One of the most interesting challenges for a wine marketer is promoting a collective brand. Champagne was certainly the most successful example of such a strategy: it is now synonymous with party, special occasion and pleasure. Unfortunately we know it backfired: consumers don’t see Champagne as an everyday drink but more as the special drink open for a specific event. High prices, down economy and depressed consumers halted the trend.
The second side effect of this collective promotion was the emergence of a few internationally recognized brands and a lot of brands left in the shadow of the leaders. That’s at least what a lot of smaller Champagne producers complained about. It’s the case also in other areas where an umbrella brand is carried to the front. But is it really the case? Wasn’t there a missing step in the Champagne smaller producers’ strategy?
In every collective action, there are leaders. Those leaders can be compared to the oldest in a family of several children. The oldest has the privilege and the honor of being the one opening the road for his/her siblings: getting the authorization to go out at night, then getting the authorization to come back at 1:00 am instead of midnight and so on. When their turn comes to be teenagers , the youngest children will find the road paved and open to their own initiatives without having to discuss extensively with their parents to get what they want. And the oldest will be so frustrated to see how easy the life of his/her younger brother(s) and sister(s) are!
The position of oldest child is as uncomfortable as the position of leaders in the promotion of a collective brand. The leaders will open the road and pay for the eventual mistakes: the wrong store, the wrong market or the wrong price. The brands coming after them can learn a lot from the mistakes and the successes of their leaders: they’ll figure out faster and cheaper what is right for their own brand and will be able to position themselves more easily and with a better chance of succeeding.
Believe an oldest child in a family of several children: the next in line has it a lot easier!