Marketing handbooks tought us about the 4 P’s of marketing: Price, Product, Promotion, Place but in today’s world it is missing one component – Experience.
Why Wine Communication Sucks by Retha Haros was one of thebuyer.net‘s most read articles in the last week or what. Telling it like it is, she calls out the wine industry for missing its audience by focusing on product in its advertising, rather than emotion.
And she is on the money. Wine packshots and references to terroir are not exciting enough in today’s competitive world of communication. And as important as knowledge is, is making your audience aware of how little they know, the best way for you to sell them something? I guess not.
Does this mean the wine industry’s creativity stops at producing the wine? Not really, it just means that the world of communication has changed quickly and significantly and perhaps, like many others, our industry has not kept up.
Product used to be the focus. Experts used to tell us why we are supposed to enjoy the wine. Price was a good indication of quality. Traditional media was all we had.
Technology and social media changed a lot of things. Some for the worse, but a lot for the good as well. People share their thoughts on what they do, drink and eat and it is not about the product, but their experience of it. And it forces as to rethink what we do with our product. Suddenly it is not just about what we have, but what people want. and if the wine industry is not grasping this yet, then we need to quickly catch up or craft beer will soon be the drink of choice…
Of course we have challenges. One of the commentators on Haros’ article mentions how attempts at creativity in the French wine industry are hampered by lobbyist against alcohol advertising, saying “the campaign breaches the law by “presenting wine as a means to enjoy oneself.” (Read more) This is also part of our reality in South Africa where alcohol advertising is strictly regulated and with quite an uncertain future. (Read more)
But advertising in its traditional form is expensive and trends indicate that the trust in advertising is continuously decreasing. As the landscape is changing towards social media and the share of experiences, today’s consumers rely on friends’ recommendations or online opinions, rather than advertising.
Of course we are about product. This is what we make and what we want to sell. We just need to be more clever about it. Our communication should be about what our audience wants and how what we have can help them make their life easier and more enjoyable.
- We need stories. Not only stories about the vineyard and the cooling breezes and the barrel maturation. Stories people can relate to. Social media is an important tool to share our stories in a multitude of ways, pictures, video’s, influencer pieces…
- We need experiences. Not everyone needs an award-winning restaurant or chandelier-clad tasting room. Your experience needs to be authentic and reflect your brand. And a tourism offering is where people can enjoy the brand experience. It is also your ‘shop’. Although e-commerce is becoming the way to do business, the need for an actual experience of the brand is still there. Adidas opened their Original flagship stores in New York, London… and now also in South Africa. Here you can experience the brand, you are encouraged to spend time in the shop and then if you want to purchase, you do so from an online platform. (See here) We can learn from this.
Combining the physical shop and experience with the technology of e-commerce and convenience seems like an ideal solution. Perhaps we can find a way to just as successfully combine emotion and product when it comes to wine communication!