A Viable Future For Small Wineries
There I had the opportunity to share my views about the viable future for small wineries, and here I make a recap of some of what I shared.
While we hear a lot about the success of big wine brands, and we extensively discuss it, debate it, and analyze it, often big brand strategies are not applicable and/or sustainable for small brands. In a world where there are hundreds of thousands of wine brands in the global market, how can small wine businesses get attention?
Marketing is one way to solve this problem.
As Seth Godin says, marketing is about change, and as marketers, we can make change happen in small steps. We can solve problems by offering a product or service, therefore solving a problem is a change we can make in people’s lives.
Usually, a marketing strategy starts with an in-depth and thorough pre-analysis of the market and the consumer. This practice is not excessively common in the wine sector. Wine marketing focuses mostly on the trade, on B2B transactions, on what wine critics say, and what scores wines have. Wine marketing strongly relies on other people’s opinions and builds on this lazy mechanism.
The opportunity for small wine businesses is then to do the opposite.
The 1st question to answer is “What’s it for?”. What change is your product or service going to make in people’s lives? This question seems simple, but it is not. It means that you want to go from A to B and take people with you along the journey.
Once you have defined what change you want to make, you need to answer the 2nd question of “Who is it for?” Because you can’t and shouldn’t want to target everyone. “Everyone” is too big, too broad, and too indifferent. However, you can change a specific group of someones. Whether they are 100 people or 1000 people, you need to identify the audience that wants to listen and wants or needs your help.
Obsess, persevere and be relentlessly constant and consistent with your audience, and it is perfectly fine to say “no” to those who don’t fit the description. Understand your audience’s worldview, beliefs, and values. What you make or offer won’t make everyone happy, and it shouldn’t make everyone happy. It should make those that care happy.
However, to make that change happen to your chosen audience you also need a purpose, and in marketing, this means purposeful branding. What do I mean my purposeful branding?
Here are some examples:
A comedian does not think about how he/she can be funny but tries to understand why people laugh. Their purpose is for you to remember them through how they made you feel.
A shoe designer does not just consider what will look good on you, but how it will make you feel wearing his or her show. The designers’ purpose is to make sure the bride won’t even notice to have the shoes on during her wedding day.
An architect does not just take into account the orientation of the building, he/she is also concerned about how people feel inside.
A winemaker should not only think of making good wine but should think about how his or her wine will make people feel when they drink it. The purpose of a producer should be to make consumers feel happy and connected through his/her wines. While this sounds like a cliché, creating a connection through experience is the one single most important thing for small businesses. People will remember your wine when you make their experience unforgettable.
Moreover, it also makes no sense to walk the same path of bigger wine companies. What the big companies do is not what the small companies should be doing. Instead, it would be best if you were focusing on what the big companies CAN’T do and work on your ability to be more flexible. You can make change happen in smaller and faster steps.
So how do you put the pieces together? Here are the five steps:
1. Put the consumer at the center of your business strategy. Don’t make your plan for and about the product or service you offer. Make it about those people that you seek to change and make happy. Obsess about them, and they will obsess about you, and they will make your business grow. Which brings us to the second step;
2. Define your viable audience. Make your product or service for those someones you can change. Know everything about them, know their demographics, psychographics, but most specifically know their values and desires. Understand how your brand fits in and how it can be part of their lives. Seek to understand details about them, knowing even what “brand of butter*” they buy can tell you more about them than knowing their demographics by heart. *you had to be there to understand the context of this.
3. Be purposeful to differentiate yourself. Be clear about your purpose. Say why you make the product you produce or the service, you provide. What is the solution you are proposing to those you seek to change? Don’t be vague, be specific and be honest.
4. Don’t behave like the giants. Don’t pretend to be who you are not. Big companies seem big and successful, but they don’t have the opportunity to be flexible and adapt fast with the times. Small businesses have that opportunity and can beat the big guys in time. Time is one of the most significant assets, use it for your advantage.
5. Seek to be different and flexible. It is about your mindset, about being curious. Ask questions. Ask different questions and dig three layers deeper than your competitors. Always seek to be diverse and flexible to change ahead of the times. Don’t get comfortable with what you know, feel uncomfortable about what you should know and you still don’t and seek the answers.
Watch what happens when you, put the consumer at the center of your business strategy, create a robust and purposeful brand with an honest “Why,” obsess about your minimum viable market, ignore what giants do, and dare to maintain a different and flexible mindset.
The world will look different, and you will have an entirely new perspective on your business. This new view will help you to be different and receive the attention that you ask for and be the flamingo in a flock of pigeons.
If you would like to see the presentation please click on the button “Request Presentation”