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A golden opportunity for all wine

You may have heard us talking about some exciting projects on the horizon, so we are very excited to announce Vrazon‘s latest project which will be officially launched at the 2012 London Wine Fair Access Zone, Wine Gold 2012. As we will be recruiting for ambassadors for the launch we thought we might give our friends and followers an early “heads up” so that you can get involved.

Willi Klinger promotes Austria in Portugal

Willi Klinger promotes Austria in Portugal

The European Wine Bloggers Conference is very grateful for having received the support of sponsors such as ViniPortugal in 2009, Austrian Wine in 2010, Franciacorta in 2011 and of course Wines of Turkey in 2012. The conference hosts have gone a LONG way to helping wine bloggers and wine lovers to learn about their wonderful wines and broaden their drinking horizons.

However, we became very excited when two of these sponsors, having met at the EWBC 2010 in Vienna, decided to cooperate.  The result was that the incomparable Willi Klinger was invited to give a keynote presentation to Portuguese wineries and the international Press at the Wines of Portugal International Conference (WoPIC) by their Portuguese counterparts.

Two regional generic bodies cooperating to promote great wines. A dream come true!

We are excited to be able to announce that Vrazon will be taking this to the next level with the support of generic wine bodies from all over the world in the Wine Gold 2012 action plan.

In the spirit of the 2012 London Olympics, UK based wine promotion bodies will team up on a ‘sporting’ agreement to promote ALL wine and not just their own narrow interests for the year.

Instead of campaigns to get already confused wine consumers to switch from one region to another, the objective of Wine Gold 2012 will be to promote the enjoyment and appreciation of all good wine. We hope to convince more drinkers that by taking more interest in wine, they can discover amazing expressions from places they’ve probably never even considered or heard about.

Just as the Olympics introduce us to new sports with unique attractions, such as beach volleyball and kayaking, without detracting from the ‘classic’ track, field and pool events, wine consumers can also look forward to a more varied wine experience.

Details of participating generic bodies are still under wraps while UK market managers negotiate the pooling of limited individual budgets to create the first truly effective wine promotion resource.

Planned activities include:

  • sponsoring national wine columns in newspapers and magazines that are actually entertaining to read
  • buying-up supermarket promotion shelf space so only UNdiscounted wines at real prices can be shown
  • sending UK pub owners on courses to learn how to select, store and serve wine so punters actually get wine worth drinking; the courses will involve them having to actually taste the stuff they are currently selling
  • funding an energetic campaign to improve the quality and variety of suggested food matches on back labels, taught by film industry sciptwriters. No more “goes with chicken but drinks well on it’s own
  • a seminar by the Dragons’ Den team for website and app developers to stop them wasting money on creating wine tasting note sharing services, and instead focus on something worthwhile
  • funding bloggers who are reaching new consumers by paying them to republish their best content in traditional media around the world
  • creating a ‘wine pioneer’ campaign that randomly rewards consumers for talking about their favourite wines online without making any reference to drunkenness, “shit-faced”, “getting bladdered”, etc. or discussing hangovers and hangover cures
  • establishing a “Castaway” style TV programme where supermarket buyers would have to spend a year working at a vineyard and winery to make wines they then have to sell to UK supermarkets for a profit

We look forward to working with our friends at bodies such as Wines of Chile, Wine Australia, Wines of South AfricaWines from Spain, Sopexa and others to make this happen and to help sell a better range of great wines from all over the world.

If you can think of any further projects that should be funded to promote “Wine” we look forward to hearing your views in the comments, and if you are interested in leading the charge in any of these areas, please let us know.

 

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Social Connections are still about people not stats

Small world story; as I walked towards my local coffee and sandwich shop, St. Davids in Forest Hill, I got an email to say my Foursquare mayorship had been lost to another user.

image

I didn’t know this lady, but I have to admit I felt slightly affronted than I should lose this title, despite it meaning absolutely nothing, to someone else. This is my ‘hood!

My step quickened and I duly checked in as I crossed the threshold, to discover I’m still two days away from regaining the title.

I brought up her details as I scanned the room. Not only had she taken my title, but she was from Pamplona – either a tourist or temporary resident. Oh, the shame of it! The indignity.

As I waited for my coffee, I replied on twitter, jokingly, that I would soon take my title back.

I heard get phone ping next to me, then decided it would probably be better if I introduced myself now rather than have her discover later I’d been tweeting from 1 metre away.

It turns out she’s here for a short stay to improve her English, and really enjoying London. As we talk, comparing the use of social media in the UK and Spain, she mentions she happens to hang out with a very “social” crowd. I ask, as an aside, if she happens to know another person I had met via twitter and Facebook from her region, not really expecting anything. Surprisingly, it turns out they know reach other extremely well …

… and we had made a strong personal connection despite this being a city of 10 million people.

I’ve been seeing some discussion lately about whether Pinterest was “better” than Twitter, or whether Google+ will replace Facebook. This is not the point. It’s not about likes, links, RTs, etc. it is about motivating interaction with a community.

This is not about foursquare, its not about twitter or any other communication tool. It is about individuals having the means to discover common links and connections, leading to real life interactions.

It is about how you, as an individual, business or brand, decide to use them. If you don’t bother engaging with people on them, it doesn’t matter what you use, you will lose.

If you still happen to believe these offer your business no value, you may be missing out on very real benefits, but don’t just chase the “next best thing”.

(posted from my mobile, so will have to add more links later).

UPDATE (18:06 added a few links for reference)

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Case Study – Social Media Works for Tea

One of the problems with the “should I use social media” discussion is that people who do not, and never will, use these tools natively are the ones making the decisions.

Digital Natives‘ are people who were born in a world where the landscape was always “digital”. If you extend this thinking you then have “social media natives”. I like to say these people are the ones who see no need for a phone book, printed map, or rolodex. I’m almost one of these. I say almost because I still find some things easier to do offline than online, but that is changing quickly.

I start with this because in my daily life, when I want to buy something or learn about something, my first stop, no matter what, is Google. I guess I can see that changing to Bing or Twitter or Facebook at some point, but the fact is that the “web” is my primary destination.

And so, my story begins.

This Christmas, my sister invited my family to stay at a rented house in the Cotswolds for a few days. Great idea! Countryside, hiking, long meals, lots of wine, … a perfect holiday. To make the holiday with family all in one house go smoothly, she gave us all small gifts to help us enjoy our stay. One of these was a not-to-be-mentioned specialty tea company’s assortment of teas. Each person received a different flavor based on their personality. A great gift, and while I wasn’t at that moment a big tea fan, the quality of these teas released a passion in me. I fell in love with them, primarily due to their freshness and quality. I was hooked, and when I got back to Spain I quickly raced to Google to help me fuel my addiction. It turns out that I was in luck as they were available to ship to Spain at a reasonable price.

One week later I was sitting at home with boxes of new teas and was ECSTATIC about beginning my reintroduction to whole-leaf teas – a reintroduction that made me realize how similar high quality teas and wines can be … but that is for another article. The point is, I immediately starting tweeting my satisfaction and including the account of the relevant company in my tweets. I sent a letter to them by email saying “thank you for your great teas”. I even went to their web2.0 website and left comments lauding the greatness of my new favorite teas!

The result: nothing. Not a single “thanks”, “good to hear”, “Happy you’re happy” or other comment. Just silence. Cue the crickets.

I was crestfallen, even heart broken. The packaging was cute, the brand adorable. Expensive, sure, but the quality was amazing. Yet they seem to be fakers in the social world, content to put up twitter and facebook logos on their sites but not ‘walking the walk’.

I considered buying from them again. The quality was great but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I simply didn’t want to support a company who didn’t appreciate me as a customer. So I returned to Google.

This time I found another company with a similar selection but a little less shiny! Less marketing and more tea. A site that was a bit clunkier, and packaging that appeared a bit dull, but they had what I wanted, so I dove in and bought a few sample packs. After selecting various kinds to see what they were like, I hit send.

And then … turn up the happy music. After only a few hours I received an email … from the owner no less. An email that said:

“Thank you for your order, it appears you have a great selection of samples. I’m going to throw in a few of my own favorites, let me know what you think!”

Yeah! I was acknowledged.

Today I received my new teas. I haven’t tasted them yet, but I have 10 new teas to try and a person who is listening to what I think. I’m pretty sure I’ll find a few that I like and I am 99% sure that I will be ordering again. They are also going to be talked about on my twitter stream, facebook page and probably over at LiquidAgnostic.com. At the very least, they are going to sell a pack of tea every month or so to me, and probably to a few of my friends & followers. The cost: 1 email.

If that’s not a killer ROI, I don’t know what is.

I’m off to boil some water.

Photo credit: Ryan Opaz

A gift for the best of 2011

It is the time of year for giving gifts. If you think of Christmas gifts, you might imagine a box, lovingly wrapped in paper, with a bow on the top. You might, if you are like me, imagine a well crafted (but last minute) email with a voucher attached, but gifts come in many forms.

“Dear Blogger, Thanks!”

English: Danboard holding a Christmas gift.

Image via Wikipedia

One under-appreciated gift is a simple “thank you” to a person, friend or stranger, who has done something for you that you have gained from.

You’ve probably guessed that, since I am writing on this site, I mean the wine writers and wine enthusiasts that spend hours each week writing articles, blog posts, tweets, status updates and more, to spread a knowledge, appreciation and access to wine.

Most of those who benefit from this activity, especially online, do not have to pay anything for this benefit.

Unfortunately, because it is free, its actual value is not appreciated by everyone. We are used to there being experts available at the end of a Google Search or on Twitter and Facebook who can answer our questions or suggest what wines to bring to our friends’ dinner parties.

“You are the best!”

So this year there is an extra thing you can do for your favourite wine content creator. A simple “thank you” will do wonders, but what greater compliment to a writer, videographer or photographer could there be than their fans nominating their content as “possibly the best in the world”?

The second edition of the Born Digital Wine Awards (BDWA) is now taking submissions for entries, and we would love to share YOUR favourites along with great content from all over the wine world. What’s more, your favourite could win the originator €1000 in the process.

Please, revisit your favourite content and encourage the author to submit their content to the BDWA.

The BDWA only accepts submissions from the originators of that content, but your comments on your favourite sites, blogs & networks, or send tweets, emails or private messages will let them know what you think of their content and encourage them to participate in the awards.

We all benefit in the end from better content and a greater sense of community.

Thank you!

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1 picture might not be enough in today’s fast paced world

A picture is worth a 1000 words, or so the saying goes. Personally, I’m starting to think this idea is outdated in today’s world and even more so in relation to the photos you post online. Today, with every gadget and gizmo in your pocket having the capability to snap a photo, upload it and share it in real time, we the online surfers of this world, are constantly being assaulted with images that are at times brilliant and often quite forgettable.

I was considering this the other day when staring at a rooftop as I walked to my metro stop. The rooftop was nothing very special, but it created a nice negative space when presented against the deep blue sky. By itself, on a wall in a frame with a nice touch of sepia or black and white, the image might have been perfect to complement a room or become a talking point in a conversation. It was then that I realized that the same image when presented online, might at its best get a retweet or two, or maybe a stray comment on flickr, but would more likely stream past in a flurry like one unique snowflake tumbling to earth lost in the blizzard of others content.

Marketing your brand can be quite similar, and I think that to better understand what it takes to make your snowflake stand out you need to understand how to make that rooftop photo more relevant. What the photo of the rooftop was missing is a story. Something that links one idea to another. 1 photo in a post on a blog is nothing. Most likely you can give me any photo you take and I’ll find 300 just like it. But if you give that 1 photo context, and a relation to an idea you could keep me interested for a longer length of time.

Taking the rooftop photo example, imagine if I created an album of rooftops from around my town of Terrassa? Or images of the building who’s roof caught my attention? Weaving these images with small bursts of focused text in a post begins to give me a reason to stick around and keep reading.

Same thing goes for branding. One mailing, one website(by itself), one Twitter account, these are not going to do anything to further your brand. They provide no value by themselves. It’s only when you link them or use them to create layers, of stories, ideas, or contexts, that the real magic begins. If you havea winery with 200years of history, that is one layer, and while in some cases that layer can have influence it does have a expiration date and it really is not that unique in the world of wine. What about the story of today, or yesterday. What other stories are you forgetting to tell?

Think about what your “slideshow” is in relation to your brand. If you do you’ll be giving the consumer something to talk about.

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