Part II of Better Branding through Consumer Direct.

Common Brand Fumbles in the Tasting Room – How to avoid them?

The biggest challenges – that we have seen when mystery shopping hundreds and hundreds of wineries – are two areas where a winery’s brand seems inconsistent and sends mixed messages to the consumer. These are what we call brand fumbles.

Brand Fumble #1: How Do You Avoid ‘Gut Check” Inconsistency?

The first type of brand fumble is when our internal assessment or “gut check” is conflicting with what we know the winery website promises and/or what the desired brand story should be. Just because we know what the brand is, it doesn’t mean that this is being translated accurately to consumers – customers’ gut check may not be what the owners thinks it is, or wants it to be.

Answer: Everything Speaks! Be Consistent.

The lesson here is to help your staff – and improve your winery’s guest experience – by being consistent.  As Disney says it so well, “Everything Speaks” – a concept that emphasizes that every minor detail says something to your guests.  It puts them in a mood or a frame of mind that can affect their experience at your winery.

Once your desired persona / brand position is clear, does everything else match it? Consider:

  • Your Venue & Layout
  • The Design of Your Guest Experience – from Tour Script to Tasting Options
  • Your Staff Knowledge / Skills / Attitude / Dress
  • The Music. The Lighting.
  • Does your visual merchandising tell a story that reinforces the desired brand image – or did someone just think buying finger puppets would be cute?

Try to ensure that everything at the winery speaks to your brand and your brand/business goals and continually monitor it. It is hard to judge for yourself, so on an on-going basis, having objective audits – of their brand gut check, through someone else’s eyes – is really important.

Brand Fumble #2: How Do You Achieve a Memorable Impression?

The second type of brand fumble is where the guest walks away from a winery visit with no real memorable impression…without any understanding of how your winery is really different from the one down the street.  It’s tough.  If a typical wine country visitor sees 6 to 12 wineries per visit, how is your winery ever going to stand out?  What can you do to make sure yours does?

Answer: The Golf Course Test.

Image a couple just got back from visiting wine county and the next weekend they are on the golf course. Their friends ask them about their trip and want to hear about their experiences. Bob is about to tee off and says: “We went to XYZ Winery, and…” This fill-in-the-blank is where your winery brand is going to come through… it’s your guests’ take away, what they remember from their visit to your winery.

The answer to achieving a memorable impression is storytelling. Try to think about a brand story that is so impactful that you would remember it a year from now. The best stories are not just any story, but those that teach you something, give you a flavor of the wine country, of the winery brand and those stories that appeal to you emotionally. This type of brand story is what is going to resonate with your guests long after they’ve visited.

If you provide personal, genuine, thoughtful service, people will remember you – and your brand. You are not just selling wine, you are selling memories. Make it a positive, lasting one.