Chapter I: Is Branding Just Poetry?


The more I meet mid and top level managers in the wine industry, the better I see how branding considerations are not on top of their list.

I believe that it’s a big mistake.

Seth Godin defines brand as:

The set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service another.

Does it sound too abstract?

When I tell people that I work on branding projects, I realize that many people have difficulty in understanding or visualizing the work I do. So I decided to explain from zero.

First of all, let’s clarify few points and agree that:

Your brand is not your funky or shiny logo.

Your brand is not your wine labels.

Your brand is not your wine bottle or your Robert Parker scores.

Your brand is not your website.

Your brand is not your one-page advertisement on Wine Spectator.

These are only some communication tools that are ideally in line with your brand image.

Your brand is actually the reputation you build in time and the visibility you gain. The stronger your brand gets, the more people speak about it. This creates a buzz that evolves like a snowball effect. People start asking about your brand, and engaging with your brand and sometimes when they are disappointed they criticize it. Overall, the idea is to create the desire that eventually results in better awareness, better sales and higher profitability.

Is it still too abstract?

Ok, let’s look at the situation other way around.

Do you think it is just a coincidence that Domaine de la Romanée-Conti  is one of the most profitable labels of Sothebys? How did Barefoot become the world’s best selling wine? Do you know how Meiomi Winery increased its production from 60,000 cases to 600,000 cases from 2006 to 2016 and got sold to Constellation brands in 2015 for $315 million?

Do you think that these success stories would be still out there if these companies only focused on their product and sales without giving any attention to their brand strategy? Of course not.

All these brands differ from each other, one way or another. However, what successful brands have in common is their solid brand identity that they can build a story around. These brands are what they say they are and they live up to the expectations they create. The majority of the wine consumer might not know a lot about winemaking or grape growing, but they know when wine brands unfulfill their promises. Immediately.

As I always repeat to my clients, smart branding is measurable with financial metrics such as market share, profitability, revenue, growth rate and more. In addition, brand metrics include brand awareness, loyalty, digital success, organic PR and more.

We will connect the effect of brand strategies to these quantifiable signs in the next chapters. For now, let’s just start with agreeing that brand ideas remain poetry, only until they are executed.

Next: Chapter II: How to Measure the Success of Your Brand

Stay tuned and if you want to discuss more about the subject or work on a project together, drop me a line via! 

Photo Credit: Elis Wilk : | She has amazing stuff, have a look!

Seyma BasComment