DTCWW Good to Great Series #7 – Be an Admired Winery Brand

[October 26, 2023 – Sandra Beals]

The luxury market is undergoing a significant transformation as it adapts to the growing spending power of Gen Z consumers. Along with Millennials, these individuals accounted for “the entire growth of the luxury market in 2022,” according to Bain & Company, and are predicted to represent 70% of luxury spending by 2025. The challenge for luxury brands is that this important segment of wine buyers have different value systems from previous generations of wine buyers. To attract and keep these individuals engaged, luxury brands are moving beyond the traditional desires of luxury–such as status, prestige, and legacy towards a new set of values: inclusivity, commitment, sustainability, transparency, and innovation.

So how do winery brands achieve brand admiration among Gen Z and Millennial wine buyers today? Achieving brand admiration starts with commitment, awareness, and care. In the past, marketers have focused largely on enticement to attract consumers to their brands, using storytelling, limited-time offers, and celebrity endorsement to communicate uniqueness and iconic status, that leads to an aspirational lifestyle.

Building an admired winery brand involves a combination of factors, including personalized customer experiences, wine quality and recognition, lifestyle partnerships, employee nurturing, community commitment, and a strong online and offline presence.

Here are five tips for how to effectively develop brand admiration:

  1. Define your brand identity. Before your winery can become an admired brand, the leadership team must develop a clear and distinct brand identity. Determine what your brand stands for, what values it represents, and what makes it unique in the market. Make sure your brand promises are authentic based on craft, place, and people stories. Know and articulate what your brand stands for at every moment and ensure that every member of the team is on board so that your brand’s values and quality standards are consistently upheld. Any drop in quality or deviation from your brand’s core identity can hurt your reputation.
  2. Nurture employee relationships. Value and empower your employees as they are your primary marketing tool. Develop brand ambassadors from the inside out by caring for each employee as an individual and also inspiring them to care about your brand reputation. Winery brand loyalists feel committed to the long-term success of your business when they know that your people are taken good care of. Communicate your commitment to employee satisfaction by spotlighting employees through digital outlets each month, reward individuals for a job well done, encourage ongoing education, and support healthy lifestyles among your winery family.
  3. Focus on sustainability and ethical practices. In today’s competitive direct to consumer market, wine consumers appreciate and admire brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices. Ensure your business is environmentally responsible and communicate your commitment to all consumer audiences. Empower your employees to develop new sustainable practices each quarter through contests. Not only is this a fun way to keep the main thing the main thing by building internal collaboration, it is also an opportunity to communicate that you care.
  4. Prioritize personal connections. Ensure that every interaction with a wine buyer is intentional and personalized – both online and offline. Invest in forming long-term relationships and get to really know your customers by using smart customer management and engagement tools. Don’t rely on surveys or drip email campaigns to communicate you care. Personal connections create a sense of belonging and foster brand loyalty – this is where winery businesses become admired brands. Ensure that your customers receive high-touch interactions, prompt responses to inquiries, and seamless purchasing experiences – in person and online. Time is the number one commodity of luxury wine buyers today so get it right every time.
  5. Innovate and Adapt. The luxury wine market is constantly evolving based on the changing desires and needs of today’s wine enthusiast. Be a leader and be willing to take some risks that don’t hurt your reputation among brand loyalists. Stay up to date with industry trends and consumer preferences – be willing to adapt and innovate while staying true to your brand values and core identity. Be a relevant and informed brand to remain an admired brand that your loyalists love to remark about.

Becoming an admired winery brand is a long-term endeavor that requires care, consistency, dedication, attention to detail, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. It’s not just about selling products; it’s about creating a lifestyle experience that consumers aspire to be a part of and are excited to talk about. Reach out learn more about DTC Wine Workshops and go from good to great.