So, you’re starting your own wine brand? Cue the happy dance. After years of working alongside new wine brands, we thought we’d amass our learnings into an actionable guide for winery startups.
In part one of our How to Start a Winery Business series, we discussed the Top 4 Mistakes New Wineries Make. In part two, we dove into Starting Your Own Wine Brand. For this next segment of our series, we’re going to show you why powerful brand positioning can mean the difference between your bottles collecting dust on a shelf and making it into shopping carts.
WHAT MAKES YOUR $17 ROSÉ DIFFERENT FROM ANOTHER WINERY’S $17 ROSÉ?
That’s the million-dollar question. What’s the differentiator? What makes your wine brand unforgettable?
To paint a better picture, let’s step away from the wine industry for a moment. Enter: Apple products. People are absolutely smitten. We’re talking head-over-heels, struck by Cupid’s arrow, 100% in love with all things Apple. Why?
At the end of the day, they offer the same types of laptops, tablets, and smartphones as other companies. And they certainly aren’t cheap. The difference is, Apple isn’t just another tech company. They’re a brand that inspires. That innovates. That creates experiences. They use storytelling to sell a lifestyle instead of selling a product.
The same logic is true for loads of products – including wine. How you choose to position your brand has the power to influence behaviors, foster loyalty, and drive profitability for your business.
SO, YOU MAKE A PRETTY KILLER ROSÉ…HOW DO YOU TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT?
In one of Simon Sinek’s TED talks, he discusses a concept called ‘The Golden Circle.’ The entire idea focuses on your purpose – a.k.a WHY do you make wine? Why do you wake up each day and do what you do?
Every single business knows what they sell (hint: wine). They also know how they sell it. But figuring out the why is what separates the successful brands from the ones that never truly find their footing.
All too often, winery startups fail to define their ‘why,’ and they miss out on an integral opportunity to weave that story into their brand strategy. Does it involve the blood, sweat, and tears of your great-grandparents? Does it tie into your family’s love for music?
Every bottle has a story. Cultivating yours, and using that narrative as a way to position your brand, will captivate consumers, humanize your brand, and ensure people continuously choose your $17 rosé over another.
CREATE YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP)
In a similar vein, it’s important to define your value proposition – i.e. what’s the value you offer? Know what makes you different. Think of your unique selling proposition as a brand promise. A differentiator in the marketplace.
As Mary Neumeir of the Brand Gap says, “Our brains are hardwired to notice what is different, not what is the same.” To help you position your brand in a compelling and strategic way, here are three avenues you can explore in terms of what makes your winery different:
- Wine Type (exclusively produce one varietal, like Pinot Noir or Norton)
- The Place (The AVA or a beautiful scene)
- Personality (Charismatic winemaker or owner)
Now that your creative juices are flowing, it’s time to develop your winery’s unique selling proposition. To do so, simply complete the following statement:
Only (your winery) delivers (unique differentiating benefit) to (target audience).
Pro tip: the most effective value propositions are the ones that think outside the box. In other words, steer clear of uninspired, yawn-inducing phrases like: “We’re the best” or “We’re the cheapest.”
We utilize a tool called the Bauerhaus Brand Map to help clients solidify this positioning and formulate their unique value proposition. We’ll take the notes you’ve jotted down from the exercise above and package them into a strategic headline, as well as a brand story, to help your winery stand out and attract your target audience.
To put this into perspective, take a look at Domino’s. There are literally millions of different options out there for grabbing a slice of pepperoni pizza. But Domino’s became a household name because they took a unique approach with their “30 minutes or less” delivery campaign. What they didn’t do: claim to have the best pizza.
Similarly, Tom’s shoes skyrocketed in popularity due to the company’s stance on social responsibility: “We believe in a more equitable tomorrow. That’s why we invest ⅓ of profits for grassroots good, including cash grants and partnerships with community organizations, to drive sustainable change.”
MARKET RESEARCH: REAL INSIGHTS, REAL RESULTS
What social media channels do your customers use on a daily basis? Are they interested in a wine club? Do you have a good understanding of your competitors – their prices, promotions, audience, etc.? All these questions – and more – can be answered by leveraging market research.
As Entrepreneur.com so perfectly puts it, market research is: “The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face.”
So, why is market research so advantageous for your wine brand? Simply put: not all wine drinkers were created equal. By conducting market research, you’ll gather invaluable data surrounding your target audience’s demographics (age, income, education level, etc.) and psychographics (interests, beliefs, values, lifestyle habits).
Having this information in your pocket is a game-changer, allowing you to tailor your branding, messaging, and packaging in a way that’ll resonate with your audience on a deeper level.
Survey Monkey is one tool you can utilize to capture crucial insights about your audience. Not only can it help you identify new revenue opportunities based on feedback from respondents, but you may discover that you’ve been advertising on the wrong platforms.
For instance, maybe you were using Facebook ads to target Gen X’ers when the bulk of your consumers are actually Millennials. Pivoting your strategy and strengthening your presence on Instagram could unlock a new stream of sales that propels your business to new heights.
And let’s not forget about the importance of minimizing risk. Think about it: would you rather invest a few dollars upfront to identify your audience’s interest in a new wine varietal or blindly launch a product that winds up tanking? Just let that marinate for a minute…
WILL YOU SINK OR SWIM? BRAND POSITIONING IS THE KEY
Starting your own wine brand is an exciting venture (woot woot!), but it’s one that requires you to consider more than just grape varietals and regulations. Yes, those are important. However, if no one buys that delicious bottle of $17 rosé you poured your heart into, then all that hard work was for nothing.
This is one of the biggest mistakes new winery businesses make. We’ve seen it time and time again. Crafting a powerful brand and strategically positioning yourself in front of your target consumer is how you’ll win over market share and build a thriving business.
That’s what inspired us to build our Bauerhaus Brand Map – to help your new wine brand define what makes you unique and understand your customer, so you can implement marketing and branding strategies that effectively drive revenue. You have a great story to tell. And we want to help you tell it in a compelling way that doesn’t get swallowed up in all the noise.
Ready to get started? Take the first step by contacting our Creative Director, Rebecca Ritz for a free 30-minute discovery call today.