As times passes and new technologies are put to use, it seems as if everything gets more complex. Or perhaps it is just the opposite? That everything becomes easier?
Actually both things happen. Things become easier because the marketing tools are becoming more user friendly and cheaper. This allows many wineries access to a type of communication that they could not have imagined only a few years earlier.
Wineries used to focus on developing a good wine – sheltered by their origin – designing a label, a package, etc. They sent the product to the major prescribers to rate their wine by points, they participated in contests, did tastings and participated in wine fairs. They visited and sold directly to certain customers. Once they had done all of this (which was a lot), they would wait for buyers with different backgrounds to come and buy from the winery. With the financial and human resources it was impossible to do more.
Adapting to changing processes and being more proactive in generating and selling the brand creates competitive advantages, but it also adds greater complexity.
You must define a message and communicate to many different type of people, but doing so enables clever winemakers to create competitive advantages. It also allows winemakers with personality to find their niche in the market. It allows them to make and execute a wine Marketing Strategy that they did not have before. Those who can apply new technologies to their communication can make a great leap over their competitors.
Earlier, the name of the game was that the winemakers would follow the best prescribers. Other winemakers would not listen to anyone, but would just make wine out of the heart. They risked having serious difficulties marketing their wine.
Today´s world allows wineries to be more independent of the major prescribers. It allows them to listen to final consumers and many other voices, to follow their own tastes while taking the needs and tastes of consumers into account.
They say that Van Gogh died in misery because nobody understood his art. Who is nobody? The few who had access to his work at the time? Now the possibility of a Van Gogh starving is infinitely smaller. Search for the people who like what you do? Now, you can. Internet gives no guarantee that you can sell, but the probability you get it is infinitely superior. And you get a much greater satisfaction. The dilemma of making a living or being faithful to the principles of an open debate can be difficult, but if you have the option of earning a living and be true to yourself at the same, then there is no debate.
Do you want to be free to make the wine that comes directly from your heart?
¿Do you think you can separate yourself from what they think and what they say about your wine? Do you think you can afford not to tell your version of why you do things the way you do? Who knows better than you why you do what you do? Do you think there will be anybody who can tell your story better than you can?
Be brave. Tell your story. Hear how it sounds. And draw your conclusions.
This post in Spanish: Cuenta tu historia. Y escucha como suena.
Where is Wally?
Published in Mercados del Vino y la Distribución nº 60 from december 15th, 2010 to january 15 th 2011
It is a terrible moment in time. We are going through a deep crisis in which everything is unstable and nothing is safe.
However, it is at the same time an exciting moment because we are living in a period of history in which changes are to be major. And in times of change, there are great opportunities for those who are able to identify them.
In the past there have been important turning points in the wine sector. Some time ago, with thousands of wineries in Spain and worldwide, the need to organize this sector was a priority. And Wine Guides known to all appeared to play a vital role in making a subjective concept as quality into something objective. With such guides, all buyers were more certain of being able to resell the goods they bought. They could do it following the ratings of the above guidelines. This fact alone caused an exponential increase in exports. But it also caused a loss of heterogeneity among the different wines to be somehow forced to follow their guidelines in assessment.
With the advent of Internet and Social Media there are new trends and wine tasting leaders with widely varying criteria, whose strength lies in the number of followers reading their entries over the network and the reputation gained every day.
Where once there were few who dictated the criteria for wine assessment, now there are many more who determine the value and quality of wines. And most of them with far less individual influence. Because there are many more. Because followers follow no longer a single prescriber, but many, and they are all just a click away. Because that leadership is something that varies with time. The absolute truths about the world of wine disappear. Everything becomes much more complex.
In addition, the wineries can now contact with end consumers and tell them in detail their characteristics, and understand their tastes at first hand. It is not necessary to understand the whole process to succeed in this new situation. What is needed is to understand what specific things work.
And the essential truths are, above many others in this moment … commitment to quality, differentiation, undertake new projects, have personality, the way these factors convey to the market, find new markets, using new technologies and the Internet, having direct contact with end customers to tell your uniqueness and understand first-hand how customers receive our products and what are their preferences.
Darwin has a phrase that comes to my mind that says, “not the strongest nor the most intelligent will survive, but those who can best adapt to change” At the moment, we are going through the greatest change in history. What are you doing to adapt to these changes?
This image comes from: docencia.izt.uam.mx
This post in Spanish: La clave está en diferenciarse y en algo más.
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