It’s Monday but don’t despair – I have another installment in the ‘Social Media Distilled’ series. Grab a coffee, relax and meet Kristine & Jenny, the dynamic duo handling Digital Marketing for Morrison Bowmore Distillers group. Seen Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch activities on Facebook and Twitter? Kristine & Jenny are the professionals behind it. Enjoy!
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Kirstine: I love digital marketing, good design, travelling, good food, guitars and whisky. I live in a small town outside Glasgow and I can’t stand mushrooms and U2.
Jenny: I spend my spare time cycling, going to gigs, travelling and drinking whisky, gin and wine. I love discovering new places to eat and drink, reading blogs and my guilty pleasure is TV box sets!
What is your exact position in the Morrison Bowmore Distillers group? Could you tell us a little about your journey in the whisky industry?
Jenny: I am the Digital Marketing Manager here at MBD. Kirstine and I manage the social media, websites, email marketing and online partners (and everything in between) for Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch, Bowmore and McClelland’s. I began my journey into the industry at digital agencies, where I worked on a number of web development and marketing projects for various whisky brands.
Kirstine: I am the Digital Marketing Executive at Morrison Bowmore. I have a background in Digital Marketing from both an agency side, and also from working in a Sports Scholarship company. My background is also been in Graphic Design and video production. I have loads of opportunities to be creative in this role, which I love.
How much of your day to day activity is dedicated to social media?
Kirstine: Every day is different so it varies. I think it is important to have a good strategy in place which means you can make more effective use of your time. That said, sometimes things happen unexpectedly and you have be available to react.
Jenny: I’d agree with Kirstine on this one – it’s a tough question to answer as it is so varied, but we’ll often spend an entire day doing strategy and content planning, which really helps the “bigger picture”, and means that the day to day is freed up for community management and ad-hoc content.
How often do you checks social networks notifications (mentions, Direct messages, FB tags)? Every day? Once a day, twice a day? Whenever the phone beep/vibrate?
Kirstine: I always have the notifications on so whenever the phone vibrates, then I check it. I’m often checking it before I am even out of bed in the morning! I try to reply to enquiries as quickly as possible.
How do you manage to handle 3 separate distilleries where each one has different profile and activities? Does work for one distillery influence work done for another?
Kirstine: All of our brands have completely individual and unique personalities. It has been important for us to really get to know the brands and the whiskies, which has not been the worst job in the world!
Jenny: We’re lucky in the sense that MBD HQ has spaces dedicated to each of the brands, so when we’re working on, for example, Auchentoshan, we can go to the Auchentoshan room to help get into that frame of mind.
.How do you see and define the audience on the different social media networks? From your point of view, are there any differences between Facebook, Twitter and other sites?
Kirstine: There are different audiences on all of these networks and we will decide which are best to use at the planning stage of our campaigns. However, we will try to have a more integrated approach to our social media channels where possible.
Did feedback from users on social networks impact your marketing and business decisions? If so, How?
Kirstine: We often feedback on comments we receive on social media to the powers that be at Morrison Bowmore. I think everyone here understands the value of social media, and appreciates how these platforms can result in instant feedback on our products. It is important to us what the fans of our whisky think, and we often ask for opinions.
What are your goals when engaging the audience via social networks? How do you measure success?
Jenny: Our primary goal is to produce content that is useful, interesting or entertaining for our audience. We measure success based on engagement levels – so “likes”, comments, retweets, shares – and we’ll compare this over time to make sure that our audience is consistently enjoying the content we produce. If not, we change it!
Can you point out any other distillery/group that works well in social networks? What are they doing right?
Kirstine: I follow loads of other Distilleries online and I think there are many who do a great job. I love the updates from Bruichladdich. I think they stand out, are engaging and really capture what the brand is all about.
Jenny: Kirstine’s right – there are a lot of whisky companies who do a great job on social media. Bunnahabhain recently posted a link to a Jamie Oliver recipe for mussels in a whisky sauce. That sort of content works well because it’s relevant but not overtly sales-focused, and for me as a consumer, it genuinely made me want to try out the recipe!
How can distilleries and independent bottlers distinguish their activity and brand on the net? Are there any other areas, besides Social Networks, in which you can promote your brand?
Kirstine: It is important to us that fans of our whisky can relate to the brand on and offline. This requires good communication with our ambassadors, and making sure that all the activity we are doing offline can translate online, and vice-versa.
Are images as effective as text in social networks? Or maybe even more effective?
Kirstine: My background is in design, and I am a very visual person – it’s how I work and I think this is true of a lot of people. I would very rarely post, without having something visual to accompany the copy.
What was your highlight moment with your Social Networks work? Which parts of it do you enjoy, personally?
Kirstine: We have had many exciting projects to work on, and I have enjoyed being a part of them all. The Glen Garioch Drambassador project feels like my baby, and is something I am particularly proud of. I think it works well because it focuses on our community of followers who really want to engage with the brand. I get a lot of job satisfaction from hearing the feedback about the liquid and about how they enjoy the challenges they are given as Drambassadors, such as identifying mystery drams from clues that we give them.
What were the weirdest and funniest (separately!) interactions/contacts you ever got through social network?
Jenny: I think the funniest was when we received a Facebook message from a follower who claimed his partner had bought him a high value bottle of whisky for a special birthday, but had had a fall and smashed the bottle, and he wondered if there was anything we could do to help. We felt sorry him until we realised he was a bit of a chancer, and had sent the same message to three of our brand pages – not realising they’re all run by the same team!
Kirstine: I would second Jenny’s nomination for the whisky bottle smasher chancer. Good try pal!
Do you remember your first whisky dram? What was it? Did you like it right away?
Jenny: My first dram was Talisker 10 Years Old one Burns Night. I remember thinking it was smoky, but not being able to describe it any more detail. That was when I decided I wanted to learn more about it, try more whiskies and get to know the processes behind production.
Kirstine: I drank whisky occasionally before I started working with Morrison Bowmore, and even previously worked in a whisky bar in the Highlands for a while. I think my first dram may have been from Oban. However, I don’t think I really fully appreciated whisky until I started working with Morrison Bowmore and it has just opened a whole new world to me.
What’s your current favorite whisky? Where do you like to have it?
Kirstine: Every opportunity I get, I will try a different whisky from behind the gantry. I think there is a whisky for every mood, and every time of day so I have a favourite for every occasion. Glen Garioch 1995 is a firm favourite however, and I would happily enjoy a dram of that anytime!
Jenny: My favourite changes all the time, but at the moment I’d have to say Glen Garioch 12 Years Old. It’s got the signature Glen Garioch heather, honey and spice notes and I love being able to introduce it to someone who’s never tried it before. It’s one I’ll usually have at home, whereas when I’m out I like to try other brands (ones outside of the MBD range) to widen my portfolio.
Do you have any ceremonies or quirks related to drinking whisky?
Kirstine: Nope. I like to drink good whisky, with good company and I am happy!
Jenny: I don’t know if it’s particularly quirky, but I do feel quite strongly about drinking a different whisky from a branded glass. Drinking an Auchentoshan from a Bowmore glass just feels wrong! Matching whisky and glass, and I’m happy.
Do you prefer drinking alone or with others?
Jenny: Definitely with others. For me, drinking is a very sociable activity and I like being in a group of friends, enjoying quality spirits, wine or beer and generally having a good time!
Kirstine: I like to relax on my own with a dram from time to time, but I would always prefer to share a dram with friends. I love introducing friends and family to single malt whiskies too.
Do you limit your drinking? If so, in what way?
Kirstine: For me, drinking whisky is about sipping away, and slowly enjoying it, appreciating the flavours and the years of craftsmanship which I know goes into every bottle. I wouldn’t tend to drink a power of whisky in a sitting, I would much rather savour a couple of drams and enjoy them.
Do you get to drink on the job? Do you HAVE to drink on the job? 🙂
Jenny: Occasionally we do, and we do know how lucky we are! We don’t have to – some of the team don’t, but when you’re marketing products, writing about them and living and breathing the whiskies, you have to taste it and get to know it inside it. That’s the excuse we use, anyway!
Kirstine: Jenny and I often talk about how lucky we are to be working in such a great industry and one of the perks of the job means that we often get to sample new releases or go out to tastings and enjoy the whiskies there. I think it is so important to really know your product when working in Digital Marketing and I think I can speak for both for us when I say that we both genuinely love our whiskies and jump at any opportunity to have a taste!
Do you have a professional dream?
Kirstine: It’s always important to improve and develop and I have to say that I think that’s genuinely what Jenny and I strive to do with each new initiative. We are a great team, and we are very proud of our whiskies at Morrison Bowmore. I am really happy to be a part of this company and I would love to help develop our brands and really watch them grow in the future.
Thanks Kirstine & Jenny!
- Jennifer Nicol of Tomatin,
- Carl Reavy of Bruichladdich,
- Jaclyn McKie of Arran
- Mystic of Douglas Laing
- Karen Stewart of Wemyss Malts
- Lukasz Dynowiak of Alembic Comms