I’m guessing that you’ve heard of the Wii? A large number of you will own one, or someone in your family will. I know mine do – they ALL do in fact. I’m also guessing that until the Wii came out, many of those who now have one would not have said they would be buying a games console.
Did you realise that the Nintendo Wii has almost 50% market share of games consoles around the world? That’s almost 70 MILLION Wii units in houses across the globe. I didn’t. Now, I’m not a gamer, and you probably aren’t either, so WHO CARES?
Answer: Any business who wants to go from nowhere to 50% share in 3 years should care, really!
So what helped to change their minds?
Was it the graphics speed? Was it the control device (wiimote)? Was it the funny name? Was it the design of the console itself that was so desirable? Was it because it loaded faster, or more easily? Was it made by special kinds of robots, or with particular components? Was it because it won all sorts of awards?
I doubt it.
Most importantly, what are the lessons to be learned for wine? Simple. It is about Benefits & Features. Nintendo didn’t just try to steal market share from competitors, they set out to “get new people playing games” [from Wikipedia].
While Sony & Microsoft tried to out-do each other in innovations of features that were important to gamers (graphics, sound, movie tie-ins), Nintendo focused on making their product fit into our lives. Yours and mine.
To this audience, the features of the Wii, or any games console, were immaterial. This audience simply had no reason to want to play games involving shooting zombies or scoring goals.
So was the brilliant thing the Wii did then? They convinced us that it wasn’t a games console, it was a family entertainment tool AND a fitness aid.
They stopped talking about Features and found new Benefits.
I could go on (many gaming sites don’t seem to understand this issue either it seems), but lets get back to wine.
How many times have you read: “Handpicked”, “Careful selection”, “de-stemming”, “french oak”, “tannins”, “fruit”, etc. on a wine label? Pretty much EVERY time. These are FEATURES of the wine, and not only that, they rarely vary from one wine to another.
We (all) happen to have palates that can distinguish minute chemical differences between these wines, which is just as well, because in terms of message, wine brands are virtually indistinguishable from each other.
What could you say about your wine, or the wine in your glass, if you couldn’t talk about ANY features and only mention benefits? Most of us would struggle, because the only benefits we are used to talking about are “being more social” and, ultimately, inebriation.
Wine does not have a ready-made lexicon of terms for the benefits of this product, but it MUST develop one if it is to reach out to consumers and make wine relevant to them. Only the most creative, brave and switched-on brands will have the capacity to drive this forward, and the problem is that these are very few and far-between at the moment.
However, this is not just a money game. What is interesting is that this problem *might* be resolved by throwing lots of money at it; recruiting global advertising agencies, research bodies, copywriters, media buyers and more. It might also be resolved by speaking to consumers and actually asking them what the wine brand means to them, and that is where clever, lucky and energetic wineries with social media strategies can actually benefit.
Who knows if this will happen. I feel strongly that it is something that the wine business needs to resolve. We cannot continue to flog the dead horse of today’s wine messages. We are not reaching the consumer and the business is suffering.
I’m off to play Wii Tennis with my kids and get fit. What about you? Still drinking that stuff made from hand-picked grapes stuffed in wooden barrels for ages? Boring!