Making “extraordinary” wine? Why you need to talk less about quality and more about your story

Mindy Joyce Brand marketing Strategy Wine Travel LuxuryBest Practices for Telling your Brand Story

By Mindy Joyce

You can find high quality wines everywhere these days. On a daily basis the wine consumer is bombarded with options of what to buy, and where to buy it. From the bottle store, to the grocery store; restaurant wine lists to wine websites and offers by email; the wine shopping experience is intense, to say the least.  

The mistake a lot of wineries make is focusing their marketing messages solely on the quality of their wines. In the premium wine category this isn’t so helpful. When you’re talking about spending $25 or more, ALL wines are “high quality”, “extraordinary” or “excellent”.

So what else can differentiate your brand? Labels and packaging are of course a big focus for those selling in retail locations, and all brands in general spend a lot of time on this. Scores can be another focus for some, but generally these are brands producing a decent volume of wine and are marketing these scores back to the consumer in the form of shelf talkers in retail situations.

Beyond the visual elements of your brand, what is even more memorable, is the story behind your brand. It is a fact, folks. The best brands are built on great stories. People remember stories, especially those that can spur an emotional response. Tell them a good story and your brand will stick in their mind, well beyond what a label design or score will do.

A story is not a sales pitch. It is a transfer of your passion about your brand but told in a personal context. If you were introducing your wines to someone new at a cocktail party, what would you say? The best stories can be told in about 30 seconds. Get good at this in a social situation and hone it down to a few sentences on your home page.

For some brands, it may mean taking a step back and doing some deep thinking. You have to know your brand story before you try to explain it to others. If your brand story is not memorable, then it will pay you to take some time to think about:

  • Why did I get into this?
  • Why are you passionate about these varietals and/or this style of wine?
  • What is unique or interesting about my product that nobody else can claim?
  • What’s the story behind my brand name? Created names should have some kind of story to the name.

4 Step Brand Story “To Do” list:

  1. Refine your 30-second brand story/”elevator pitch” and infuse it into your copy in a prominent place on your website. This is really what people want to read about. Introduce the brand the same way you would if you were at a cocktail party talking about it with someone new.
  2. If you have a created brand name (and not your last name) include the story behind it – or make up a story as to how you came up with the name. Think about what visual elements could work to support the name (if not already).
  3. Think about things like the varietal(s) you focus on. How can you stand out in this category as a whole? It may be through taking a greater focus and embracing the varietal further (e.g: Ravenswood).
  4. If there is a charity or cause aspect to your brand, how can you infuse it further into the DNA of your brand identity (color, design, illustrations)?

Do you have any questions, or comments? Please add them below.

This post was written for The Wine Foundry and their Commerce clients.  The Wine Foundry is a one–stop shop for custom wine production and offers fruit sourcing, label design, e-commerce solutions and coaching on D-to-C marketing and sales.  The Wine Foundry’s commerce clients, about 80 entrepreneurs, wine enthusiasts and vineyard owners, produce and sell their wines through the Napa-based company.

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