Traditionally, wine companies have approached marketing with a lack of sophistication, often utilising only conventional media channels with little thought or sensitivity towards their target audience. The allure of broad exposure has proved a powerful draw, outweighing the perceived need for accuracy. A notion that everyone who enjoys wine is part of the target audience exists, however it’s simply a poor excuse for lack of customer insight and a missed opportunity for wine brands. Pair this with an outdated marketing approach will ultimately blend a forgettable brand experience.
Rather than casting a net far and wide, wine brands need to target a defined portion of the market with a more focused and distilled consumer profile. This approach enables brands to tell their story and interact with consumers in more authentic and meaningful ways.
When you focus your marketing efforts on a more focused and distilled consumer profile, several things occur: It's easier to connect with your audience more genuinely, and higher customer spending often follows. Secondly, efficiencies are generally higher, leaving you with additional resources to contribute to future marketing campaigns.
A brand strategy provides a solid foundation for targeted marketing, and with careful preparation it will attract specific audiences. For example, a certified organic winery would benefit from targeting wine drinkers who are interested in organic wines rather than simply those who don't care whether their wine is organic or not. Furthermore, a brand strategy will provide deeper insight into the nuances that distinguish organic wine drinkers. They may be primarily millennials with an interest in eco-friendly products and handcrafted apparel, for example. Being armed with these insights allows a brand to understand and empathise with a specific segment of your audience. However it is important not to make assumptions of your audience and instead use research and insights to understand them more thoroughly.
There's a saying in marketing and branding "if you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no-one". This implies that you'll appeal to a tiny portion of the market if you address everyone in the same tone, use identical jargon, and satisfy the same wants. Everyone is different. Everyone wants to feel important and brands, particularly wine brands, can benefit from narrowing their focus towards a specific portion of the market.
Many businesses are hesitant to use this approach since they believe it will alienate a portion of their audience, and fear it could result in a loss of revenue. However, when you look at the big picture, you'll see that you still obtain patronage from people outside your target demographic; just a larger majority of individuals inside that demographic.
Your wine brand needs to gain a greater understanding of your target audience – in more detail than simply 'wine drinkers'. How old are they? Where are they from? What's their favourite wine? This is some basic data that can be obtained rather simply. Knowing whether patrons are predominantly looking for education from you or simply looking for something they haven't tried before when they come to your cellar door for a tasting, would be beneficial to your brand. Demographic information and the characteristics that set these people apart from others are also important discoveries your brand would benefit from.
Dialling in on a target audience will make it easier to gain clarity on who you're talking to. The more clarity you have on this group of people, the better equipped you are to comprehend what makes them distinct. Understanding these distinctions provides an opportunity to leverage your knowledge and resonate with them through storytelling; crafting your story in a way that piques their interest and addresses their expectations & desires.
Imagine that you're having a one-on-one conversation with them. How do they speak? What tone of voice do they use? Do they use specific jargon? It's beneficial for your audience to perceive your brand as feeling familiar, since familiarity makes a brand far more comfortable to interact with.
Your target audience will use certain language when discussing wine. They may use more traditional terms and they could be well-versed in wine industry vernacular. Perhaps the opposite. Your brand must endeavour to know this information about your audience. Once your brand does know, you'll be better placed to establish meaningful relationships with them.
Your story is one of the most important pieces of information at your disposal. Storytelling is such a powerful advocate for your brand as it has the capacity to capture people's attention and elicit an emotional response. Wine brands historically have been great at telling their own origin story, however one problem is that the hero of those stories is always the winery, never the customer.
A contemporary storytelling tactic communicates the audience's story, also positioning them as the hero. A second problem often present in wine brands' storytelling is that the story is not unique. More often than not it's just a variation of the same story.
Today's consumers are fuelled by stories as they look for connections with brands. Consumers support brands that share similar values, experiences and personalities. If a brand can find a way to place the audience at the centre of their story, also positioning them as the hero, they will likely cut through the cliche stories in the market, become memorable and be seen as a brand that is unique, charming and engaging.
"Today wine consumers do not need help finding new wines. Wineries need help finding new consumers." - Ryan Opaz
Once you intimately understand your audience, your language has been adapted and tailored to appeal to that group, and your brand's narrative has been refined, it's only appropriate that you fine-tune the outward appearance of your brand design across all touch-points. In particular, the wine labels should reflect this – as the labels should support the narrative you're telling.
Research from Nielsen reveals that about 62% of the time, “consumers are considering multiple options leaving huge opportunities for labels to make an impact.”
Labels, on the other hand, aren't the only things that need to reflect a sensitivity to your audience's appeal. If your brand's logo is still the same design from when you first opened the winery, it's possible that it doesn't reflect the aesthetic that your newly targeted audience finds appealing. And there's far more beneath the surface of a brand than simply a logo. The logo should strategically serve as a distilled graphic representation of the broader brand.
Your winery may have a variety of places where the customer has an encounter with the brand, ranging from the website to the cellar door, potentially a restaurant and even wine delivery. Is your branding consistent across all touchpoints where your customer would come into contact with the brand? Every one of these occurrences is an opportunity to incorporate your brand's characteristics into the experience. More significantly, simply looking at how you might improve, streamline and personalise the experience across all of these touch points will go a long way toward encouraging repeat business and loyalty from your consumers.
What are your customer's expectations regarding the experience they'll have when they visit your winery? Perhaps it's expected that every time your customers dine at your restaurant, they want to do a seated wine tasting or at least be offered one. Maybe it's the opposite—your customers might expect to be offered a charcuterie board or see a menu, whenever doing a wine tasting. Your customers will be more likely to spend and become members if you meet basic expectations.
Address such expectations as frequently as feasible, and it will develop trust and loyalty in your supporters.
There's still time to get a head start in 2022. Australians have resumed their travels post covid-19 limitations. This means more exposure for wineries to new and returning visitors, which is excellent news. Take this as a perfect time to evaluate who you want coming through your doors and gather as much information about your visitors as you can.
Focus your brand and marketing efforts around your target audience moving forward. Be strategic, be targeted and be unapologetically you. Your audience will gravitate towards your brand, and thank you for it. Work towards implementing the 6 changes to your branding, listed above, and hit the ground running in 2022.
At Blunt Agency we believe strategic branding builds stronger connections with audiences, ultimately building your brand. Get in touch with us to discuss how your brand can become remarkable through strategic branding.