Niche branding or narrow branding?

by Eve Resnick on January 5, 2009

in General

In those lean times, a marketer feels compelled to define the best strategy at the lowest budget, especially for mediuim-sized brands. In his article “Brands:Taking a narrow view”, published on brandchannel.com, Chris Heile suggests that narrow branding “embraces the positive qualities of the brand, sharing them in more detail with customers. Think of it as brand personalization. More narrowly defined brands meet consumers at their level, allowing them to influence and feel ownership in the brand.” To illustrate his theory, he studies the case of SeaPak Shrimp Company that “adopted narrow branding to customize every aspect of its consumers’ brand experience, including products, packaging, distribution, media, content and messaging. Specifically, the company identified two core—yet completely different—lifestyle consumers: those who live to cook and those who cook to live. Then it set about to create a separate, narrow brand for each.”

Can this strategy apply to family-owned wine brands and small- or medium-sized wineries? The wine drinkers can be segmented in a lot of categories: at-home sippers, young urban drinkers, Millennials, adventurous connoisseurs, image seekers, bargain hunters, traditionalists, women, weekly treaters, etc. A winery would have to target very specifically a category. Some already apply this tactic as they create brand designed for the Millennials, like Silver Palm or for women, like Bitch (yes, it’s true!).

A more regular winery would have some problems to target only one or two categories. Let’s say your winery is in business for a couple of generations: how do you target 2 categories? First, you’ll have to define the profile of your customers and then, extract the most two common ones. That done, you have to define your strategy: your wines please gourmet and food lovers as well as young people for aperitif. Your web site will have to carry the two themes: wine and food pairings and entertaining. Why not? I wonder if this is really practical and doable for a winery…??

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