Cork I think I am in a position to chat about it!

During lockdown I think enjoying a creamy point of stout in a pub with friends was quite possibly the thing that I missed most of all and was most grateful when we were able to return to our favourite local.

Where I live in Ballincollig in Cork I am blessed to have the White Horse Bar, Restaurant and Music Venue just down the road from me and a little further away, and on a tricky narrow road we have a wonderful “old man” pub called the Inniscarra Bar.

To stay Covid extra safe Kay, the very lovely proprietor of the Inniscarra Bar tried her very best to keep serving outdoors as long as possible complete with a little canopy and an outside fire, and even outdoors the regulars quickly had their regular seats, just as they would have had inside.

On one particular Thursday night I slipped down there with my fantastic neighbour, Brian for a couple of pints and we sat on a bench outside,

I asked for my pint of choice ‘Murphys’ to be advised against it by Kay who warned that it wasn’t pouring too well and I would be better off with either a Guinness or a Beamish. Two of the regulars overheard our conversation and remarked that the demise of Murphy’s was a sad state of affairs as it was always known as a “Murphy’s House”.

For me, it’s crazy that this could happen in any pub in Cork, but I wasn’t surprised as I hadn’t noticed any activity around this brand in quite a while.

A few days later while doing my grocery shopping in Dunnes Stores I noticed Murphy’s Stout cans on the shelf with new horrible (at least to me) purple and pink branding.

What in the name of god are they doing with that fantastic brand” I thought to myself and I wondered what the logic was behind this garish change.

That weekend I was chatting with my soon to be son in law, Mark and the conversation turned towards the new Murphy’s can. It turns out it wasn’t just me felt this way and this young man also hated the new branding – the beauty of the old brand is that it carried weight and some class and was confident, self assured and rooted in tradition, but this?!

Our first world problems!

A few days later while in town getting my hair chopped I happened to bump into an old buddy of mine who works for Heineken in Cork. I hadn’t seen him for an age so we had a great chat and before he left I had the opportunity of asking him what the hell was going on with Murphy’s!

I told him about the Inniscarra Bar experience and gave him my feedback about the new branding on the cans and after a while he turned around to me and said..

Ah….you are not our target audience!

That put me right in my place and we finished up our conversation and on my way home I reflected on what he had said to me and the sad fact that I was now 56 and thought yes, I was probably no longer the target audience, possibly no one’s target audience!

I thought some more and it started to bother me.

While you might make changes to your brand to appeal to a “new” audience, maybe you should first consider the fools who actually do ask for it and figure out what they like about it, as there might just be some valuable nuggets worth holding onto and the build from these.

Target audience my arse…!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design Podcast Production and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Artisan and things I can believe in

August 17, 2015

Artisan cheeses

Many years ago (in the late eighties/early nineties) I was the general manager of a Guinness owned company in Cork called Deasy’s. We manufactured soft drinks and we distributed beer and soft drinks to pubs, off licences and shops in Cork and Kerry.

We took great pride in our own soft drinks, which to this day are still fondly remembered by people in Cork. Our Deasy’s Orange and Red lemonade were big favourites. Well before my time they even manufactured their own beers and there was one called Wrestler (pronounced ‘rastler’), which people used mention to me.

For years we had been accepting falling volumes in our own soft drinks sales as there was a well accepted principle that it was all about ‘big brands‘ and that these would eventually wipe out all the other smaller brands. The belief was that there was nearly no point in trying with your own products.

As a former accountant for the company I could see the big margins and profitability that these products contributed compared to the products we bought in from other suppliers and I couldn’t see the logic in just letting them drift so we took a different approach.

Guinness - Pension Dispute

We felt that the branding had gone stale and did not reflect the quality of the products so we rebranded including an upgrade of all the packaging. We investigated in an advertising campaign and we also introduced an incentive programme for the customers.

Immediately the results started to shine through with increased volumes but there was also a renewed energy with the sales team who took great pride in their own products and were motivated by us investing in them. The sales pitch to the trade was relatively easy – they were manufactured locally using the best of ingredients and the quality was superb. However many still preferred the big well known brands such as Club Orange and Schweppes.

In a way we were selling ‘artisan‘ products at the time except we didn’t have this label for them and in any case it would not have been the selling point that it is today.

Sadly Deasy’s was merged into another larger Guinness subsidiary a few years later and the manufacturing plant was shut down and these much loved brands were allowed to disappear without a trace.

Phil Cullen Mountain Man Brewing

The Artisan Era

Now we are all about ‘artisan‘ products.

Artisan is defined as “a person or company that makes a high-quality or distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods“.

These now trendy products are unique, special, something made with loving care and most importantly they are something that we can believe in. We believe that these products are superior in quality and in some ways we can even accept little imperfections as they can confirm the somewhat ‘homemade‘ attributes that prove we are not consuming products that are mass produced. Retailers who are sharp make themselves unique and believable by stocking ‘artisan’ products, which adds to their overall offering.

Artisan is so much in vogue (and selling!) now that even large companies are trying to make us believe that their products are also artisan – check out the recent Guinness adverts for example.

Guinness advert

I strongly believe that one of the reasons for the popularity of artisan products is that when the recession kicked in there was a huge rejection of the ‘excess‘ that was so prevalent during the Celtic Tiger.

We desperately wanted to get back to things that were real and authentic; this included our food, our drinks, our restaurants, pubs and even our service providers no matter who they are. We had lost faith in so many things that we needed to be able to believe once again.

No matter what you do, try to give your customers an artisan service

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Wake up and smell the hops!

August 13, 2015

digital hub

I was enjoying my ‘Dublin Bike’ as I cycled through Dublin city on the way to a new client meeting in The Digital Hub. I did something I had not done for a while.. I stopped for 5 minutes in Merrion Square and looked up!

I was so busy in my head thinking about the clever rebrand we had completed for our client and planning the meeting, that I was totally unaware of my surroundings.  We are all so busy being busy, on our computers, phones and mobiles and working towards deadlines and keeping all our fantastic clients happy, that we forget to stop,  look and think.

I noticed the wonderful buildings and carefully crafted roofs and pillars that I had never seen before and thought about the rich emotional Irish history and all the folk that walked on those streets before us. My colleague Greg used to work at the Guinness Brewery at St.James Gate and at offices right on the same site as the Digital Hub, not knowing that Fuzion was coming down the line.

As I walked into the meeting I made a promise to myself that I would become more aware – aware of my team and their experiences and how we can share and work together for our clients. All the meetings, brainstorms and Google hangouts have added to the rich tapestry of experience that our team has. We all have a fusion of feelings, experiences, interests and personality types to bring to the table for our clients and this makes for a really creative dynamic where literally anything can happen and great ideas can come from any brainstorm.

This new level of awareness made me listen even more at the meeting and learn from our clients, who are being really bold and brave about their new branding.

The meeting went well, and Greg gave me a lift back to the office, nah it was in his car, enough bike riding for one day!

That was a really happy ‘aware’ day  

#WinHappy
Aisling White - FuzionAisling White 

Aisling White is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design based in our office in Dublin, Ireland

Are you looking after the Triangle?

June 14, 2013

Skyscraper workers

He was a really great sales rep working for Guinness out of their Cork office. He had been in the job for a number of years, was very efficient, very intelligent, very successful and was quite popular with his customers.

He was a great asset to the company with his knowledge of the local area, which was a big deal to Guinness as it was very competitive with both Murphy Brewery and Beamish and Crawford located in the city. In his role he would have had a lot of liaison with the various brand teams in Guinness.

This was probably the most competitive patch for Guinness in all of the country. The sales structure in Guinness consisted of sales reps, there were nine regional managers, three divisional managers with an overall Commercial sales director.

As he was highly rated a lot of pressure was being put on him to look for a promotion and move up the corporate ladder. Any promotion would have probably meant a change of location. To most of the team this promotion opportunity, with more seniority, more perks and a bigger pay packet would have been a godsend – our guy had no interest, he was happy in Cork and loved what he was doing.

When this rep’s name came up in conversation in management circles there was always a sense of a “black mark” and a little cloud of disappointment against him because he wasn’t seen as being ambitious enough.

My Triangle Theory!

Triangle Theory

At the widest point of the triangle there are lots of workers. Some of these are ambitious and push themselves up the triangle into more senior jobs with more responsibility.

Above them are even more senior managers and the business owners – at the very top of the triangle there are a select few who earn the big money, are adept at corporate politics and can handle the responsibility and pressure at this level.

Often these guys and gals will have sold themselves for the job, made the big personal sacrifices, possibly relocating themselves and their families and made work their ultimate priority.

For the triangle to work best we need satisfied, happy people at each level – for those who want to push upwards there are opportunities and for those who are happy with their lot they can stay doing what they hopefully enjoy doing.

Isn’t it better having lots of happy sales reps than a bunch of unhappy sales managers?

Sometimes you have to let the Triangle look after itself …

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing & PR firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

Are you having meetings about meetings?

November 12, 2012

Meetings about Meetings

Another meeting ….

I remember sitting in a senior managers meeting getting all stressed out worrying about sales performance – the trend, annualised was worth a fortune to the company but I seemed to be the only one at the meeting getting all worked up!

Why was no one else getting as bothered as I was? They all seemed to be focused on some other issue that just didn’t seem as important to me. Let’s arrange a meeting to discuss this before our next meeting .. Oh my God!

This was Guinness, this was big business and it was management at the very highest level where the stakes were huge – what was I missing?

I had joined from a subsidiary company of Guinness in Cork called Deasy’s – we manufactured our own (quite profitable) soft drinks and distributed beer and soft drinks from the major manufacturers including Guinness. I had moved from the role of Financial Controller to General Manager, I had a lot of autonomy and now I found myself working in St.James Gate for Guinness as part of a large team.

My practical, work hard, do the (what I thought was) right thing, straight forward, no nonsense approach just didn’t seem to be cutting it at this level – in truth, I was struggling and getting very frustrated. I was starting to learn about the concept of meetings about meetings about meetings for the first time and it was driving me bonkers!!

The other thing I started to learn about was life in a large organisation and corporate “politics” and how these high stake personal power games were played out – as I said I was struggling with my very limited tool kit. At this stage in my career I needed to learn other skills to survive and thrive.

One of my big questions was how could these huge organisations succeed with such high stakes where potentially destructive personal politics could dominate and interfere with good constructive, positive work on an ongoing basis?

After three years of working with Guinness I figured out that “Success” happens in big organisations when “agendas” align.

A Senior Manager has a list of items that if he or she achieves them they will make them look good and advance their “personal” journey in the organisation. The Business has a list of items that are a priority and if these are achieved it will be successful. When the managers list and the business list align you get magic and progress is made – often this may not happen enough!

For a long time I thought that a corporate career was for me – I discovered I was wrong! Guinness was a great place to work, I made great friends in my time there, I learnt a huge amount but ultimately meetings about meetings was not for me ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing and PR firm with offices in Dublin and Cork


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