Evolving Drinks Brands

Evolving Drinks Brands

Evolving Drinks Brands banner

I recently read and shared an article in Forbes by Patrick Hanlon called, “Why Brands Must Evolve” that is so spot on that it has led to a number of interesting conversations in the past week with some of my clients and partners who own brands in beer, wine and spirits. As one who spends a lot of time thinking about new brands, as well as igniting established brands in new ways, Patrick’s thoughts really resonated with me. I don’t think there is a better industry than beverage to illustrate his points about what is going on with brands. Brand proliferation is happening across the board making “breaking through the clutter” ever more difficult. At the same time, the reason this is happening if fundamentally that there is demand for new brands. As I wrote in “RE: Is Craft Beer In A Bubble”, there is a big and growing market for new brands in beer, but also in wine and spirits. Not everyone will succeed and in fact many new brands will fail. To the big brand manager, the fundamental challenge has also never been so big – how do you keep a loyal following when your following gets gigantic. I think about an Iconic brand like Patron Tequila. I was a distributor for Patron as it passed between different sales companies and was a very difficult sell. Five years from the time it launched, Patron was doing about 55,000 cases. Now that is a nice little brand, but nothing would have screamed, “This brand is on fire!” Then, it did catch on fire and became the very symbol of luxury. Check out Patron case sales for the first 10 years:

Patron sales first 10 years

Patron is an amazing brand and continues to outsell all of the other super premium tequilas (and frankly all other spirits brands at $40/750ml bottle and higher). They have a huge and loyal following. However, as brand manager for Patron today, the things one has to do to market the brand are quite different than in the early years. How does one keep the “cool” factor going when you are the largest brand in your category. There are dozens of new entrants who are going after their market and have the advantage of being smaller (think Avion, Casamigos, Don Julio) and bringing a new “cool” factor to the market. Clearly there are many that succeed at this but being true to your brand and your audience while changing things up can be quite difficult. Absolut Vodka was THE luxury brand of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was the “it” brand among the “it” crowd.

Andy Warhol Absolut IMG_6541

Pernod Ricard paid over $8 billion to acquire the brand a few years back. How does Pernod now manage a giant brand that was formerly the top luxury vodka in a market with such massive proliferation of brands that the high-end vodka category has experienced. I’m told there are 800 vodkas in the Beverage Media New York book. Pernod recently announced a new bottle. Absolut is one of those brands that defined itself by its bottle.   Changing the bottle is a big move even in subtle ways. Adding the big A is a pretty big move. Large companies don’t usually make big moves, but staying relevant in a crowded market sometimes requires big moves.    Pepsico made an even bigger move a few years back with their Gatorade brand. I thought at the time, it was fairly risky, but it appears to have paid off (does anyone know details?).

gatorade new gatorade old label

Patrick’s article certainly cites a number of great examples of big brands that have managed to evolve over time and keep or even build on their past successes. “…the challenge for brands has evolved from creating awareness to creating meaning.” How do you keep creating meaning at scale like Nike, Apple and Disney have successfully done.  They each connect to their consumers and continually create meaning.

The wine market has evolved so dramatically, that I have to look up many of the brands on the grocery shelf today and I have been involved in selling $100s of millions of wine over the years. Why? New brand proliferation to attract the millennial consumers.

barefoot wine logo Meiomi wine

Take a look at the top 10 domestic “Hot Brands” put out by Marvin Shanken’s Impact Databank:

  1. Barefoot
  2. Black Box
  3. Bota Box
  4. Liberty Creek
  5. Boggle
  6. Apothic
  7. 14 hands
  8. Barefoot Refresh
  9. Gnarly Head
  10. Meiomi

Four of these are Gallo Brands, but none say Gallo. All have interesting, contemporary labels. To succeed in this hyper-competitive market, every brand must have a number of things. Great branding is vital, without it your brand is lost and has no chance. Great liquid that fits the taste of your target market is key, without it they won’t buy a second time. Distribution is essential, a brand cannot become relevant if consumers can’t find it. But how does a brand build a real following of consumers who care? That is, how do we create meaning? That is the question every new brand team needs to answer.

 

To quote Patrick again: “We want the added value of believing in something. The added value of belonging to something: being a part of something that hard-wires us to a larger community of “people like me””

 

Seth Godin in his fantastic book “Tribes” articulates this concept well.

“Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so.” Brands have to figure out how to reach their tribes and how to engage with them. Notice, I did not say create their tribes. This is an important distinction. I believe tribes are discovered not created. Brands who overtly try to create one typically struggle. If a following is not organic, today’s savvy consumers sense it.   I think brands can make themselves relevant and worthy of a following and then as that following begins to show signs of life can play a role in fostering and accelerating it.

 

I’d love to hear your stories of brands you think are doing this right.

 

Cheers,

 

Smoke

 

WineTwits to Lead #Wine Tweetup at #WITS2014 the 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium

WineTwits to Lead #Wine Tweetup at #WITS2014 the 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium

Excited for #WITS2014 and BITS in 18 days… This wine tasting tweetup has become a highlight of the social aspects of WITS… here is winemaker Alison Crowe at one..

 

 

 

I hope to see as many of you at this year’s event as can join.  Reach out to me if you have any questions.

Smoke

WITS cover impage

WineTwits to Lead #Wine Tweetup at #WITS2014 the 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium

Tweetup wineries include: Franciscan Estate Winery, Garnet Vineyards, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Kendall-Jackson Winery, Wente Vineyards.

(NAPA, Calif.) – The 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) has partnered with Taste140 to again host a worldwide virtual wine tasting event June 30 – July 1, 2014 at the WITS event, which this year also includes a new concurrent Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS).

While it is anticipated that conference attendees will naturally be active across various Social Media platforms using the #WITS2014 hashtag over the course of the two-day conference, organized and focused online wine tastings have also been scheduled with participating wineries including: Franciscan Estate Winery (Franciscan Estate 2011 Magnificat Napa Valley), Garnet Vineyards (Garnet 2012 Monterey Pinot Noir), Jamieson Ranch Vineyards (Jamieson Ranch 2011 “Double Lariat” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon), Kendall-Jackson Winery (Kendall-Jackson 2011 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon), Renwood Winery (Renwood 2011 Premier Old Vine Zinfandel) and Wente Vineyards (Wente 2012 Morning Fog Chardonnay).

In advance of the #WITS2014 WineTwits Tweetup, Taste140 is shipping wines from each participating winery to online wine influencers and bloggers who have committed to live participation. The wines will also be available for tasting at the event, so that event attendees can contribute to the conversation and post their tasting notes, experience and feedback.

“Having attended WITS since its inception in 2005, I’ve gained valuable insights directly from wine industry thought leaders while forging immeasurable relationships which have continued to grow over the years,” said Stephen Gilberg, Taste140 and WineTwits founder. “Similarly, beverage brands that properly leverage social media are able to build long-lasting relationships with influential consumers. The #WITS2014 Wine Tweetup will likely be one of the most wide-reaching virtual tastings to date.”

“We are pleased to partner with these fantastic wineries and with WineTwits to bring some of the #WITS2014 experience beyond the conference in Napa and to bloggers and consumers around the country. This online event demonstrates the power of a connected wine community and has become a fun highlight of the event each year,” said J. Smoke Wallin, WITS founder and co-chair.

The 2014 Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS), which will run concurrent with the first Beer Industry Technology Symposium, will cover a wide range of wine and craft beer industry topics such as mobile e-commerce, data breach and security, breakthrough marketing, supply chain innovation, leading edge hospitality systems, new on-premise kegs and product tracking. Panels of leading restaurant and grocery operators will also provide valuable insight as they discuss their first-hand experience with wine and beer consumers.

Registration is now open at www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com.

 

wits logo

About WITS: The Wine Industry Technology Symposium® (WITS) is the focal point for thought leadership in the strategic and tactical use of technology in the global wine industry. WITS was created in 2005 by a group of wine industry and technology professionals to advance innovation and to address the unique information technology and services needs of the wine industry. The 10th annual WITS is June 30 & July 1 in Napa, CA. This year, the newly formed Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS) will be held in conjunction with WITS. To learn more, join WITS on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About DrinkTwits, LLC (Taste140/WineTwits): Founded in 2008, DrinkTwits is a social media firm comprised of interactive food and beverage-related social media channels. Its flagship entity, @WineTwits is a Twitter-powered community with 100,000 followers dedicated to wine consumers, retailers, vineyards and experts. In 2009, through its network of leading social influencers, the firm pioneered the practice of online virtual tasting via its Taste 140â„¢ social tasting platform, which allows brands to virtually pack their tasting room with hundreds of people and have their recommendations instantly reach thousands worldwide. For more information, visit www.Taste140.com or www.twitter.com/winetwits.

For more information about the Wine Industry Technology Symposium, contact Kathy Archer of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8719 or kathy@winesymposium.com. For sponsorship and registration, contact Waunice Orchid of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8716 or waunice@winesymposium.com.

 

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9th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposiumâ„¢ – Witsâ„¢ Set To Deliver Action Packed Agenda Next Week

9th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposiumâ„¢ – Witsâ„¢ Set To Deliver Action Packed Agenda Next Week

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone attending WITS on Monday and Tuesday at the Napa Valley Marriott!  Here is our final announcement re the event…

wits logo

9th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposiumâ„¢ – Witsâ„¢ Set To Deliver Action Packed Agenda Next Week 

There is Still Time To Sign Up Today For 9th Annual WITS™  

Beginning Monday, July 15 and 16 @ Napa Valley Marriott 

Leading Technology Innovators Demonstrate Latest Products and Services During Sold Out Showcase 

Napa, CA— July 11, 2013— Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) today announced its final agenda and speakers for the 9th annual event to be held July 15 & 16 in Napa, CA.  Keynotes bring elite leadership, social media and the transformative cloud to the wine industry.

If Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function, WITS mission is the creation of a safe environment to challenge assumptions in order to elevate the wine industry’s strategic use of technology to achieve superior results.

Over the years, WITS has done exactly this, by hosting the Chief Information Officer CIO Forum, providing thought provoking keynote speakers, delivering hands on break out sessions, profiling a technology showcase while fostering extensive networking opportunities for all attendees.  This 9th conference promises to be the best ever!  If you are involved in using, choosing or creating technology for your wine related business, you really don’t want to miss this once a year opportunity.

WITS Promo PHoto

3 Keynotes & A Tribute

  • Jonathan Good,  Senior SMR Solutions at Oracle will speak on “Developing a Social Relationship Management Strategy for Wine ” building on his experience as founder of HelloSocialMedia.com – a social media and marketing agency that focused on the creation and execution of social media programs, including blogging, community development, Internet marketing, design and web development.
  • Miles Ward, Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services will speak about Big Data for Real World Businesses showing tools, techniques and clear ROI for analysis in the cloud.  Miles helped NASA live-stream the Mars Rover landing, developed the online Obama For America 2012 presidential campaign, and has helped thousands of companies make the leap to the cloud.
  • Award-winning serial entrepreneur and successful luxury hotel owner, author, speaker, and former U.S. Army Green Beret Larry Broughton shares his insights on transforming ordinary teams into extraordinary ones.

“I’m very pleased to have Larry Broughton, Jonathan Good and Miles Ward join us on our Keynote program.” said J. Smoke Wallin, founder and co-chairman of WITS.  He continued, “I have had the privileged of interacting with each of our speakers and know they will each deliver inspirational and thought provoking discussions that will deliver real take home value to all our winery attendees.”

WITS 2008

Attendees can register at www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com

About WITS: The Wine Industry Technology Symposium® (WITS) is the focal point for thought leadership in the strategic and tactical use of technology in the global wine industry.  WITS was created in 2005 by a group of wine industry and technology professionals to advance innovation and to address the unique information technology and services needs of the wine industry.  The 9th annual WITS  is July 15 & 16 in Napa, CA.  Join WITS on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to learn more.

For more information, contact Waunice Orchid of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8716 or waunice@swgnapa.com

WITS 2011 – The place to be for TECHNOLOGY , STRATEGY & WINE

As you know, I’ve Co-Chaired the Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) since we created it in 2005.  I’m very excited by the response to this year’s agenda (still shaping up) and our keynote speakers we announced.  Wines & Vines dis a fantastic story on it yesterday.  Here is a bit and you can go to their site for the rest…

Napa, Calif.—Since 2005, the annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) has brought together experts from within and outside the wine business to help growers, wineries and marketers make the most of the newest tools available to them. It’s a moving target, and every year yields valuable insights for both techies and technophobes.

WITS is scheduled this year for Tuesday and Wednesday, July 12 and 13, at the Napa Valley Marriott. Last year’s symposium drew registered attendance of more than 300. Keynote speakers on Wednesday morning will be Leslie Sbrocco, TV host, author and consultant, who will deliver: “The Vision and Technology Behind Thirsty Girl,” a member-driven community celebrating women. Serial entrepreneur Tim Bucher, who has held executive roles with tech icons Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell, will take on “Technology and Innovation.”

Wines & Vines, a WITS sponsor, spoke with panelists on a few of the many more specialized sessions to get some juicy details. For the complete schedule and speaker bios, visit wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com.

Here is our announcement on keynotes that went out earlier… contact me if you have any thoughts or ideas to make this year’s event the best ever.  And if you are a strategic thinker, President, GM, CIO or other leader in the wine industry and you want to hang out with your peers and some of the most innovative people in technology and strategy AND enjoy some great wine in Napa don’t miss this event!

Technology and Innovation Leader Tim Bucher & TV Personality and Head Thirsty Girl, Leslie Sbrocco to Lead Keynotes for the

Seventh Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium®, July 12-13, 2011

May 19, 2011, Napa, CA – The Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS)®, the premier event showcasing innovation and strategic use of information technology and services for the wine industry, announced headline speakers for its seventh annual conference July 12-13, 2011 at the Marriot Napa Valley.

 

The symposium will open with a technology showcase and hands on experiential workshops on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 12, but the main event takes place on Wednesday, July 13 with the general session and keynote speakers.

Tim Bucher’s Keynote Address is titled “Technology and Innovation”

What do Microsoft, Apple, Dell and WITS all have in common? Alumnus Tim Bucher. Founder and current CEO of Tastingroom.com, Tim Bucher may be the only person in who has served in key executive roles for the big three: Bill Gates at Microsoft, Steve Jobs at Apple, and Michael Dell at Dell. He learned about innovation and business expansion from some of the leading technologists in the industry.

Bucher is a serial entrepreneur who has created several successful companies over the last 23 years, taking one of them public and selling four others for over $1 Billion. Besides Tastingroom.com, Bucher serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Product Officer of Zing Systems, Inc. He founded Mirra, Inc., in 2002. He is also Founder of ispiri. Bucher serves as Chairman of the Board of Mirra, Inc. and ispiri. Mr. Bucher holds an MSEE from Stanford and a BSEE from UC Davis.

Bucher will share his unique perspective on business technology and innovation during his keynote address. Imagine the secrets you will learn from serial entrepreneur Tim Bucher.

Leslie Sbrocco’s Keynote Address is titled “The Vision and Technology Behind Thirsty Girl”

What do Check Please!, the Today Show, and Thirsty Girl have in common? Wine Maven, Leslie Sbrocco, Head Thirsty Girl.  An award-winning author, speaker, wine consultant, television host, and founder of the new multi-media company, Thirsty Girl, Leslie Sbrocco built this thriving multi-media company using 100% social media. Thirsty Girl is a member-driven community that celebrates women. “With glass, fork, and plane ticket in hand, Thirsty Girls live life to the fullest.”

Sbrocco has appeared on Check Please!, The Winemakers, and the Today Show as well as had her work published in outlets such as Epicurious.com, O the Oprah magazine, Coastal Living, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping and Glamour among others. She also has published two books, Wine for Women and The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide (William Morrow); she is currently at work on her third book, Adventures of a Thirsty Girl.

Sbrocco and her Social Media Coach Janet Fouts will provide a point-counter-point interplay of ideas put into action through the use of social media, content and live events in their keynote address at WITS 2011. Learn how she has grown Thirsty Girl from scratch to significance – all through social media in just one year.

J. Smoke Wallin, WITS founder and Co-Chair said “I find it incredible to contemplate the vast innovation that we have witnessed since the first WITS in 2005.  Companies like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn were either ideas or just getting started.  Apple was not in the music or handheld business. Giving us their unique insights on this rapid innovation both Sbrocco and Bucher will help us gain perspective on how the wine industry is adopting to and benefiting from it all.”

The afternoon on day two will include panel discussions with take home value, an exciting technology showcase and conclude with a rocking wine reception. Panels will have four tracks: Technology Leadership, Consumer Direct Sales, Trade Sales & Marketing and Vineyard & Winery Operations.

For more information about the event schedule and to register today, visit: www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com/schedule.html

About Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS)®

The Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) was created in 2005 by a group of wine industry and technology professionals. The purpose of WITS is to address the unique information technology and services needs of the wine industry. WITS is dedicated to bringing the world’s leading wine industry professionals together with some of the world’s leading technology experts to foster learning and discussion. Panels of experts will discuss specific examples and case studies. www.WineIndustryTechnologySymposium.com

 

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Media Contact:

Lesley P. Berglund, co-chair, 707-246-6827

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