… if you work in the wine trade
There are already a lot of benefits to working in the the wine business, and I probably do not need to list the main ones (if you work the business you know the truth, and if you don’t, keep dreaming!)
However, one downside is that a traditional “brand marketing” mindset would seem to imply that you cannot be seen to drink, promote or even mention other wines. “If my wine is the best [insert consistent brand message here] ever, why should I drink anything else?”
The truth is, of course, that we all do. We love wine, we are consumers as well as producers and suppliers. Traditional marketers might recoil in horror, but Social Media aware communicators know that honesty, openness and frankness help to create trust, and that is the most important currency in building any brand. The more I discuss other brands, the more you can put my brand and my point of view, in context.
So with this in mind, imagine how sensitive it is to visit another winery.
If I visit a winery, I’m being let into the soul of a ‘competitor’ winery. This is the place the product is made, where the decisions are taken and is the brand’s home. Should I be treated as a competitor and infiltrator? Of course not, after all I’m a consumer too, and just as much a target for the winery’s marketing as anyone else. However, how is that business (with its own commercial realities) to know that I am there honestly?
Well, because I blog and give the whole world the chance to decide. The benefit of being a blogger is that I can prove that I will review the wine/brand in a certain way, and tell others what I think. A winery is investing in these visits specifically to get their story across and to encourage loyalty and to get visitors to spread the word. It used to be said that a happy customer would tell 3 or so friends about their experience, an unhappy customer would tell 10 or more. Now, bloggers tell hundreds, if not thousands, about their personal experiences.
I’d be happy to agree that I’m not as influential as bona-fide members of the wine press, such as Tim Atkin and Oz Clarke (who happen to be visiting this region at the same time as me), but a blogger is still a worthwhile person to attract – so long as they are ‘honest, open and frank’. As a blogger, I owe my readers entertaining, useful and original content, not propaganda. The most enlightened bloggers and producers understand that, and as such bloggers should be welcomed with open arms.
To their great credit, all the wineries I have visited (where I mentioned I wrote a wine blog) have gone out of their way to showcase their wines and wineries, and to offer me any information I may need.
If you are a winery (or in fact any other business that offers visits and tours), one of the first questions you should ask is: “Do you have a blog?”
If you are in the wine business, you should consider sharing your thoughts and experiences on a blog, after all you are wine consumer too. You probably have access to wines, or parts of the wine business, that most others who like wine do not. You will probably have a different perspective to a consumer and to a member of the Press. Not only will other wineries thank you for it, but your own wine brand will benefit too.