Dialogue vs Monologue and Wine Marketing Online
I've used the word "authenticity" on too many occasions and in too many talks about blogging and social media, and in the content of this very blog to even count my use of the word at this point. Furthermore, many others use the term when speaking to the same issues I speak to here and there: what disposition is necessary to successfully market wine in the world of websites, blogs, social networks and email.
And yet, I'm spurred to wonder exactly what "Authentic" and "Authenticity" amounts to in the world of wine marketing. I was brought to question my views on "Authenticity" by this article on the "License To Steal" conference held recently in Ohio at which the speakers all seemed to say what I've said about being "authentic" when exposing themselves via on-line tools. For example:
"The Internet is not just a tool," [Jamie] Rule noted, "It's a culture. The
Internet is alive, and as a winery, you have to make sure that your
website is alive too. You have to have a great product, good service,
and then be able to respond to different social media communities where
authenticity is most important."
Let me speak to the issue of "Authenticity" by giving you an example using a Wark Communications client.
Mayo Family Winery in Glen Ellen has a second tasting room called the Reserve Room. There they sit down visitors and give them a seven course food and wine tasting experience. The Wall Street Journal called their tasting room "Awesome" and "The Best Deal in Wine Country".
And yet, these are not Jeffrey Mayo's words. They could be if they didn't have quotes around them. In fact, if they were Jeffrey's words they might even seem "authentically" enthusiastic. Better yet, if they were the words of an ordinary visitor who wrote them on Jeffrey's facebook page they would appear even MORE "Authentic". But because they are a from a traditional media source, because they have quotes around them, because they are re-posted purely to get folks in the door, they do not qualify as the kind of "Authentic dialogue" that wine marketers are told they need to pursue when working the Internet culture.
In other words, "Authentic" and "Authenticity" refers to the ability to define and position one's product or service in personal and individualistic forms that stress the seller's feelings and perceptions in a way a single other person taking part in a dialogue will appreciate—rather than positioning one's products and service in the form of a monologue where the products or services are defined by what they provide to a group.
Put another way, "Authenticity" in on-line marketing is a matter of asking for the sale in the context of a dialogue, rather than a monologue.
But, it's still about asking for the sale.