Do you want people to think your brand is expensive or cheap? What do you want the perceived value of your wine brand to be? A brand is all about people’s perceptions of your company or product. If you like what people are saying about your existing brand, then repeat that message and grow it. If you don’t or you are starting from scratch, it’s time to define your brand and build it. If you don’t define your brand, your competition will.

Branding = positioning your company as the expert and people come to you. Once you take a stand for something, you will naturally get people hunting you down wanting to buy your product.

1. Define your target wine drinking audience

Who is your target market? Often when I ask clients that question, they reply with “All wine drinkers.” The problem with that thought process is that there are different segments inside the wine drinking population. Paying attention to who exactly your customers are, will help you create marketing campaigns that precisely target your niche.

For example, if your top wine buyers are “Image Seekers” they will check restaurant wine lists before they dine out so they can research wine scores online. If you want to appeal to this audience, make sure you reference outside reviews and wine scores on your website. Plus, know that Image Seekers are greatly influenced by packaging and design. Click here to read about the 6 different wine consumers.

2. Define your brand strategy

Any business can only stand out on three levels: Price, Innovation and Differentiation. Only large corporations like Walmart can compete on price and only if you have a brand new product (think iPhone or the Kindle) can you compete on Innovation. So for most businesses that leaves Differentiation. As Mary Neumeir of the Brand Gap says “Our brains are hardwired to notice what is different, not what is the same.” For example, think of how we love all of those iSpy photos where your eyes dart back and forth trying to find the difference. Make it easy on your potential customer and define how you are different. Take a stand.

How can your winery be different? Three strategies that many of the most successful wine brands have taken is by choosing one of these:

  • Wine Type (exclusively produce one varietal, like Pinot Noir or Norton)
  • The Place (The AVA or a beautiful scene)
  • Personality (Charismatic winemaker or owner)

Try this exercise. Fill in the blanks in the below statement based on your above strategy:
Only (your winery) delivers (unique differentiating benefit) to (target audience).

Now think outside the box. For example, instead of saying we are the best or cheapest or have the best customer service, take a new approach. For instance, there are a million different Pizza places out there, but Domino’s skyrocketed because they promised “30 minutes or it’s free.” They didn’t say we have the best pizza. Another example, Tom’s shoes took off because they focused on a moral good: A new pair of shoes goes to a child in need for every pair purchased.

3. Tell your brand story

You know your target audience, now what? It’s not enough to just simply insert keywords into your website. Your website has to tell your brand story to your niche and sound well, human. Every human being has a unique story, just like every business has a unique story. For thousands of years we were storytellers, and because of this our brains are hardwired to remember stories. Craft your brand story and repeat it everywhere. Having an easily recognizable brand story will help you stay in the forefront of your customers mind.

4. Packaging

Think about this fact:

Our senses take in about 11 million bits of information every second, but we are only consciously aware of about 40 bits of that information.

This means that our brains are often taking shortcuts when it comes to packaging design. For example, how many times do you really notice all the details on a wine label when you are walking down the aisle of a wine store? Do you really notice each font on the label, the paper type, Pantone colors, foil, and embossing that were used?

Instead you glance at a wine label and unconsciously think:

Poor label design = poor wine quality. Professional wine label design = high quality wine.

5. Translate your brand online

More often than not, a person’s first impression of your company is made online. Do your photos on your website and social media networks tell your brand story consistently? Or does your website have a photo of vineyards and match the competitor down the street? Do you only post winery events or sales on social media? Sharing how your brand is different consistently helps your brand grow faster, so consumers can put you into your own category.

Rebecca is the owner of Bauerhaus Design, which specializes in building brands for wineries. Take our free 7 week wine marketing class to learn how to sell more wine with a powerful brand, social media and online tools at www.bauerhaus.com/sell-more-wine/

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