Had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion at London Wine International Fair this
week. The topic was Marketing Wine
Brands - Standing out from the crowd:
New Approaches to Marketing Wine and the well-known English wine journalist Jamie Goode was the moderator. Along
with me was Dan Jago one of the most influential wine, beer and spirit buyers
who is the Category Director at Tesco (UK’s largest grocery retailer) and Alex
Myers who is co-founder at Manifest London a communications firm that has
helped amplify client’s like Brew Dog, a craft-beer brand. My employer,
Nomacorc was the sponsor of the event.
|What Food, What Wine- Jeff at London Wine May 22, 2012|
Standing Out from the Crowd
I took away 10 thoughts and ideas about wine marketing:
|Jeff Slater, Dan Jago, Jamie Goode and Alex Myers at Wine Marketing Panel Discussion|
London International Wine Festival - May 22, 2012
Infinite substitution: Wine brands suffer from infinite
substitution. A pinot grigio that you typically purchase can easily have dozens
of replacement brands that most consumers are willing to substitute. It is hard
to build awareness and a brand if you can easily be replaced. Branding for wine
is different than almost every other consumer package good category with far too
Story telling is branding: Since wine products are so incredibly similar to most consumers, without a story and a brand narrative, wine becomes a commodity with no true
point of differentiation. Story telling through whatever means- advertising,
social media, in store POS or unique packaging can help create an emotional bond between the brand and the consumer.
Wine Industry is talking to themselves-not consumers: The majority
of wine consumers don’t care about terroir, SO2 levels or the cold soak method.
Don’t play “inside baseball” with them. They want you to communicate the
benefit your brand can deliver. In looking at 1,000’s of wine bottles at the
show, I saw one brand called RELAX whose message was the benefit that wine can
deliver to you as a consumer.
Wall of Terror: Most consumers fear walking down a wine aisle. They
spend no more than 90 seconds in the aisle (according to Tesco research) and
they have to choose among 700 brands and more than 1,000 SKU’s. (stock keeping
units). They don’t speak the language and can’t pronounce the names on the
brands. Everything looks the same.
Wine by Geography: Why is
wine the only product that is sold based on country of origin? In the produce
section we don’t put all the Chilean fruits together- this is odd and although
consumers do purchase wine based on geography, it may be based on how wine is
merchandised not what is needed.
It is all about me: Most consumers enter a grocery store and if
they are buying ingredients for dinner, could use a little help. Why isn’t wine
organized by sections called: Great with Fish, Perfect with Chicken, Excellent with
Beef? Imagine a store that had a section called- the perfect gift with 3 price
point levels $10, $25, and $50. How about
a section called CHEAP. Or, how about a section that is like a book store where
instead of fiction and non-fiction, you have wines that can be conducive to romance, adventure or travel?
Social Media is a listening medium: Don’t push, push, push, push
and push your brand onto consumers through social media. Listen to them. Be a
part of the conversation. Engage with them but don’t try and shove your wine
down their throat. Help them discover your product and its unique benefit. For
a brilliant video on this very topic, see Gary Vaynerchuk’s speech at this
conference on Marketing Wine to Millennial.
Critics’ Choice: Why not do what Netflix’s does with top ten critics’
choice? Or, 10 best sellers at that local store? Help the consumer by
simplifying the choices. Or, improve merchandising at store by having the right
wines displayed in next to the seafood section? Tesco is doing something
interesting twice a year where they have an entire meal including a wine selection
for sale where it is a complete dinner purchase. Innovative.
Music to my ears: I don’t see any wine producers selling their wine
by relating it to music. Imagine packaging your wine and communicating that
this wine tastes like the elegant notes of Ella Fitzgerald or the intense
flavor of New Orleans Jazz. The consumer
isn’t trained in the classic wine language so help them buy with language that
fits a lifestyle. What is the soundtrack of your brand?
Can you find your brand? During the session I related the story how my Mom always buys me the Travaglini Gattinara that I love. She (85 years young) can find my favorite brand because she remembers the unique and distinctive shape. Why isn't wine taking a cue from spirits and perfume and look toward distinctive packaging to help communicate brand positions. Every 750 L bottle looks the same yet think of how distinctive Amaretto is or Maker's Mark. Why can't wine be different too?
During the discussion, I started
off my observations and comments by giving credit to the wine brand and
marketing managers who have to do this work each day. It is so much easier
talking about it than to execute a brand plan. But if the wine industry is to
grow and bring in new consumers it has to get off the pedestal and provide a
clear message of benefit that a brand offers. Without that, wine will become
tainted– and leave a bad taste in the mouths of consumers.
This is a link to the recording of the panel conversation:
Labels: Dan Jago, Jamie Goode, LIWF, London Wine, Marketing Moments, Tesco, wine, Wine Marketing