According to the head of marketing for Dan Murphy’s, Yolanda Uys, we should “stop thinking of ourselves as marketeers or brand managers, but instead as storytellers”, speaking at the ADMA Global Forum recently.
“We live in world where information is thrown at us, we check out phone 150 times a day, and our attention span is less than a goldfish,” Uys said, adding that she was concerned marketers had “lost the art of storytelling”.
“Think of brand as a house with many, many doors,” Uys said. “Customers can come into your house in a myriad of ways, so your experience has to be consistent.
“No matter which door I come through, the brand experience has to be consistent. Your brand has to hang together as a cohesive whole. Your brand channel has to deliver your brand story in way that’s relevant to the customer you want to reach.”
Uys explained that a great brand story and creating great content for your brand is, in truth, no different to a narrative or tale, with a great character, theme, point of view, style and tone, plot and setting.
For Uys, the character represents the brand, the theme is the point of difference, the point of view is the content, style and tone represents brand identity, the plot is the service and the setting is the channel.
“If these are principles of great storytelling, how do we translate that to a brand?” she asked. But rather than tell, Uys decided to show the audience what that looks like, in retelling the narrative of the Dan Murphy’s brand.
Our character: Dan Murphy himself
“Dan’s family moved to Australia as Irish immigrants, and he worked in his father’s liquor store,” Uys explained. “Except he believed he could do a better job, and opened own liquor store across the road from his dad.
“He believed in the lowest price, quality, and to bring wine education to the people.”
Our theme: ‘No matter what your taste, you will always be able to enjoy the drinks you love at the lowest prices’.
This, Uys explained, was the mantra or clear point of difference offered by Dan Murphy’s.
“And coupled with that, we offer great service,” she added. “Dan used to train his staff firsthand, and handpicked both staff and products.”
Our point of view: price
“Our point of view is really about price, but it’s also about inspiration and excitement through buyer’s guides, which are long form stories about different drinks to try and the food to match with them.
“The discovery guide is all about taking journeys of whiskey etc. and putting it into layman’s terms.”
But Uys stressed, “Are you clear on what your personality of your brand is?”
Style & Tone: Immersion
“Dan Murphy’s is centred on discovery and immersion in a category, and taking the time to talk about the products is a key part of a brand.
“For us, it’s like browsing around in a library. Double Bay was our first concept store – we call them precincts – and we took a big part of the store out and put in a whiskey immersion section.
“For us it was about finding the style and tone of brand and putting it into everything we do,” Uys said, adding it was about “creating a world within a world”.
Plot: Dan Murphy fights for egalitarianism
“Whether it’s a $2 bottle of cleanskins or $200 bottle of wine, Dan Murphy believes we should stock those ranges. And we never question it,” Uys said.
“Brand promise doesn’t begin and end with the brand team, but with every member of our staff in stores. The lowest liquor price guarantee goes very deep.
“We have a price change team who get in about 5.30/6am every morning to go through every website and newspaper, and if they find a price that matches us they send a memo to stores to drop it before opening at 9am.”
Setting: our channel
“There’s this obsession with digital, Snapchat – all these channels we can use,” Uys began. “But if your channel isn’t helping tell your story, and bring your point of difference to life, you’re going about it the wrong way.
“We chose to go really big in digital outdoor. It’s the easiest way to deliver our promise. Our biggest conundrum was publishing prices in the morning, then a competitor would drop their price lower and we’d drop our price again – but we couldn’t get the message out. Digital outdoor can help us do that.
“The channel for us becomes a choice around the question, ‘How do we best deliver our brand promise in a way that’s meaningful for the customer?’”
“The power sits in the consistency and continuity as brand ambassadors, and this will continue to tell the story through time,” Uys concluded.
“This will become the greatest differentiator in a world of change – consistency and knowing who you are will become the holy grail, and the difference between good brands and great brands.”