I drink a little whisky, from time to time. To the biggest whisky brands storytelling is perhaps even more important than product quality.
The biggest whisky brand in the world is Johnnie Walker. In my opinion the whisky is good, but it’s a long way from being the best.
Before we look at Johnnie Walker’s story, you should know that all whisky brands tell stories about three things:
Who first created the whisky? Many distilleries offer a semi-fabricated story about a ‘founder’, complete with smugglers, harlots, and 19th century custom and excise evasions.
Who works at the distillery now? How long have they worked there?
Does the distillery prop up a local town or community? Do they infuse their marketing with the atmosphere of Islay, or Speyside? It’s all part of the experience.
Most distilleries deliberately give the impression of being nestled among the glens, in an almost-forgotten corner of Scotland.
What shape are the stills? Glenmorangie, for example, have the tallest stills in Scotland with tall copper necks, giving the whisky a lighter character.
What wood is used for the casks? Are multiple casks used? How long is the whisky left to mature?
So, Does The Story Matter More Than The Taste?
If all whisky was drunk from label-less bottles, the taste would still be important. But beyond the taste you want to know the story too.
Watch the following ad for Johnnie Walker, and see how carefully the story is told. It’s five minutes long, but well worth watching.
The point of your marketing is to tell your story in an engaging, interesting way to potential customers. If you’re not doing that you’re leaving money on the table. The whisky companies understand this better than most.
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P.S. Robert Carlyle filmed that scene as a one-take wonder, at 8PM on the final day of filming. Nobody said that telling your story was easy.