Success used to be measured in assets. And although the landscape has been changing for a while, nothing made it more real for me than Tom Goodwin’s article: The battle is for the interface.
“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.’
Of course everything that happens in the world of business, also happens in the world of wine – the very traditional world of wine… But what does this interface-business means to us? We can hardly compete to be the world’s biggest wine brand without wine – or can we?
Whether wine producers will ever be able to move in this realm is a good question, but it seems in order to stay on-trend in the wine business, the focus has to be on the customer interface.
It used to be about product. And while terroir and style differentiated the huge offering, the wine industry often used the winemaker to add personality. The winemaker was the point of difference and in many cases personified the charm and accessibility of the wine or in others, alternative character and non-conformance.
But is the brand not supposed to be bigger than the individual? Enter the brand personality or what I like to call it, the brand experience. How people experience your brand – how they get to communicate with it and their opinion on it – that to me is the new challenge to the wine industry.
Is it more about the brand than the product? To a degree, yes. Not everyone is an expert on the product, but they have an opinion on their own experience. And everyone can broadcast their opinion to anyone who wants to listen.
Does that mean exceptional quality without experience will miss the mark? A good question. I guess it depends on how broad and how exciting you want your interface to be. What you see as your mark.
What if it becomes all about the image and not the originality and quality?
While value might have moved from the asset to the data base and audience, the challenge might now become to maintain the integrity of the product.
Perhaps for wine, as seen from the perspective of a brand owner, to go “Uber” will be quite a challenge, but to ignore this interesting new way of doing things can result in you missing the asset of the time – the customer interface. No one can afford that!