Next week I’ll be on my way to the European Wine Bloggers Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. I’m one of the lucky one who’ll get to speak twice – once on Social Wine Brand and the second time on the Future of the Social Wine Brand.
But what is exactly the social wine brand? More and more winery owners are getting aware of the importance of social media to reach their consumers. They start writing blogs, create a page on Facebook and an account on Twitter. Those are great initiatives but they’re far from being as efficient as they could be. Indeed being part of a social media network means a lot more. It means interfacing with other wine professionals – even peers – and, of course, consumers. One of the weaknesses of the European wine network is the lack of communication and cooperation between winery owners and wine makers. Europe is more individualistic and competitive than its New World friends – i.e. Americans, Australians or South Americans. It impairs the launching of efficient networks. Indeed, networks require trust and sharing information and tips. Europeans are usually more retentive and don’t give away information or tip to an unknown party.
Is there a solution for this situation? Yes, we see in Europe innovative initiatives coming from wine makers who understood how working together (and not against each other) is important. The French “Mes Vignes” network is one of the best examples. Several winemakers from various French producing regions got together to offer wine lovers the opportunity to rent some vines for a year and create their own wine. In Cahors, the wine makers “banded” together to promote their wines in the US through blogs and buzz marketing. I’m sure other countries have many success stories they’ll share during this panel on social wine brands.
Blogging is certainly one of the best social media a winery can develop. But it is not enough to write posts on the state of the vine or how the wine is doing in the vat or in the barrel. The blog needs to bring value to the winery or the shop owner by creating a special relationship with the final consumer. The blogger needs to create links with other bloggers by sharing information, giving away ideas or starting interesting discussions. Topics can vary. I recently read a discussion on Facebook initiated by David Corey on : “would you rather buy high priced wine discounted or small production wines with consistenly fair pricing? let’s say $29 and under?” The question is a very good example of the kind of topics consumers are passionnate about: over 30 people answered and commented upon each other’s comments.
Don’t hesitate either to join professional networks such as OpenWineConsortium or LinkedIn with its Wine 2.0 or Wine Business section. Be proactive, create relationship and emotion around your brand. Comment on other people blogs, give away information to help somebody, get involved in discussions you are interested in – “just do it” or “think differently” but whatever you chose to do, do it in a spirit of cooperation and with an open mind.