THE BOOZE BIN
By Pia Mara Finkell (@piamara)
Writing from sunny St. Helena in Napa Valley today, I am particularly psyched out of my mind to attend the Nomacorc Symposium for wine marketing managers on “Marketing to the Next Generation of Wine Drinkers” today at the Culinary Institute of America. The lineup of speakers is killer, from the king of all things wine, social media and the JETS, Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee), to wine blogger extraordinaire, Joe Roberts (@1WineDude). I wonder if there will be a JETS v. Steelers showdown? But I digress.
The conference will surely bring plenty of learnings, which I’ll share in an upcoming post. The roundtable discussion on “Strategies for Building Wine Brand Loyalty” is of particular interest. The session poses the question “what makes a wine drinker come back to a brand over and over again?” Building brand loyalty is, of course, key to the growth of any brand, but particularly challenging when it comes to wine and Millennials.
As a generation, Millennials are known for experimentalism and openness in trying new brands, but perhaps are not the easiest crowd to hold on to for the long haul. So, what makes us such a challenge to win(e) over? Is it even possible to hold our attention in this fast paced world where the next hot thing is just one aisle over?
One of today’s panelists, Joe Roberts of 1WineDude isn’t so sure, or at least he knows brands won’t be able to use the same approach to build loyalty among the Boomer generation. So, what is the right strategy? The answer is not quite as simple as the following, but for the sake of brevity, here are three words to use as your mantra in building brand loyalty among Millennials:
1. Excellence: Bottom line, put something good out there. If the quality of your wine is top-notch, you won’t have to work quite as hard to market yourself, because we’ll do it for you. In a recent BizReport article, fellow Millennial and PR executive at Edelman in Bangalore, Arathi Menon, summed it up well: "Focus on making an excellent product. If you do so then all of your marketing will be true… and most of the marketing will be done by us."
2. Authenticity: I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth repeating. Just because you are hoping to reach Millennials doesn’t mean you should change who you are, sport a fauxhawk or start wearing Converse. Please don’t. Stay true to who you are (don’t worry, white Reeboks can be very cool), be proud of your awesome wine and story, and find a way to share that experience with us.
Leah Hennessy of Millenier put together a good approach to building brand loyalty through authentic experiences here, and Hardy Wallace of DirtySouthWine makes this good point: “A business should have one message – the truth. If you want to target market segments, alter your platform not your message.”
3. Engagement: So, now you’ve got a great bottle of wine, you’re staying true to your story and message… now what? Engage, engage, engage. It’s a time commitment. Sign on to Twitter and Facebook, and join the conversation already taking place about your brand. It’s all about the relationship. Just like with dating, when you’ve had a nice encounter with someone, it is so important to keep in touch. Engage them via social media and keep it interesting with news and events from your winery, wine or region.