Table Manners

We wrapped up this week in Dublin by taking a visit to the Guinness Storehouse this morning. This was a great insight to a brand that is near and dear to many Dubliners. I found it interesting about the process and science behind creation of Guinness and how the company uses special methods such as roasting barley to make Guinness both unique and iconic. The museum displayed how over time the machinery to make and distribute Guinness has become more innovative with the advance of equipment in the brewing process, making of barrels, and transportation, and how these innovations have made Guinness available worldwide. While constantly innovating, Guinness also has an emphasis on sustainability. They have made efforts to work with Irish farmers to healthily extract ingredients from the environment as well as having sustainable practices in their water sourcing and consumption. I was also enthralled with the display of their marketing campaigns over the years. All of their ads had a happy feeling to them, including bright colors, good music, and plenty of Irish pride, which I feel has been beneficial to the long term success of the brand. One in particular that stuck out to me was a television ad remembering the Irish rugby team’s dramatic upset over the dominant New Zealand team in 1978. This specific ad meshes the positive sentiment of that win along with the sense of Irish patriotism in sports that I have observed during the trip, and associates those feelings along with the brand.

Later in the day, we had a discussion about our interactions in the week that we have been here. Ireland is a high context society as opposed to America being a low context society. This led to some minor confusion in the groups collective social interactions this past week. Something that caught me off-guard happened while eating out at a restaurant. Unlike restaurants in the states, almost all places in Ireland do not have hostesses and expect customers to seat themselves. Similarly, guests are not expected to tip the servers, so they are less attentive to the tables. This requires some extra effort in requesting your check at the end of a meal. This is an example of high context as you are expected to know these things without asking. It took me a few “trial and error” attempts to get this down, but in the future, this would be something I could do more research on in order to be more prepared in a foreign country.

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