Part I of Better Branding through Consumer Direct

Big Boy Brands – What can we learn?

What is this esoteric thing is called brand?  Do you have to have an MBA to understand it?  Do you have to have deep pockets to really leverage it?

We dedicate many lessons during our WISE Academy certification course to help winey DTC team members tell a better brand story – to have their brands do more of the heavy lifting in creating a memorable guest experiences and in selling more wine.  But “teaching” how to leverage our brands can get a bit . . .  fuzzy.  The good news is we are all consumers.  So they best way to teach what makes a good brand – and how to leverage it – is take off your winery hat and put on your consumer hat.

Here is a simple way to think about it: We use a Product.  We buy a Brand.  But we remember an Experience.  It is the emotional connection that makes brands powerful, that makes brands stick.

From Marketing 101 we know that a strong brand:

  • Delivers your Differentiated Message Clearly
  • Confirms your Credibility
  • Connects to your Target Emotionally
  • Motivates the Buyer to Buy
  • And Cements their Loyalty

For really strong brands <Insert logos for Kleenex, FedEx, Apple, Mercedes & Tiffanys> the company actually becomes the category of the product or service it sells . . .I am going to sneeze, please hand me a Kleenex . . .Wait a minute while I Google it . . . Don’t worry. I’ll FedEx it to you.

But there are no – and never will be – uber-dominant brands in the wine industry, so what can we really learn from these examples?  The key lessons from these big boys centers around the personal and emotional connection.  Again – to get these big boy lessons – we go back to Marketing 101 basics to find that:

  • They deliver a Promise that we can rely on. Use FedEx when you absolutely need it there overnight
  • They have a Personality we identify with. Think of the battles in your own social circle of the differences between Apple vs. PC user.  Think of the difference between a Mercedes buyer vs. VW Bug buyer.  This is not about good brands vs. bad brands.  This just about different, personal, emotional choices.
  • They deliver an Emotional Experience we will remember. Like receiving a Tiffany’s blue box and white satin ribbon says some much more than any other type of bling gift.

With hundreds of wineries now in your neighborhood, how can you possible get your brand to stand out?  That’s the wrong question.  They right questions is how can you leverage the power of your brand though emotional connections.

Your Promise. Your Identity.  Their Experience

So your wine is the product you sell while your brand is the “gut” feeling customers & prospects have about your company.  Not just your logo, but also your tours & tastings, your website, your phone manners – every consumer touch point should make your brand come to life.

In the end, the brand experience is not what YOU say it is . . .  Is it what THEY (your customers) say it is.

Note: This is the first WISE Bite in three part series on Better Branding through Consumer Direct.