What comes to your mind when you think about Guinness, one of the biggest beer companies? Black? Soft bubbles on the top? Well, yes. both are good characters of Guinness. One day, Guinness brought original promotion idea out to people as using one of these characters – the most powerful character, quite different than other beers, black.
Once QR code was used as very popular marketing tool but the popularity and effectiveness were getting week. However, Guinness came up with the brilliant online project of advertising and branding and got people’s interest with the combination of black and QR code which is made to link social media like Facebook or Twitter directly. These are steps. First, when you fill the glass with Guinness and it reveals a QR code. Second, scan the code with your smart phone and it tweets about your pint, updates your facebook status. After that, you can download coupons and promotions. The most important and interesting with the online promotion is this phenomenon appears only in the case you fill the glass with Guinness-black beer. When the glass is empty or filled with ordinary beer, the QR code is unreadable. When it is filled with Guinness, the black liquid completes the code and brings you into a lots of dynamic content & social media benefits.
As for branding theory which is written by Greg Stine, the 4th principle is “differentiation is Key.” Even if it’s hard for company to have any other different characters sometimes, it should make one up. It could be real one once after you implant the thinking in people’s mind even though it seemed to have nothing common with the product or company. The theory could seem banal but it is always truth in marketing and branding. Guinness already has differentiation than any other beers about the color according to the principle and it maximized that point with QR code and social media.
Nowadays, all companies keep trying to achieve sustainable competitive advantages in the market. Moreover, the ripple effect of social media grows up. Guinness’ online promotion shows how they could get tremendous advantages and success with branding in social media. It didn’t make any followers because they just used their original, exclusive character. Make differentiation than other companies and spread it using social media and then definitely you can get amazing effects from it even much more than you expected!