I feel I really ought to clarify the term ‘cool’ used in my previous post in the context of the Wine Conversation.
What I had in mind was the kind of place that a person would not only want to go to, but be seen to go to, and even then talk to others about having been there. In Hugh MacLeod‘s terms, a wine retailing Social Marker. By the shared experience of having been to the shop, individuals would be willing and able to start their own wine conversation.
I believe that the retail experience is key because it is common to each wine consumer no matter what they choose to buy. It is also important to keep in mind that this is about the kind of wine consumer who rarely spends over £5 a bottle.
Hugh himself demonstrated the effectiveness of this by engineering the interest in one retailer, Threshers, around Christmas 2006. He used a viral email campaign to get people to talk about that retailer, who then encouraged others to go there to shop and get their discount. It certainly got a lot of people talking and shopping. Where it failed (for Threshers) was that the discussion was not about them at all, but about the discount, and once that was gone, so were the vast majority of the customers.