Influencer-Marketing-Learnings-From-Guinness-The-Gathering-And-St-Patricks-DayIf you are looking to attract more customers to your business, there is no question that referrals and word of mouth marketing online and offline is extremely powerful and if you do that through connecting to key influencers of your ideal clients you will increase your reach.

I have to declare that I am not a huge fan of online influencer ranking tools though they have a place in helping you identify people you could potentially connect with and build a relationship with as part of your influence marketing campaign.

An example though that is worth exploring is the partnership model offered by PeerIndex and a brand that has that done so is Guinness in the UK had with the PeerPerks campaign.

Let’s take a step back though and remember that Guinness is far from a novice in influence marketing (I know having been on the board of the company for a number of years in Asia, North America and in Ireland).

Going back to 2009 we saw the launch of their Arthurs Day campaign which has continued to grow from strength to strength. I was invited to the launch event in July 2009 and I don’t think anyone realised how inspired it was – to create a ‘birthday’ celebration about their Founder which had the opportunity to attract more consumers into the ailing off-trade in an economic downturn, an important route to market for the brand.

Moving forward to the Fall of 2012, we see the Guinness brand team in the UK partner with PeerIndex to offer a number of opportunities for consumers.

If you were based in the UK you could check on the PeerPerks site to see if your PeerIndex score would enable you to avail of the offer of six limited edition Guinness glasses as part of their #GuinnessClass promotion.

In addition, in selected pubs across the UK every Friday and Saturday between 6pm and 8pm over a number of weeks, Guinness was giving away private jet trips to Dublin to one lucky winner and their friends – winners would be flown to Dublin to experience the best of the city’s nightlife before being flown back to the UK before sunrise.

Note the similarity again to the Arthurs Day campaign – getting people to meet up with their friends in the off trade, in this case at time when people may not ordinarily be in the pub.


The PeerIndex partnership was only part of the #GuinnessClass campaign which ran for about nine weeks and most of the winners were selected from being in the pub at the time that the Guinness representatives were in the outlet.

Checking the online word of mouth at the time, I noted there was not too much online conversation even from those who won the tickets. But does that really matter? This comes back to what you measure in terms of social media success. Online conversations and sentiment are only one measure and what I would have wanted to know if I were in the Guinness brand team is what the impact was to sales over the course of the campaign.

I did find one blog post from someone who won a ticket and I had to wonder what the Guinness brand team would have thought when reading “Even as a BrewDog shareholder, I wasn’t about to turn down such an opportunity” given the unpleasant situation (you could call it a PR disaster) between BrewDog and Diageo in 2012.

I can only assume that the campaign went well as I noticed over on the Guinness GB Facebook Page that they have been hosting the #GuinnessClass campaign again in connection with the Six Nations Rugby and of course for this weekend for St Patrick’s Day weekend.


But what I think has been an inspired move in the area of influence marketing is that of the Guinness Storehouse here in Ireland. You see influencers do not be people you have never met – they could be your neighbour.

And influence marketing can expand to your employees – an employee brand ambassador programme was one of the things we implemented when in my role in Guinness in Ireland, yet all too often organisations forget the impact their people can have in relation to word of mouth marketing and client or customer attraction.

Guinness Ambassador Programme Launched By Jasmine Guinness

At the end of January 2013, Jasmine Guinness launched the Guinness Storehouse Ambassador Programme for the year of ‘The Gathering’ inviting Irish residents to apply to receive one of 50,000 ambassador cards entitling them to complimentary admission to the Guinness Storehouse throughout 2013. Their friends and family who they bring to the venue will also receive a 10% discount off admission.

Guiness-The-Gatherine-Influence-Marketing-Programme-For-St-Patricks-Day-Krishna-De-comAs part of The Gathering Irish people are encouraged to invite family and friends ‘home’ to Ireland.

Throughout the year, active ambassadors will be entered into a competition to win their own Gathering party for 100 of their friends in the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse with food, refreshments and entertainment provided. Card holders are being offered a range of benefits during 2013 including exclusive competitions to win tickets to Guinness events, Guinness merchandise and a range of special Guinness Storehouse experiences to be won throughout the year.

This is smart influence marketing – many people in Ireland have still not visited The Guinness Storehouse which this year celebrated a record number of visitors for 2012 with almost 1.1 million people visiting, 80,000 of whom were from Ireland. Now Guinness are inviting them to bring their friends and family to the home of Guinness – where of course you can experience the visitor centre, store, restaurants and bar.

And when you register as an Ambassador, you also join their mailing list so you receive reminders of events and opportunities to visit, such as for the three day St Patrick’s Day celebrations this weekend.

So yes online influencer marketing tools can be a useful indicator in terms of who to connect with, but don’t forget those people close to home – we can all be influencers and looking at an online score is not always the important factor when planning an influencer marketing campaign.

What could you learn from the approach Guinness in Ireland is taking with their brand ambassador programme for ‘The Gathering’? What other great examples have you seen of brands partnering with ‘The Gathering’?

Additional Resources About Influence Marketing

Read a case study of how Dell connected to influencers if you are marketing in B2B

Read about one of the first blogger outreach events in Ireland that was hosted by Diageo for the Budweiser brand

View the slide presentation about how Innocent Ireland connected to online influencers to build awareness of a recent social media campaign

You can find screenshots of the Guinness influence marketing case study in this article over on my Flickr account.

And I would also watch out for the book to be published this Summer by Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella about influence marketing – it’s on my Amazon wish list already!