Practical Winery
65 Mitchell Blvd, San Rafael, CA 94903
phone: 415-453-9700 ext 102
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Winter 2011
How can we create an emotional connection with our consumer and drive business to our retail partners? How can we add value to our brand so that the retailer or restaurateur is compelled to carry our wine?
Marketing today is called “permission marketing.” Consumers are very wary of anything they perceive as being shoved on them. Rather than push, we must create demand/pull. A brand tells a story, and packaging should convey that story visually. We are also telling our story via the Internet, social media, our website, etc. We are hopefully creating a dialogue with consumers about our wines.
Marketing today is called “permission marketing.”
One thing that is difficult for marketers in the new world order of marketing is to give up control. How many times have I heard a brand manager say, “You can’t do XX, you will lose control of your brand.” Control is an illusion. You must let your story and brand evolve organically.
Again I come back to authenticity. If my story is authentic and I believe my wines to be worthy of consumption, then let’s put it out there. I believe consumers will have far more positive to say about our wines than negative.
We utilize Twitter, wine blogs, Facebook, and our new smartphone app so mobile phones can tell our story. With aggregators you can scan summaries of conversations regarding your brand. The first thing my Director of Marketing does each morning is scan those sites through one dashboard. He then joins into relevant conversations or answers questions.
Like Robert Mondavi, I believe in my wines. Bring it on! Let’s taste. We will win more than we lose. We do not have to “sell” in the traditional sense. We put the story and the product out there and let the product speak for itself.
We participated in the first Twitter Taste Live. Through our use and affiliation with Twitter they learned about our vineyards and wines. When Twitter created Fledgling (the first
Twitter wine), they chose Pinot Noir grapes from our Doctor’s Vineyard. Subsequently, they created videos with our winemaker and vineyard manager.
We are constantly pushing information out, creating conversations, introducing people to our wines and story; and hopefully creating an emotional connection through the use of videos and other techniques.
We drive business to our retail base in various ways:
The Hahn Family Wine app – Both consumers and the trade can use this smartphone app to access our website, obtain winemaker notes, etc.
Tweet Ups – This is basically a social hour with a twist, from 5 to 7 pm, generally at a retail account location. We have had tremendous response, although in one year it will probably be old hat. Now, however, it is much more effective than a typical winemaker dinner, drawing anywhere from 85 to 200 people to meet the winemaker at much less cost, requiring the consumer to only take an hour on the way home or to dinner, creating social community, and driving business to an account either on or off-premise.
We did one at Binny’s in Chicago that drew 85 people, and we sold five or six cases of wine at the event. Most importantly, the account features our product. We are adding value.
FourSquare – This is an intriguing social media with a GPS function. You can choose to check in at locations and your friends can find you, and you can leave tips for each other. When you check in at your hotel, you might receive a tip about Hahn wines — or did St. Supery beat us to the punch again? I love how it pings a tip, like “great happy hour drinks at Character’s (hotel bar).”
There will be many derivations of this technology. I remember when we first started this stuff several years ago, the gentlemen we worked with informed us the technology already existed that someday when you walked past a case stack of wine, it could “ping” your phone with information about that specific wine. That day is close at hand.
QR Codes, Jag tags, etc. – We are putting these on our POS material — shelf-talkers, cases, etc. With a scanner on your mobile phone; you can point at the QR code and it will instantly take you to a video of yours truly describing the wine on the shelf. I would rather have the winemaker, but initially it is me in a 30-second video, adding value, and creating an emotional connection with our consumers, one at a time.
Text Campaigns – We did our first one with Young’s Market representatives, but I hope to include consumers and wine club members shortly. Again, it is “opt-in” or permission marketing. Text 91904 and put in “HahnCA” to receive information on discounts, current events, news stories, and more.
Grappos – This is the “holy grail” to me; my brother and I have talked about this for 30+ years. How do you tell people — at wine tastings, online, and in winery tasting rooms — where they can find your wine? Grappos created a special smartphone function for us. Tap our app, tap “find our wines,” put the zip code and variety in, and all the placements in your area appear. It connects to TradePulse and is updated about every 90 days; so the odds that your wine is really there increase dramatically.
With this tool, our sales rep can say to Mr. Retailer, we are creating business and driving it to retail accounts. If our consumer clicks on a location and you do not carry us, you miss a sale. The consumer can be reading a wine review or talking to a friend, search in real time on the smartphone, and learn where the wine is located.
All these technologies work internationally as well. I have taped videos for Waitrose in London and done interviews with people like the Bubble Brothers, our distributor in Ireland. I hope to connect Grappos up with our international distributors also. I am creating a presence and an emotional connection with consumers around the world; one at a time. So there you have it. It is easy to sell wine … but it is very difficult to deliver.