In the wine industry we have a tendency to focus on what’s in the bottle and forget about what’s on the bottle. There is a romantic view of wine that’s centered on our experience with the contents of the wine glass. This can lead us to discount the importance of the brand and its packaging. But, wineries do so at their peril. Now, I’m not going to suggest that the utmost of care is not important in making a wine. But, I am going to suggest that as much time and effort should be spent caring for the brand as is spent caring for the wine.
Before I go farther I want to clarify what I see as the “Brand”. The brand to me is everything the consumer contacts that is not liquid. This includes: the name, label, packaging, pricing, press releases, take-aways, the winery and tasting room, the website and the people who represent the brand. All of these go toward the consumers’ image of your brand. Taking proper care of your brand is no small feat, but the rewards are great.
The first step in caring for your brand is determining your brands persona. This is the image of your brand that will dictate all of your branding decisions. Pay special attention to how this persona relates to the owners or key players in the winery and how it speaks to your target market. Is this brand hip and cutting edge, or is it a classic beauty? Is the brand green and eco-friendly, or high end luxury? The brand persona must reflect the values of your target market.
The next step is getting the brand to stick in the minds of your consumers. This is the key to repeat sales. To do this your message must be consistent. Everything in print and on the internet should be based on the same template – the format, colors, font, writing style, logo and slogan all must be consistent. Your packaging should reflect your brands persona. A cutting edge brand has a cutting edge label and can use non-traditional closures, while a classic beauty should have a traditional cork closure and classic label. And, your tasting-room and events should speak to the persona of the brand. All of these combine to make a brand “stick.” If one of them is inconsistent the consumer is turned off and confused.
Your brand is key to repeat customers. A good brand will always be at the tip of the consumers tongue and instead of googling “black cherry, hint of tobacco, great night out with lover” to find your wine, your consumer will be able to google your brand.