Marketing = you are trying to make a sale through different media outlets. 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.

But what is a brand? A brand is not just your logo. Everything you do as a business influences how people perceive your “brand.”  Your history, who your customers are, your reputation, and what the press says about you. It’s how your employees act and how they answer the phone. It’s the logo, color palette and images you use. It’s essential that when you do or create anything for your winery, you keep in mind what your unique brand stands for.

Last month, I had the pleasure of presenting at two different conferences on branding. One, I partnered with Kristy Meyer for a full day Digital Marketing Workshop to Alpaca owners and the second (pictured below), I led a 3 hour workshop on wine branding.


Wine branding Workshop


So what did you miss at the conferences? This week I’m bringing you 5 of my top tips for creating a strong wine brand:

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 actually 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.

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)

3. Create a USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

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, 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.

4. 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.

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? For example, many business owners are really good at making the sale in person, but does that same passion translate to your website, blog and social media? A defined website based on your target audience and built around your core strategy can attract new customers for years to come.

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  sell-more-wine