Are we all just “Label Whores”?

 

How important is the branding on a wine bottle to you, the consumer?  When surfing your local liquor store or wine shop how much time do you spend examining labels before making your choice?

What causes you to pick up a bottle from the shelf?  Is it the name of the producer?  The grape?  Is it because you recognize the brand?  Or is it ultimately the look of the label and how it appeals to you?

The power of marketing and branding and it’s cognitive influence on consumers is stronger than most understand.

WHAT IS A BRAND?

A brand can be defined as a relationship between product and consumer.  This relationship is defined by experiences and memory.  Positive experiences invoke positive emotions, memories and feelings towards a brand.

People tend to be creatures of habit, many wine consumers will walk into a liquor store and go straight back to the first wine bottle or brand they recognize.  This is probably because they associate that particular wine or brand with good memories and positive recollections.  They may also choose their wine based on word of mouth or ads they’ve seen.  There’s also a chance they are picking up that particular bottle because the brand has been imprinted in their mind.  Or there could be a strong possibility the consumer is picking up that particular bottle from the shelf because the look of the label appeals to them.

Brands need to fully understand the emotional connotations consumers associate or may associate with their image.  What does a wine brand want its consumers to feel when they hear their name or see their label?  What audience are they targeting?

I think this is an imperative thought process for new labels to exercise before launching their wines into such a competitive market.  For these businesses, it is vital that a strategy is put into play before any decisions are made with regards to label design, bottle choice, and packaging.  What age group are they targeting?  International/local? How do they want their wines to be perceived?  How are they going to reach these consumers?  Answers to these questions make it easier to determine pricing, design and follow through with a marketing strategy.

As Robert Joseph puts it (thewinethinker.com), a brand is the most valuable piece of real estate in the world, a small part of someone’s brain.   If we look at how the wine sector has been “branding” its products and promotions we see that this is an area too often ignored.

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@african.wine.life (Instagram)

“THE ROSÉ REVOLUTION” & THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Three weeks ago thedrinksbusiness.com reported that exports from Provence Rosé to the UK had increased by 29%.  The growth in popularity of Provence Rosé abroad has been rapid.  American consumers are now drinking a staggering 11.4 million litres of Provence pink a year.

So what happened?  Marketing my friend!  The power of it is undeniable, and the example of Rosé is case in point.

National Rosé Day (June 10th) was created as a dedicated marketing campaign.  UK sales of Rosé doubled last year due to the popularity of ‘frosé’ and ‘brosé’ a frozen Rosé cocktail phenomenon.  Wine lovers that are active on Instagram would have surely noticed by now the slew of Rosé loving Instagrammers that have jumped on the bandwagon with tags such as #roseallday which has quickly become a social media hashtag favourite.  The Instagram account @yeswayrose sells various merchandise based around peoples love for Rosé wine.  The Instagram account even released it’s own wine called “summer water” last year which was in collaboration with the California based wine club Winc.  A number of brand ambassadors (celebrities included) can be seen online sporting the merchandise.

Anything can become a thing with enough marketing power behind it.  The power of social media today and wine is stronger than most may be realizing.  In the wine industry these platforms can be used to anyones advantage and any label or wine brand can be pushed with the right amount of marketing dedication behind it.  We mustn’t underestimate the future of wine when paired with social media and wine consuming millennials.

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@african.wine.life (Instagram)

WINE LABELS

Labels, I believe are becoming one of the most important branding tools that a wine company can have on their side.  This is especially true for millennial wine consumers.  Its been proven that a label can even change the overall interpretation and taste of what’s actually in the glass just by its presentation (check out this article).  The mind is a powerful thing!  A label gives the first impression.  Every wine consumer becomes a design critic when it comes to browsing the rows upon rows of wine labels in a liquor store.  In France, rules and regulations around bottles and labelling are much stricter than New World regions such as the USA and Australia.  This gives New World wineries free reign when designing their labels.  Care, thought and caution must be taken.

Wine Spectator reported that in 2015, millennials drank 42 percent of all wine consumed in the USA, more than any other generation.  A 2015 Gallo Wine Trends Survey found that millennials are four times more likely than baby boomers to buy a wine based on the label.  They are looking for labels with originality and personality, while baby boomers pick labels based on region of origin and taste.  Millennials want labels that are “bold and distinctive,” while baby boomers want more traditional designs.

In addition to the importance of designing for your target consumer base we may just be at a tipping point when it comes to wine labels and the internet. Wine sales are growing online, meaning that in the near future you may be getting wine recommendations from algorithms rather than merchants.  We will starting viewing wine labels that are designed to look great on our computer or smart phone screens, not just on shelves.  This could change mainstream wine culture and purchasing trends dramatically.  More importantly, will these new trends move us further away from buying wines and consuming them based on taste?  Let me know your thoughts on the subject.  How important do you think labels and brands are now that we live in a world connected by social media?

There is a great Instagram page that features and talks about wine labels, check them out! @wine_label_inspiration 
Also check out @yeswayrose