Earlier this year, I embarked on a 10-day vacation to Ireland where I indulged in all the famed Irish acts of tourism … I ate the traditional “fish and chips,” explored medieval castles, and visited the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. The green countryside and historic monuments were truly remarkable. But to me, the best part of our venture was visiting in the nation’s capitol city, Dublin, and touring the Guinness Brewery. While I certainly enjoyed the view and brew as we bellied up to the famous “Gravity Bar,” the marketing nerd in me appreciated a different part of the tour much more. An entire floor of the impressive seven-story facility was devoted solely to the development of the award-winning Guinness brand!

Much like the specialty brew Guinness creates, the brand has remained a successful and recognizable presence that consumers have grown to love for centuries. Here are just few things I observed about the Guinness brand while touring the advertising exhibit that I believe have contributed to their success over the years:

  • Consistency: Though it’s been around for centuries, the voice and look of Guinness has remained the same (with a few necessary modernizations, of course). They’ve done an excellent job using the same vintage cartoons from ads produced in the 1930s – 40s and refurbishing them into new merchandise and modern campaigns.

  • Longevity: Guinness was smart to cast cartoons as their primary spokespeople because cartoons never age, die, or tarnish your brand’s image by getting into trouble.

  • Depth: Every good brand should have a deep “creative well.” Guinness didn’t just create a well … they created a whole world in which their characters reside. Described in their own words as, “The colorful world of Toucans, Ostriches, Surfers and Old Favourites.”

  • Repetition: The simple taglines repeatedly used for decades have instilled the Guinness name in consumers’ minds: “Guinness for Strength,” “Lovely Day for a Guinness,” “Guinness Makes You Strong,” “My Goodness My Guinness,” and most famously “Guinness is Good For You.”

You may wonder how does this apply to me and my business? Despite Guinness being one of the largest brands worldwide, the same marketing rules apply. The core elements of consistency, longevity, depth and repetition should be always present in your brand’s messaging regardless of the size, location or nature of your business.I encourage you to visit the advertising portion of the Guinness site to browse the print and TV ads from all decades. You’ll probably spot even more components to the Guinness brand that make it truly one-of-a-kind.