Selling stories (“We don’t sell beer…”)

beer-glassThe Duvel Cafe in Stockholm is a bar which sells a range of Belgian beers. They are tasty, strong and expensive (compared to England).

I was fascinated by the beer glasses as much as the beer itself, so I took a couple of photos. Part of what I was buying and enjoying was the packaging and the experience, as well as the golden alcoholic liquid.

In Sweden, they use the term ‘Experience Industry’ for what is known as the ‘Creative Industries’ in the UK and elsewhere. What I like about the Swedish term is that it refers to what the customer gets out of the deal, rather than what the producer puts in. This understanding of how the customer benefits is a crucial marketing perspective.

I asked the barman about the glass and he told me how the Tripel Karmeliet glass had been designed to improve the taste of the beer. It’s shaped a bit like a brandy glass so the beer can be swirled around. For the price of a beer I was getting some information about design as well as the story of the brewery.

“We don’t sell beer,” he said “We sell knowledge.” He might well have said “We sell an experience and a story” or “we are in the business of selling stories”.

beer-glass2The customer’s experience is not just a drink of beer. They come away with a story – about the beer and the glass. And a story to tell their friends about their experience at the Duvel Cafe in Stockholm.

See also: ‘What are you selling, really?