Wineries today are facing increased competition from imports and the proliferation of new domestic brands so it’s interesting to me that only a few medium to small brands invest in marketing. That’s due to the cost of having additional staff focused on marketing and a traditional approach in an industry that seems to still be mired in the 20th Century (“marketing” = labels, shelf talkers, spec sheets, brochure websites, etc.).
So it’s rare that I see an approach that is simple, cost effective and innovative that will result in increased customer loyalty and differentiation for a wine brand. Sure we have the breakout plays, such as Stormhoek, but those are an anomaly that would be ground breaking marketing any product. An example of something a bit more conventional is provided by Napa Valley’s Fantesca Estate & Winery with their “Fortune Corkies.” Puns aside, this is a brillent idea that I’m sure other wineries will be tempted to emulate. Basically, the winery prints wine quotes on their corks and is encouraging their customers to submit a quote of their own which will be printed on their 2005 Cabernet cork when it is bottled. Do you think the winner will buy some of that Cab with their personal quote on it? Absolutely, and they will tell all their friends about it who will pass it along because it is so out of the ordinary. Another aspect I like about this campaign is they have 9 other wine quotes from famous people that encourages larger orders so customers can collect all 10 corks.
Hats off to Fantesca for a great idea to build brand loyalty and to Ryan from Calwineries for tipping me off to this one.