This week a group of Burgundy Exchange students for this year’s Certificate in International Wine Trade (CIWT) visited La Motte Estate in Franschhoek. We shared with them our brand and marketing strategies and explained why we have developed many of our passions into experiences.
Traditionally in wine marketing it was all about the product. When trying to create interest in your wine you quoted the masters and experts. Your Parker ratings and Platter ratings were very important and if you could add to a good rating, a gold medal on the bottle, your marketing job was made much easier.
But today it is different.
While from a winery’s perspective especially, the product will always be very important, from a consumer perspective, the marketing approach needs to be broader.
Social media entered the scene turning everyone into a journalist who is able to post his/her opinion online and have it available to an international audience immediately. That is when the world changed.
Suddenly the opinions being broadcasted about you and your product was not necessary from experts. Being emotional beings, people talk about their experiences. We realised that in the new world of wine, we had to create experiences around our products.
Then I read this article on Winespectator.com – it seems that experience is not only important when it comes to marketing. Learning more about wine has also become more about creating an experience than having an expert or master teach.
As in marketing where there will always be room for the experts and their ratings, in teaching there will always be a need for educators and experts in their fields. There are however more options when in comes to the way in which we present the information.
In his article Matt Kramer compared the two ways of learning:
“Typically, these sages were significantly older, grayer, and surely stodgier, than their students. But they did know their stuff, however narrow their field of inquiry. Yet the nature of both their appreciation and the way they transmitted it was very nearly antique. It was classic “top down”: They lectured and we dutifully took notes.”
“Depending upon your level of interest, you can absorb knowledge from the most basic level at wineries that welcome casual visitors without an appointment. Or you can experience intense, detailed discussions with winegrowers who welcome “wine-serious” visitors by appointment. The entire spectrum of learning is available with not a whiff of old-style teaching. What’s more, the learning hardly begins or ends at the winery door. Fine dining today is as much a wine-education experience as any formal classroom. Sommeliers stand at the ready, if not so much to instruct as to guide, and maybe even nudge a bit should a guest invite that.”
And while I know that our own offering aims at being both entertaining and educational, for the first time after reading this article, did I realise that the change is indeed much broader than only the world of wine marketing. It is the world itself that now prefers doing things in a different manner.
While there is definitely room for both approaches, in today’s world successful marketing and teaching and probably many other disciplines as well, need to involve the learners. It is a much more practical and experience-focused way of doing things. And I look at how people enjoy their time at La Motte while attending food and wine pairings, historic and sustainable walks and a host of other experiences that both aims at creating excitement and learning them more about the brand and its passions, I am convinced that for now at least, this is the way to go!