jamie goode's wine blog: Wine marketing: "stories rule"

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wine marketing: "stories rule"

I'm currently turning my thoughts to marketing wine. Specifically, can wine's 'naturalness' be used to help sell it? Do people care whether wine is produced sustainably, with a natural approach in the cellar?

I came across this wonderful quote from Seth Godin:

“Stories rule. Stories make us vote, or buy an iPod or give money to a charity. Stories trump science very time.”

With wine, what sort of stories can we tell? I think they are crucial if you want your wine to resonate with consumers. The stories must be true, they must be engaging, and they must be easily remembered. And how can we tell those stories? I think modern forms of communication make this achievable. You want to engage with your customers, and get them talking about you. But to do this your wine must be remarkable, and have a good story. While we face difficult economic times, there are great opportunities available for anyone who is prepared to step up to the plate with a product worth talking about.



At 12:49 PM, Blogger Gregory said...

Have a look at Red Car wines. Their marketing of various wines is linked to a story about which evolves from year to year.


OK it may not be a natural focus but I just think its quite innovative.

I have tasted the 2005 Trolley Series "shake, rattle and roll" Syrah. A bit pricey, but enjoyed it nonethteless.


At 5:17 PM, Blogger Michael Pollard said...

Well if you are ordinary or pedestrian in your approach to selling wine you won’t do too well. Take Wolf Blass of Australia. When he came on the scene there were not too many bowtie wearing winemakers in Australia. The quirky catches attention; look at Randall Graham in the US. One other thing about Wolf Blass. There is a story about him getting advertising for his wines (years ago now) by going to televised football (Rugby League) matches and rewarding cameramen with wine if they let their cameras linger on the advertising he had around the field.

At 5:08 AM, Blogger Couves said...

I think that marketing the “naturalness” or other environmental benefits of your wine is an endeavor fought with danger. Environmentalism has plainly become as morally and emotionally charged as religion (not to mention the complicating hard facts of science and the cold realities of politics, egad!).

Here’s just one example- A winemaker in, say, New York promotes the environmental benefits of his wine as a “local food” to consumers in NY (less gas is burned transporting the wine to the consumer, thus reducing its “carbon footprint” and the wine’s theoretical contribution to global warming). But on the other hand, there’s nothing “natural” about growing vinifera in NY state and it actually requires significantly more human intervention (chemical and otherwise) to produce the same amount of wine in a decidedly non- Mediterranean climate.

It’s best to stick with telling a story about the winemaker or the “terroir”. Even though we know such marketing typically involves an element of bs, it’s perhaps more forgivable than saying your wine will “save the world” when really it’s not.

Having said all this, I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with labeling wine with carefully defined terms such as “organic” or “biodynamic” or other earned certifications. But broader claims to sustainability or earth-friendliness are just too subjective to be useful to the consumer.

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wolf Blass also had to be persuaded for his company to sponsor the Ashes in 2005, after he told the Foster's board what a terrible sport cricket was!
I imagine he changed his tune after the coverage his brand got.

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Chris Mitchell said...

Blimey, Jamie, I really do hope that they do care about the story - my job depends on it. But of course there are two types of story (i) the real one about the way the wine is made (not that interesting to many), the people behind it (ditto) and where it comes from (a little more interesting), and (ii) the fabricated stories that many of the more commercial producers create to give the wine some character. Now, of course, no-one is doing anything wrong here - that's marketing, and gives PR companies something to get their teeth into.

But importantly, a different type of story is of interest to different levels of wine consumers. Those motivated purely by price at the entry level simply aren't interested - and probably never will be. On the other hand, those with a soft spot for wine and/or with a little more cash to throw around will want to know more, genuine, detail. I tend to feel that the higher the price tag, the less BS there is on the label.

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Franschhoek Wine said...

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