Wine Brand Image Key Drivers
Customers’ image of a brand is prompted by some key drivers, descriptions of which have been moulded into words that start with “P”. They could be considered a good check of your brand activity and drive your marketing activities. They are known as the “marketing mix”. You can also look at using these to describe how you will deliver your brand to your customers in a shorthand brand plan.
These drivers are: Product, Price, Place, People, and Perception.
If you haven’t got the product right all your branding effort will be in vain. However we’re not just talking about the intensity of flavour, complexity, balance, texture and length of flavour. We’re talking about the bottle, the label, the closure, and cases. Different customers groups will prefer different levels of quality and premium cues.
The most simplest indicator of quality to a consumer – if not always the most accurate! Given your cost base you need to be priced in the premium category, the choice is just how premium. In an occasion where a customer wants to impress others a middling priced bottle on the wine list may not cut it.
“The right people at the right place drinking the right product” and “On Premise builds brands” are two key phrases you’ll hear from professional alcohol beverage industry brand managers. For premium brands it’s absolutely key to their brand development.
For mainstream popular brands other drivers are arguably more important including high profile advertising and the general visibility around a region including billboards and signage. But that’s more for a large mainstream brand to be worried about than a premium Pinot Noir brand. Indeed advertising can signal to consumers that you’re not an exclusive and special brand but just another mainstream brand for the masses.
If it’s listed in the best restaurants that’s a superb cue for most groups of customers. If it’s discounted at the local supermarket on an aisle end then it’s time to panic – not only is your premium price point being destroyed but you’re seen as another popular brand.
On Premise (restaurants, cafes, bars) are the venue for key occasions and experiences for your target market. For example if your customers are at a fine dining establishment with some friends they may be enjoying exquisite food with some great wine.
This sort of occasion could well be one where the consumer is showing how discerning they are. Or perhaps at a flashy expensive place they want to impress others with their knowledge and wealth. Regardless a bottle of your premium wine on the table will be associated with an experience important to your customers and will hopefully prompt them to purchase your wine brand again.
Distributors are key in assisting you with this. They should have a good understanding of precincts (clusters of bars and restaurants) and whether they are, for example, more flashy or more foody. When you go through your target market ask them to identify what establishments have what sort of people. If they fit your target market then add them to your distributor listing objectives.
A key part of professional brand management is deciding on your niche or your particular group of customers. Once you’ve done this you want other potential customers in your niche seeing people like them (or people they aspire to be) drinking your premium wine. If it’s more an older sophisticated drinker then think about what sort of place that is versus a young single merchant banker. Any images of people you use also need to reflect this sort of person.
Small wine businesses generally can’t afford advertising. However direct marketing, internet sales, events, donations, PR and cellar door sales are affordable and effective. There are some great examples of wine, food, and music events where people can have a great time and associate that with your brand. It’s then up to you to use direct marketing, your website, point of sale stands, trade hosting and cellar door promotion to let your target market know.
Events especially wine and food, and music events are other good places where you can also be associated with experiences that are important to your customers. Remember with events to leverage them – that is for every dollar you spend on the event itself, spend another dollar on promoting your attendance/sponsorship of the event to your customers. Many a brand does not leverage events and only gets a small part of the value of this spend as a result.
You can’t afford advertising but you can afford a internet marketing with online sales and a trade section. Again it has to be relevant to your market. If it’s people who want to appear knowledgeable to others – then lots of detail will be appropriate (as it will in the trade section of your website). If people are looking for your wine for other reasons then don’t bother with detail and give them, for example, wine events they can attend.
Direct sales will boost your average margins so will form a key part of your marketing plan no matter what your size. The challenge here is relevant interesting information over the four seasons that will lead to lots of sales on the release of your wine.
This blog is all about Wine and Internet Marketing. To find more about each tactic click on the relevant Category in the sidebar. In summary here are some of the things to consider depending on your target market.
- General SEO
- Comparison Shopping Engines: wine-searcher, snooth and Google
- Google Adwords
- Email marketing
- Wine Clubs (and allocation systems if needed)
- landing page optimization and testing program of all key parts of the selling wine online process
- Facebook Pages
- Facebook eCommerce linked to your website
- Social Media Monitoring
- Local SEO
- Location Based Services
- LBS Monitoring
- Mobile optimized website
- Mobile and iPad application (iPhone then Android)
- Mobile Advertising
- QR code on label
So what’s your thoughts? Do you use the 5P approach or another method?