A crazy idea popped into your head and now you’re starting your own wine brand! You’ve been researching all the different rules, regulations, and grape varieties. You’ve even been holding wine tastings. Now the question is: What’s next?
In part one of our How to Start a Winery Business series, we discussed the Top 4 Mistakes New Wineries Make. In part two of our series, we’re diving into the branding side of the business and why it’s so important for driving revenue and repeat business.
STARTING YOUR OWN WINE BRAND
Picture this: you’re strolling down the aisle of your favorite wine store, browsing for a bottle (or three) to take home. So, how do you choose which bottles will make it into your shopping cart?
Maybe you received a recommendation from a friend. Or perhaps you read something online that piqued your interest in a particular brand. A bulk of the time, however, consumers are simply browsing for a bottle that catches their attention.
The reality is…branding and perceived value are two pivotal factors that directly impact purchasing decisions. We’re not saying that quality, grape varieties, or harvesting techniques aren’t important, but you can’t build a successful wine brand if you have no customers.
And in today’s world of short attention spans, you have seconds to grab your customers’ attention. During a 15-year study conducted by the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute at Texas Tech University, researchers found an “Unmistakable trend: the better the recognition rating a wine brand received, the more likely it was to survive. No such link existed between quality evaluations and a brand’s success.”
But what does that mean for your brand? It means that no matter how perfect the wine inside the bottle is, if the packaging isn’t memorable, people aren’t going to remember it.
As the old adage says, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.” And it’s true. The key to building a thriving new wine brand lies in having a well-crafted branding strategy. Too often, winery startups overlook this facet of the business until it’s too late!
So, let’s make sure you set yourself up for success. Here’s what you need to know about starting your own wine brand – the right way.
WHAT’S OUTSIDE THE BOTTLE IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT’S INSIDE
To the average consumer, branding plays an integral role in what type of wine they choose to purchase. Whether someone is entertaining guests at home or ordering a bottle at a restaurant, everything from the wine’s name and appearance to how you portray your brand through storytelling can influence behaviors.
You could develop some of the finest palate-pleasing wine in the world, but if it’s not memorable or easy to recognize, you won’t capture consumer interest or drive repeat business.
Ask yourself: What do you want the perceived value of your wine brand to be? Do you want customers to perceive your brand as cheap or expensive? How are you creating multiple touchpoints to shape the consumer experience and connect with your audience on an emotional level?
From your messaging to your values to the design of your labels, defining your brand can mean the difference between failure and success. And a large part of how you market your winery relies on defining and understanding your target audience.
WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?
A major mistake new wine brands make? Attempting to target all wine drinkers. But ‘the more, the merrier’ philosophy doesn’t make for an effective marketing and branding strategy.
Why? Because within the drinking population, there are different segments of customers – from demographics to beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyle characteristics.
To build and retain a strong customer base, you must understand how your target audience thinks, acts, and feels. When developing your ideal customer profile (also referred to as buyer personas), think of the following characteristics:
- Their age, income, education level, and interests
- Where they go to shop for wine (i.e. online, major retailers, boutique liquor stores, etc.)
- Are they casual wine drinkers? Experienced wine drinkers? Newbies?
- Why do they drink wine, how often, and in what types of settings?
- Do they believe wine offers health benefits? Why?
- Do they link wine with a certain social status or higher quality of life? What does that mean to them?
Gaining a strong understanding of who your target customers are will allow you to tailor your messaging, packaging, and branding to resonate with that audience.
Developing your brand becomes easier when you know exactly who you’re trying to reach. You’ll know what social platforms they use, where to spend advertising dollars, and how to create marketing campaigns that’ll effectively target your ideal market.
COLORS, IMAGERY, AND PACKAGING FOR YOUR WINE BRAND
Think of your brand identity like a dress code. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, the way a person dresses can influence how we perceive them. Similarly, the visuals (fonts, logo, colors, etc.) you use can have a similar impact on how your audience responds to your brand.
For instance, a more traditional wine brand may incorporate minimalist colors and serif fonts, while a modern brand may opt to leverage bold colors and sans-serif fonts.
The goal: ensure your newly established wine brand is unforgettable. After all, you only have a few seconds to grab a customer’s attention. And the more consistent you are with the look, feel, and language you use, the more brand recognition you’ll foster over time.
PERCEPTION & BRANDING = NON-NEGOTIABLE
Successfully starting your own wine brand requires being crystal clear on who you are as a brand and the audience you’re targeting.
Not a year from now. From day one.
Every decision you make – from the bottles you choose to your winery’s website – will be a direct reflection of your brand persona. Your branding is the way your values, story, and product show up for the consumer — through every word, image, and experience you put out into the world.
With so many wine brands competing for market share, you need to craft a distinct and compelling brand in order to differentiate yourself.
That’s why we created The Bauerhaus Brand Map, which will provide your new wine brand with the tools and resources needed to stand out on the shelf. Because we want people to find and enjoy your delicious wine!
If you’re ready to bring on a strategic partner for your winery startup, contact our Creative Director, Rebecca Ritz for a free 30-minute discovery call. She’s currently accepting new clients focused on starting a winery and can help you get organized and on track today!
And don’t forget to check out the first post in our “How To Start A Winery Business” blog series: The Top 4 Mistakes New Wineries Make.