Small Winery Marketing Rule #1: Know Thy Self
This talk led to a blog post in which I briefly outlined those ten items on the list. Today's, and subsequent posts here at Fermentation, will delve deeper into each of the TEN THINGS that are critical for small and medium sized wineries to consider as they market their way into the 21st century and toward success
RULE NUMBER ONE: KNOW THY SELF
If you and every person that works for you can’t tell me why
I’m better off buying your wine instead of your neighbor’s wine and if you can’t
tell me what makes your winery unique and if you can’t do this in 30 seconds
or less, then you are going to have a very hard time surviving in a marketing
universe where you marketing efforts will be dominated by one-on-one
conversations and small group conversation with folks that have been brought up
to have short attention spans.
This is the most fundamental marketing rule of our time and
it is the most overlooked marketing rule of our time. The answer to what makes you unique and distinct from other 7000 wineries in America is going to be the foundation upon which you build
your brand, build a following, and build every communication tool you use to
get the attention of consumers, accounts and the media.
Do the exercise if you haven’t already: In 100 words or less:
What does your winery/brand stand for? Figure this out before anything else. In some corners of the marketing world, this is called your "Brand Proposition". Some call it "positioning". Other marketers with a more activist mindset refer to this essential definition of your company's utility by asking, "What do you stand for"?
Ideally, that idea that defines your brand and products and services will be unique from your competitors. For example, you might turn to me in the elevator as we speed up to higher floors and respond to my query, "So what do you do", with something like this:
"I own XYZ Winery. I started it because I wanted to produce small batch, single vineyard Syrah from cool climate regions of California and Washington. Essentially, we explore the confluence of dirt and climate using the Syrah grape as our medium for expression."
Or maybe you respond like this: "All my wines allude to the heroes of the comic books I loved as a kid and carry comic book art licensed by great comic book illustrators. We make a "Hulking" red that is big and strong. We produce a Zinfandel, America's national grape, that we call 'The Captain.' "Comics Estate is a pairing of popular wines and pop art."
Is, "We make Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from our estate in Oakville" enough of a statement of brand positionng? Personally, I don't think it is. What's really critical about your brand identity is that in describing it you can metaphorically take your potential customer by the hand and lead them deep in your world by using words, phrases, and ideas that spur positive connections in their own mind. You'll miss sometimes, because, well, some folks just won't feel too connected to The Hulk or Captain America. Others will have long before concluded that Napa Valley producers equal snootiness rather than great red wine. But finding a right audience for your unique products is something all together. If you are a human being that lives on the same planet earth as other human beings then you'll find there is a collection of folks located somewhere that will find appeal in your brand.
RULE #1: KNOW THY SELF!!