Ben Palos and Elizabeth Caravati recently attended the inaugural Wine MarCom 2015, a workshop hosted by the Wine Instituteâ€™s Communications Committee in Sonoma. Here are five things they learned:
Take a Long Term View: Virginie Boone, Napa and Sonoma reviewer for Wine Enthusiast magazine, encouraged communicators to take a long-term approach to media relations. Don’t just reach out with a single announcement; take the time to build relationships with writers over a longer period.
Trendy vs Classic: Wine lifestyle expert Leslie Sbrocco pointed out that while alternative white wines (like Vermentino and Gruner Veltliner) are hot right now, classic wine varietals that have a compelling story will always be interesting. You donâ€™t have to chase the current trend to create buzz around your product.
Donâ€™t Be a Wine Snob: Sara Schneider, wine writer for Sunset Magazine, says as people take a less reverent approach to wine, she is following suit. This approach plays well with Sunsetâ€™s audience, many of whom donâ€™t have specialized wine knowledge and are looking for a more fun, lifestyle approach to dining and entertaining.
Find Your Unique Story: Dave Mering, founder and CEO of creative agency MeringCarson, suggested wineries find a unique story by exploring their core values in a new context. As an example, MeringCarson implemented this strategy for Disney Meetings, the corporate conference and tradeshow arm of Disneyland, to position it as both the â€œHappiest Place on Earthâ€ as well as a serious place to do business.
For Big Memories, Think Small: Barbara Talbott, CEO/founder of GlenLarkin Advisors and former CMO of Four Seasons Hotels, emphasized that being memorable doesnâ€™t have to be expensive. If a guest buys a case of wine, always offer to carry it to the car. Are they heading to lunch? Go beyond recommendations: offer to call the restaurant and make a reservation. With little or no added cost, these small details create big â€œwowâ€ factors to winery guests.