By Stephanie Lottridge, Inbound Marketing Manager, Hearst
After 20 years of steady growth, the wine industry is more saturated than ever before. Your winery or wine brand is up against a shift in consumer preferences focusing on the experience or value a brand provides. Consumers are more attracted to brands they can relate to on a personal level; they want to hear your story.
In this post, we’ll review how to make your wine brand stand out from the crowd and how you can engage your target audience by sharing your unique story.
How do you stand out from the crowd?
The tasting room can no longer be your only path to direct sales, and you can’t only rely on highlighting your product’s strengths to carry your wine brand to the next level. Your story needs to be the backbone of your marketing strategy if you want to adapt to a new consumer market driven by the experiences brands provide and the story behind the brand itself.
“Successful wineries 10 years from now will be those that adapted to a different consumer with different values.” – Rob McMillan in his “State of the Wine Industry 2018” report.
This is especially true for luxury brands that are competing to stay relevant during a time when so many new labels are popping up including several from NBA stars like Dwayne Wade and culinary superstars like Ayesha Curry. How can you compete with their consumer influence, stardom and budget?
An emotionally connected customer is your key to success. Recent research by Harvard Business Review, found emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as a highly satisfied customer.
Of course, you want your customer to have an excellent experience when they visit your winery. But, if you can take that customer satisfaction further and connect with people on a personal level, you will create brand ambassadors who are more likely to purchase wine from you online, return for another visit, follow you on social media, tell their friends and family about how great you are, etc.
Dio Wine Bar, for example, uses emotional motivators such as the desire to feel a sense of belonging and the desire to protect the environment to tell the story of what they’re passionate about resulting in a personal connection with their customers. (For a list of Harvard Business Review’s “high-impact motivators,” click here.)
Dio’s story is an intrinsic part of their marketing strategy. Their values and passions are laced into every touchpoint they have with a customer including their website, Facebook and Instagram pages.
By adding the simple copy below to the homepage of their website, they’ve connected with people who are passionate about female empowerment, living a healthy lifestyle, and protecting the environment.
And, as I said, those values are portrayed in their social media strategy as well.
I’ve never been to this wine bar. But, if I’m ever in D.C., this will be one of the first places I visit because I already feel connected on a personal level due to our shared values.
Your wine brand’s differentiating factors are going to derive from your story. What are you passionate about? How did your winery get its start? What keeps you going to work every day?
How do you tell your story?
When you can narrow down the answers to the questions above and begin crafting your story, you need to understand how to tell your story to engage your audience.
We couldn’t agree with Lisa Mattson more when she said, “Faceless brands are the next dinosaur” in her Content Marketing World talk about how she helped reinvigorate Jordan Winery’s marketing strategy through video.
One of the most effective ways to tell your story is to put a face behind your brand. Lisa helped Jordan Winery put a face to their brand by creating a video marketing strategy that brought their people to life including this video of the popular song “Despacito.”
As cheesy as the video may be, it’s light, fun, and breaks down the barrier between the brand and the consumer. Humanizing your brand is an especially effective tactic for wine industry marketers because the industry carries an air of sophistication that may be intimidating for those who are new to exploring finer wines.
Remember to have fun with telling your story! There are plenty of ways to go about it. The video above is just one example. Your goal is to show off your love for what you do and why you’re passionate about wine.
Joy is infectious. Ask yourself how you can establish a positive connection with your customer and let the creative process take over. We highly encourage brainstorming sessions. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Shoot a video of a day in the life of your winemakers. What do they love about their job? In particular, what do they love about working for you? What are three wine tasting tips they would give someone who knows nothing about wine?
- Create a video diary of your wine tasting room by taking a one-second video every day for a year and compiling them together. The same concept can be applied to your vineyard and showing the care that goes into producing each varietal.
- Interview the owner about the history of the winery. What challenges did the winery need to overcome to open or stay in business after a hardship? What is their favorite memory related to the winery? Why are they passionate about wine?
How do you get your story in front of your audience?
When you have the content, you need to distribute it to your target audience. Understanding your target audience is imperative to your distribution strategy because you need to know where your audience is consuming content. Are they reading the newspaper or scrolling through their Instagram feed? Do they read any blogs or subscribe to any newsletters?
Social media is one of the best platforms for distribution because you’re able to connect with your audience directly. Platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook are designed specifically for sharing stories and establishing meaningful connections. These platforms are also one of the most cost-effective ways to get your story to your target audience. For tips on how to build a brand for your winery using social media, check out this post.
You can also take a more advanced approach to distribution through native advertising channels to pinpoint your audience by geographic and psychographic criteria, which is the approach our content creators, The StoryStudio, takes when working with clients.
Native advertising is a type of digital marketing that offers an unobtrusive experience for the user by placing ads alongside website content in a seamless, integrated format. Native ads typically have a disclaimer saying “ad” or “sponsored content” letting the user know the content has been paid for by an advertiser. Below is an example of native advertising content on SFGATE.
Using native advertising to promote your story can result in people wanting to learn more about your wine brand. In a Content Marketing Institute study, results found more than 70% of consumers would prefer to learn about a product or service through content rather than traditional advertising. Because native ads are viewed 53% more frequently than display ads and result in an 18% increase in purchase intent, it only makes sense to promote your story using native advertising.
Remember, your story needs to be the backbone of your marketing strategy to help you compete with changes in consumer preferences and a rapidly saturated wine industry.