Thoughts on the art of brand development

(  This post follows on from my previous post about the importance of branding and also appeared in Harpers last month )

One comment on my recent piece on the importance of branding was that it is all very easy to argue that one should invest in branding but it would be rather more useful, at least to those already ‘converted’, to provide some insights into how best this might be achieved

The easy response to this is that every producer needs to be treated as a separate case given aspirations and capabilities vary significantly. In addition, different consumer groups require very different approaches while, for premium wines, the regional location may also have a major influence on the brand. This all implies not only that there is a broad spectrum of reasons why producers might choose to invest in building brands , but that every brand development plan has to be ‘bespoke’ and not ‘ off the peg’.

And this is even before one gets to the implementation of any brand plan, which by its very nature must be designed to make the brand not simply appeal to the target market but stand out from the crowd in terms of how it is presented and communicated..

Having said, however, it would be fair to say that there are a number of key ‘imperatives’ or maxims that spring to mind whenever I am in brand development mode. These help me amongst other things to narrow down the options. Here are the seven that come most readily to mind

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Taking control of one’s own destiny.

The importance of branding.

(  The following appeared as an Opinion piece in Harpers last month and was followed up by some thoughts on the art of branding which I shall post in the next few days )

A recurring theme of most marketing orientated articles in Harpers is the need for wine producers to develop, and then promote effectively, their individuality: to communicate to the trade and the consumer, hopefully in an inspiring way, what makes them special and separates them from their competition.

This process can be summed up in one word, ‘branding’: a word that can still send shivers of irritation up the spine of too many in our industry. To them the word tends to smack of big corporations or of style over substance, concepts which seem at odds with the artisanal nature of the world of wine.

Few producers of course have the resources to communicate with consumers in the style of sophisticated brand led companies in other sectors, but that is to miss the point. Branding on one level is just about getting the basics right : to define and take note of the competition, to link a product to a target market, to develop a presentation that is likely to appeal to them and to link this to a communication approach that brings one’s wine to life in an exciting and relevant way to the proposed audience.

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