Diageo Whisky

Customers Prefer Premium Whisky for Digital Tastings

The Talisker 10 tasting experience is the most popular of Diageo’s digital whisky tastings on its Talisker Tasting Experience. It’s also the most expensive of the three whiskies for which the liquor brand offers a tasting guide via Amazon’s voice assistant, according to a presentation at IGD Live by Diageo Futures’ innovation manager, Will Harvey, and Talisker’s senior brand manager, Helen Carswell.

Premium Brand, Premium Experience

Diageo, a British firm that owns a wide array of alcoholic beverage companies like Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, and Guinness, launched its Alexa skill as a pilot in December to promote the Scotch whisky brand. The idea was to create an “audio journey” teaching people about Scotch and how to taste and appreciate it.

Users pick from Talisker Skye, Talisker Storm, or Talisker 10-year-old Single Malt, and the skill goes through the story of the drink, how it is made, and what to look for when tasting it. Users can ask questions and get recommendations about more drinks they might enjoy. The goal is to get people to feel more comfortable discussing, and then buying, high-end brands they might normally skip over. The skill recreates in audio form the tasting experience of people who visit the distillery on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

Users who opened the skill spend about seven and a half minutes on average per session. Talisker 10 was chosen 40% of the time, beating out Sky, chosen 34% of the time, and Storm, chosen 27% of the time. Why the most expensive whisky was picked most often isn’t immediately clear. It may be that people who had spent more money on their drink choice wanted to enhance the experience and get as much as they could out of purchasing it or that they heard about the skill first and wanted to start at the top for the whisky options. Providing a valuable experience could get consumers to try the more expensive brand as they may see it as a combination product worth the extra cost.

Buy by Voice

Diageo has been notable in pushing experiments with voice technology to boost its brands. Most notably, the company adapted its popular The Bar website to the Echo Show as an Alexa-powered personal bartender, followed by the audio-only Happy Hour skill. Even before the whisky tasting experience, Diageo partnered with voice interactive campaign creator Send Me a Sample to promote the vegan Baileys Almande. People could ask Alexa or Google Assistant and get a sample mailed directly to them.

The next step is getting people to purchase these products online. That’s becoming more likely as the number of households with smart speakers or other voice assistant-powered devices grows. Voicebot’s surveys have shown a direct correlation between the presence of smart speakers, and people using them to buy things. For instance, Voicebot’s research showed a 40.2 percent rise in smart speaker ownership in the U.S. 2018, to 66.4 million households, and the percentage of consumers who have tried to buy anything by voice has risen to around 20 percent. Voicebot’s research puts household goods at the top for what people want to buy, followed by groceries. Alcoholic beverages are not a specific category, but a household stocking up will not want to make a specific trip to the liquor store if they can do all of the purchasing in one conversation with their voice assistant, so it’s logical that Diageo wants people buying things by voice to already be thinking of its brands.


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