It seems as if wine estates believe their name, story, label, packaging and content is enough to build their brand. It is well known that "word of mouth" is the most powerful marketing tool there is. But can one rely purely on this?
This phenomenon is worldwide. There are thousands of wine brands out there, well over 100 to choose from in SA alone. I could find roughly 70 brands globally that have a proposition for the consumer and maybe 10% of those could convince the consumer to try the wine. Such as Bolla's "Wine is like love, when the right one comes along, you know it". Or William Hill "Elegance. Defined." Or Graca's "The talking, eating, drinking, laughing, singing, sharing wine." Or Leopard's Leap "...follow your instincts". Often these propositions are only campaigns and do not appear on the label, why? Consumers need and deserve a reason for trying a brand. With so much choice out there, why not give them one?
A brand is all about value. The higher the margin the higher the value. No other category has such a wide spectrum of prices. From R20 to R500 for the same wine / cultivar. It seems to me that wine makers simply do not believe they need to market their wines. Why else is there so little spend on ATL advertising (ca. R100m per annum of which 20-25% go to sparkling wine) when SA produces now 11Mhl of wine per year.
What I love about wine, is the variety of tastes. Beer drinkers are notoriously brand loyal, once a Castle drinker, always a Castle drinker. Whereas a Chenin or Sauvignon fan has many different options to choose from. Bar the mass wines / box drinkers, the more discerning wine drinker is far less brand loyal. Always seeking for the little gem out there. Every year is different. The search never stops. But we need to find it. So please use marketing (neck tags, print ad, posters, radio etc.) to point us to your gem Mr Wine Maker. Make us an offer that convinces us to try your wine. How do I become a fan of your wine if I never try it?
Often wine brands / cellars say they do not have the budget for marketing. There seems to be a misconception that it will cost an arm and a leg! To put a neck-tag on a bottle is very cheap, or printing a pay-off line on a label. It is the small things that can change the path of a brand.
Came across an article by Bruce McGechan (Wine Marketer) which spells it out perfectly: "The brand proposition is how your brand benefits the consumer. Not your heart felt statement about yourself. Although family and chemical free wine making practices may be important to you, are they the driving reasons why someone would choose your wine? And if you think they are, how else are you going to standout versus other family wines in the consumer market?"
It seems as if the marketer of today (and not only in the wine industry) have lost the drive / dreams for their brands. There seems to be a lack of entrepreneurial spirit.
The lack of guts to give it a go!