This post is about the importance of brand consistency. While this is an important concept for any consumer business that sells goods or a service, it is especially important for a wine business.
Brand consistency is vital
Your brand is your business’ representative to the world. It is the way consumers, media, competitors and clients come to know your products and services. Your brand is an essential part of how you message to the world who you are and what you do. This is important in any business, but is vital in the wine business. Why? Because many consumers have a minimal understanding of how wine is made. There have been studies over the years showing a lack of understanding of what goes into making wine from the use of SO2 to what’s actually in a bottle of wine, see a recent study by the Wine Market Council.
Even consumers who have significant wine knowledge, don’t know what to expect from your bottle of wine the first time they come into contact with you. Is it dry or sweet, bold or refined, ageworthy or drink now? Should they bring your wine to a BBQ or to an anniversary dinner? Your brand messaging sets the expectation for the consumer, it’s also what keeps them coming back. Here’s a great article on the importance of brand awareness.
How conflicting brand messages hurt you
Conflicting messages make it more difficult for the consumer to remember your brand. And if a consumer doesn’t remember your brand, they won’t repurchase or tell their friends about your amazing wine. There’s an old Rule of 7 in marketing that says that consumers need 7 consistent interactions with your brand to remember it and become a buyer. If your branding is inconsistent, varies between marketing channels, or varies substantially between wines, you don’t build the brand in consumers minds. This means you will need many more than 7 interactions to make a sale. In a world where there are many consumer options, this is a lost sale. Instead consumers will turn to a brand that they remember.
In an industry where the product is experienced with multiple senses, it is critical that wineries consistently build the experience they intend consumers to have. Yes, as a winery, you craft the experience, even if it is in the consumers home. This takes care, a well thought out vision (see my post about crafting a vision), planning and attention to detail. Consumers, generally, don’t have great palates and extensive wine experience. So, before they taste and smell your wine, they are building an expectation of the wine based on your packaging, pricing and other label details. The expectation you build through these aspects of your brand influences consumers perception of your wine when they taste it. When the expectation you have built doesn’t match the wine itself, there is a disconnect. Disconnects do not generally work in your favor. Not when there are so many other wines available.
Here’s a example
Suppose a consumer had your wine at a party, and liked it. Now they are looking to visit your area and do some wine tasting. The very first thing they will do is visit your website. They already have an idea about your brand from their first interaction, so they likely know about your relative price and the quality aspects of the wine. Now they are looking for you tell them what they will experience in a potential visit. Really they are looking to confirm their expectations. If your website isn’t very clear on what a visit to your tasting room is like, what your prices are, or if the style of the website doesn’t match the packaging and the qualities they have already attributed to your wine, they will take their money elsewhere. Consumers have a multitude of options, help them choose yours.
Brand consistency across all marketing channels and consumer interactions is vital for wineries. There’s a lot of choices in this industry. Being consistent in your branding and marketing helps consumers consistently choose you. In a world where consumers have easy access to information and many choices