Kristie Sheppard

Marketing your small winery can seem overwhelming and challenging, especially for those small shops with just one, or maybe a few employees. During harvest, there is never enough time to even think about marketing, and by the time you get everything else done from, bottling to distribution, it’s almost harvest again! However, you know creative and customer-focused marketing is critical to the success of your winery.

Adding a few simple tools to your marketing toolbox can assist in strategically and successfully promoting your wine brand. Even a minimal time investment pays huge dividends with the following tips.

  1. Know your audience. Defining your target audience is the first step in effective marketing. Keep in mind your audience is much larger than just wine drinkers. Analyze and organize your current customer base by categories, such as millennials, baby boomers, women or wine drinkers who are new to enjoying wine.
  2. Define your message. Determine a key message to connect your brand with each group of ideal customers. The message should be clear, direct and consistently used so it resonates with potential customers. For example, if your millennial audience group is interested in scores from Parker, make sure your messaging includes your recent ratings. Key messages help tell your story to compel your audience to take action.
  3. Get to know the media. Sending a press release about your upcoming winemaker dinner to the local food and wine critic without building a relationship with him/her will appear self-serving and may get pushed aside. Build a relationship with wine writers and influencers. Read their stories, engage with them on social media platforms and share their stories. Are you getting ready to promote a new wine and want some press? Invite the writer to a private tasting before the release to allow for personalized face time. Prepare materials in advance to make packaging the story easy for the reporter; include photos, content and potential alternate interview contacts.
  4. Engage on social media. Social media used to be about likes and followers. Now, engagement determines success- how many people, when they see your Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram post, actually like, share, or comment on that post. Engagement is a two-way conversation. The best way to get engagement is to give some as well. Scrolling through your social media feeds for 10 -15 minutes per day looking for like-minded brands, wine influencers and your customers so you can comment, like and share their posts, will show your investment in the industry. Social interaction creates an awareness of your brand with audiences, who may become followers or customers. Social engagement will keep you in the minds of your customers and strengthen your consumer-producer relationship. Wineries can be hesitant to post on social media because of the Federal Trade Commission laws on advertising to minors, but with advances in data collection on most of the major platforms, you can confidently and legally promote your brand.
  5. Kieran Robinson Wines’ Sparkling Brigade is eye catching and meaningful.

    Let the label tell the brand’s story. If your wine is in retail shops or on display at a restaurant, the packaging is your most valuable asset. You need a label that stands out from the crowd, but also represents your brand and identity. Make sure your key message is translated into the label through visuals or text.

  6. Utilize influencers. Invite top wine influencers to a tasting. Engage with them on social media. Meg Maker, Amy Lieberfarb, Jancis Robinson, Jon Thorson and Antonio Galloni are just a few, but like we mention in Tip #1, do your research to make sure chosen influencers are appropriate for your brand.
  7. Participate in tasting events. For most small producers, providing complimentary cases and cases of wine to a special event may put a big dent in your potential sales, but don’t underestimate the value of attending these events. Yes, you will definitely get quite a few people who are attending the event just to get intoxicated. You will also get serious wine drinkers and media. Many tasting events host a trade/media hour prior to the general public. This is your opportunity to meet media face-to-face and make a lasting impression. Do your research about tasting opportunities. Find out what reporters and influencers have attended in the past. Ask fellow wineries if they have participated and what their thoughts are.

These cost-effective and simple tips will be the start to successfully marketing your winery. We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences about wine marketing. Comment or share on social media and tag A. Bright Idea so we can reply!

Katie MacNichol

While reminiscing on the Super Bowl (or maybe just longing for the weekend), I thought about the creative choices brands make in commercials to connect with their audience. The brands score when they make you act – buy their product, schedule a service, call or email for more information or log in to register for a service. Whatever the action, successful ads make you want to do it immediately. Brands do this through creative choices that tell a story to connect with you on an emotional level.

Think about these examples:

  • What if Audi placed a middle-aged woman in the cart race to replace the little girl to make a stand for raising strong, valued women?
  • What if 84 Lumber chose a group of men versus a woman and child for their “Journey 84” spot?
  • What if Hyundai used a group of sorority sisters partying at the beach instead of the nation’s Warfighters stationed overseas connecting with their families?

The creative choices in an ad shape the story and tell you how to feel, making the message more impactful. In these instances in particular, the theme of people (those actually used in the commercial; the actors) made a direct correlation and emotional connection back to the audience.

For example, Hyundai’s ad used a theme central to making life better – showing soldiers being led into tents to put them “with” their family watching the game while their families were set up in the stadium with 360 degree cameras. It brought families together – making life better – by using actual families in the creative.

While the touching scenes do not sell cars directly, the commercial pushes the theme and Hyundai as a brand shows its focus on making life better too. They say “Hi, audience, come buy our brand” by connecting on an emotional level and weaving storytelling through advertising.

In an age of media oversaturation, it’s good to get to the point. But what makes you more apt to buy? A message that literally says “Go online and buy XYZ now!” or a more tactful ad that cries out to your needs – all the things you’re feeling inside that you want to trust a brand you’re going to invest in understands and feels too.

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The Super Bowl was a great time to see the impact of creative choices coming to life, especially how storytelling through advertising makes a difference to the audience. But, storytelling also matters in any form, whether print ads, brochures, websites, logos, etc. Brands are thinking more strategically about how they communicate to their audience, shaping creative decisions and call-to-action around reaching them at an emotional level.

We hope to see this trend continue, too, because it means brands pay attention to their consumer and care about them on a more personal level than just sales and profits.

And before I say “bye,” check out one of my other favorite Super Bowl ads – #BaiBaiBai. To be honest, I’m not completely sure who serves as Bai’s target audience but the creative choices in talent used here make me want to be their audience. Who’s thirsty?

Katie MacNichol

Whether you are a small business, nonprofit or large entity, developing a creative campaign can be a challenge. You may be thinking: How can I stand out among the competition? How can I make sure my brand is represented well? Will the campaign effectively support my goals? How can I get my audience to respond? What do I want them to know about my business?

Let us break down the elements that go into making a strong, strategic and measurable communication campaign.

Based on the Dragonfly Model, we categorize campaign elements into four sections:

  1. Focus
  2. Grab attention
  3. Engage
  4. Take action

When you consider all four pieces (or wings) of the model, your campaign will come together to work at peak efficiency and remain rooted in meeting your end goal. Like when a dragonfly flies – it needs all four wings to work in tandem in order to get where it aims to go.

To start, we focus your campaign on a single concrete, measurable goal. This will ensure tools and tactics implemented through the campaign remain grounded and focused on one thing. So – what do you want to accomplish?

Next, we grab the attention of your audience. To do this, we make sure to incorporate a personal and visual call-to-action to engage your audience and make them focus on your brand.

Take Whirlpool for example. The brand’s most recent advertising campaign organically grabs the attention of their target audience by making a personal appeal, visually.

(PS – If you’re not on the verge of happy tears right now, you should be.)

Now, time to engage. When planning tools and tactics to most effectively engage your audience, empathy toward your audience helps to increase engagement – so long, of course, as the empathetic message doesn’t appear forced. (Faking empathy can make your audience feel betrayed, so, if you’re going to use empathy as an engagement tactic, always make sure to come by it naturally!)

And finally, it’s time to take action. One of the best tips for getting your audience to take action – less is more. Keep your messaging obvious but clever, telling your audience exactly how, when and why to take action toward what you want them to do. Make it easy for them!

When you’re ready to embark on your next creative campaign, A. Bright Idea is ready to help you fly to new heights!

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Marketing businesses using Facebook and Twitter has become a growing tactic in marketing plans across all industries. Social media platforms serve as an effective tool for circulating branded messaging, but Internet usage and trends continue to change every day.

In a recent article, Bulldog Reporter found that 90% of all Internet traffic and 50% of mobile traffic is now made up of photos and video. For growing visual media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, this means an opportunity for continued expansion. Instagram’s more than 200 million users make up an attractive market of young people for PR and marketers. Digital media reporting site Mashable has also found that 1 in 5 U.S. adults are now using Pinterest. These large groups of users of both platforms are at the ready to receive visual content that could ultimately lead to better connecting and capitalizing on consumer and brand relationships.

With the expanding use of visual media, it is more important than ever to control your brand’s messaging. People make decisions based on trust and brand promise. Using photos and visuals helps create another tangible connection to brands. As we can see from these recent statistics, it is becoming a greater means of communication – that old adage “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Having a strategic presence in visual media can serve as a key tool to further brand development as part of an integrated marketing approach. Everything you do or say influences what people think about your brand, so providing them with a visual example of what your brand promises also helps demonstrate that your brand delivers on this promise.

No matter the medium, the ability to connect users with your brand is crucial to developing brand loyalty, and will ultimately lead to a better consumer experience. It’s important to assess your own brand strategy as it compares to trends, as not all trends serve brands equally. With the expanding use of visual media, now is an opportune time to analyze your own brand and consider the most strategic uses of visual media and how it can potentially become part of your integrated marketing approach.

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Nonprofit organizations provide great benefits through services and products to local communities, positively changing the lives of families and individuals – your loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues. In most cases, they’re providing support with limited funds and resources, running on the time of volunteers along, while for-profit businesses have the advantage of better resources and full-time staff to support their endeavors. Often times, these disadvantages mean nonprofit organizations are put on the back burner with the media because their stories may not have the “flash” and grander available to the media from for-profits.

Focusing on nonprofit organizations, it’s especially crucial to keep a strong strategy behind PR efforts in order to effectively garner the attention of the media even with limited resources and time. Public relations require careful strategy to demonstrate information relevant to the audience. Implementing this strategy in a tactful and meaningful manor comes in the form of the newest PR buzzword – PESO – paid, earned, shared and owned media.

  • Owned – content generated by the organization and thus messages controlled completely through their content
  • Paid – paid advertising or sponsorships via media partnerships or other events
  • Earned – information presented to the public via the media where the organization is a resource; or PSA/donated media via advertising
  • Shared – social media mentions and virtual/social media conversations (“buzz”) surrounding the organization that builds through a word-of-mouth, viral network

These four avenues implemented strategically by any organization can garner attention related to its cause. Below are examples for paid, earned, shared and owned media and how to execute tools and tactics related to each. It’s important to consider added value with each, including compelling content the media can incorporate with mentions, such as images/video, trends, expert references, social media polls/campaigns, pop culture references, etc. Including these types of compelling content provide relevance for the media’s audience making the story more important.

Paid

  • Media exposure and mentions via media sponsors/partnerships, including print, radio, television, digital outdoor, and online impressions
  • Public exposure and mentions via partnerships, including other business’/organizations websites, press releases, broadcast media mentions, on-site/stadium events/exposure

Earned (Media pitches)

  • How businesses are affected by the organization’s fundraising, including statistics and what that means for those employed by or benefiting from the products and services of those businesses; Relate it back to the end user
  • Research and technology advances in the local area that support the organization, including scientific sources and news articles
  • Profiles on each volunteers/donors and their connection to the organization and the community, including video interviews and photos so viewers can identify
  • Benchmarks and milestones in industry advancements related to the organization and how they can be applied by families and individuals locally, including expert tips and trends for easy application

Shared

  • Charts/graphics/statistics locally and what difference funds raised for the organization could mean to the community
  • Map of communities within the area served most effected by the problems the organization serves to help
  • Facebook poll quizzing social media users on statistics and facts
  • Links to research directly impacted by the organization
  • Hashtags to use on FourSquare and Facebook when you check in at locations related to the organization and its cause

Owned

  • Create a PSA to distribute to local media outlets and ask them to share the video in order to help your specific cause. The PSA will serve as a vehicle to control the message and can be repurposed for earned media.
  • Provide the media with statistics specific to the local community and how money raised by the organization can help to improve those statistics
  • Create information graphics to visually represent statistics, event information and key messages that can be provided to the media for easy inclusion in their stories/mentions
  • Video clips from organization events and locally-based families and individuals who have benefited from the organization

With all public relations efforts, it’s important to make the pitch newsworthy with an angle that allows the media and the media’s audience to relate without much thought. For example, correspondence and information provided to the media should be brief, in layperson terms, eliminating hype and sticking to fact and direct to what it means to the audience.

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I recently saw a video entitled, “What if money was no object,” narrated by Alan Watts. The imagery was compelling, and coupled with the catchy accent of the narrator, helped resonate it’s important key message and takeaway – life is too short to spend it doing something you don’t enjoy.

It’s the start of a new year. With 2012 our past, and 2013 our future, it’s the perfect moment to take advantage and get inspired to think about change. Some people are change-averse, while others welcome it with open arms. As we begin this new year, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year or two (or ten) and analyze if you are heading in the direction you had hoped – whether it pertains to yourself, your business, your brand, and/or how you want to be perceived.

Could this be the year that you push the envelope and modernize? Maybe tackle a new market or expand your service or product offerings? Refresh or update the brand you’ve kept since your company’s inception? As time, trends and your customers change, your business strategy needs to account for these changes.

Refining your business strategy, key messages or brand does not have to mean a complete overhaul of everything you’ve established. Rather, it can be more of a refinement of how you identify and present your business to your target audience, and among the competition. What makes you unique, different, a benefit? Why are you trusted, savvy or the expert in your field? In order to stay in competition you have to be the competition. Keeping your business strategy on target and staying tapped in to your position in the market is essential in understanding your marketing and branding strategy, and analyzing your success in accomplishing the goals of your business.

Below are items to consider as you evaluate your branding position and business strategy, as well as your plans on what you intend to accomplish in 2013 and beyond.

Relevancy – Consider the relevancy of your brand or business – externally and internally. Does your brand encompass the business strategy now and how you intend to be perceived now and in the future?

Growth – Does your business have multiple entities or pieces? Consider uniting them under a single brand mark or name. Sometimes, growth warrants change. If your business has expanded over the years, it may be time to refine a stronger brand representing your success. Key messaging may need tweaking with your growth.

Audience – Consider the audience of your business. Does your company want to tap into a new market? Is the current brand suitable for that audience? Changing the business location or new product offerings or services warrants a look into your overall business strategy and goals.

Handling your business goals and branding strategically is a necessity. Making a change can be difficult, but if made with trust and a thorough plan can mean a world of difference.

Take a moment and enjoy the video. Catch a little inspiration and consider what change could mean to you. It might be time for a refinement of your strategy – look back at your one year, five year or ten year plan. Where are you in your plan and how have you performed? Maybe it’s time to breathe some new life into your business or brand. Get inspired by 2013 and make an impact for the years to come!

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Thriving brands recognize the importance of Facebook and engaging its audiences and connecting with people interested in their product or service to reach a large audience. Facebook gives businesses the potential to share content and to grow awareness and recognition of their brand. For a lot of brands, Facebook really is grassroots marketing and a word-of-mouth opportunity to gain attention for your products or services. If one person on Facebook interacts with your business, all of their friends have the opportunity to see that interaction, snowballing your reach.

It doesn’t take a savvy marketer to launch a successful presence on Facebook. Honest interactions and a handle on your brand are a good place to start. A few other tips we’ve picked up when using Facebook as a tool to build brands:

 

1. Be consistent in content

Not only in the content you post, but also in your imagery. Ensure the messages you post are consistent with the brand message you include on your brochures, website, commercials, billboards, radio, in your office and verbally face-to-face.

  • Not every single post needs to be specifically about your product, service or business—but see if you can somehow relate it back to something relevant to your business or that your fans would be interested in.
  • When applicable, utilize your business logo or messaging could be included on imagery you post. This ensures that if one of your fans ‘shares’ the post, the friends of that person will know where the content came from and may like your page too.
  • Learn the dimensions of the different Timeline areas such as the cover photo, profile image, highlighted post and page window. It is a big turnoff if someone comes to your page and the logo is cutoff in the profile picture or content is covered up in the cover image by the profile picture box.

Some third-party Facebook apps allow businesses to create customized pages including welcome pages, video channels, polls/contests, Instagram feeds, Twitter feeds and more. Pages can create a fully branded page with whatever content they want and set that as the default ‘Home’ screen for visitors to their page. This is basically another outlet for you to share customized content, like your website and brochure.

 

2. Learn tricks and tips

Facebook recently introduced a scheduling tool, allowing users to set messages to post in advance. Scheduling ensures you don’t have to worry about keeping up with Facebook while you’re on the road, traveling, in meetings or elsewhere. Brands can set up the social media for the day or even the week and let it post on schedule.Still, take note of timing.

  • Be responsive to inquiries and comments.
  • Take note of when your posts get the most interaction. Sometimes, the best time to post is when you or an employee is not in the office Monday thru Friday 8-5. A lot of people utilize Facebook in the evenings, early in the morning and on weekends.
  • Utilize new Timeline tools such as ‘pin to top,’ for current messaging or promotions, ‘highlighting,’ allowing the message to span across the full Timeline window and ‘reposition photo,’ allowing the user to adjust what part of the image shows up in the preview.

Know that it’s okay to check out other pages. Learn what your competitors or other top Facebook brands are doing and see if you can generate a campaign that makes sense for your business. Sports teams often watch video of their opponents before playing them to see how they could improve themselves—it’s no different for checking out other brands on Facebook.

 

3. Know your audience

Take advantage of the  insights tool, a great, and sometimes, eye-opening feature Facebook offers to pages. If one of your social media managers is a 24-year-old male, make sure he knows that 55% of the 14,000 likes to one of your brand’s pages are females aged 35-64, and 72% of the total being female. Your message should then match your audience.

This is an actual occurrence on our SomethingAboutSonoma.com Facebook page. It makes sense, as those looking to spend a vacation or trip in Wine Country are the women who are trying to plan a trip with their loved one, family or girlfriends. Once you figure out the audience, it might change the type of content you post and how you write the messaging.

The insights tool also allows you to set goals for the number of followers, interactions or overall reach for your page or individual posts. Figure out realistic goals, and set new milestones once you achieve them.

 

4. Change things up

In order to generate more revenue, Facebook allows businesses to promote themselves even further through Facebook ads and promoted posts. Both can be used effectively with the right tactics. Advertising on Facebook is not just for businesses with deep pockets either, with tools allowing users to set daily or monthly budget limits and provide filters allowing you to choose your target audience.

Facebook recently changed its news feed algorithm for showing business page content causing a decline in interaction. Unfortunately, less people are seeing business posts in their news feed. In order for a post to be more likely to show up in fans news feed, they need to have previous interaction with your page. The Facebook algorithm knows if a fan has never or rarely commented on your photos, shared a post or liked a post, so your content will be less likely to show up for that person. So, in order to spread your brand further, you must generate interaction with your posts.

Realizing businesses were mad about this new trend, Facebook launched the promoted posts feature—allowing business to pay for their posts to be seen. Similar to Facebook advertising, this could help your brand get a kick-start to gaining attention and interaction. If you pay for a few posts and get people to interact with a post, your future posts will be more likely to be seen by them. Businesses or brands could have thousands of likes on their page, but if interaction is down and nobody is seeing their content, what is the point? Monitor the virality of your posts to ensure the content you are generating is getting seen, or something needs to change.

Businesses should also change the cover image on the page occasionally, as it would become stale to repeat visitors if left alone. Utilize seasonal imagery, promotions, different products or different branding images for the cover photo.

 

Stay up to date on trends, rules, new tricks or features with Facebook to ensure your business continues to build an audience and become more successful.

 Social Media Services

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The planning season is upon us – who are we kidding; we actually begin planning for next year in October or even earlier! However, as we inch closer to the new year, there are still a great number of opportunities for businesses to get ready and tackle their goals with a strategic advertising plan.

First things first, an advertising plan is only part of a business’ larger strategic marketing plan. The marketing plan should outline the organization’s goals, objectives, stakeholders, key messages and tactics – one of which could be advertising.  The marketing plan is essential for businesses to keep on target as they work toward accomplishing goals, and lays the groundwork for the supporting tactics (like advertising) to be effective and measured for success.

Effective advertising comes from good planning and research, proper budgeting, utilizing key messages, including a strong call to action, and of course, commitment. Here are some tips to think about when planning your advertising strategy for 2013.

1. Know your brand – What makes you unique? How are you, your products or services different than the competition?  Review your brand when thinking about your advertising focus for the year.

2. Identify your focus – Will it be branding, highlighting a product or service, or developing a promotional offer? How and why are you planning to focus your advertising on this messaging? How is what you are promoting, different than the competition?

3. Set your goals – A step that goes right along with identifying the focus, establishing realistic and measurable goals is essential to an advertising plan. Is the focus of the advertising in line with your overall business goals? If not, why is it the focus? Don’t advertise for the sake of advertising if your messaging isn’t going to support your business’ goals.

4. Set your budget – Seemingly simple, but truly one of the most important to focus on. Don’t simply say, “let’s do what we did last year.” Work with your agency and take the time to review and analyze your advertising budget and what your goals for the coming year include. Is the amount dedicated to advertising right to support your goals?

5. Identify the appropriate medium – Considering your goals, focus and target audience, work with your advertising agency to identify the proper media mix.

6. Look at the calendar – Is any part of your advertising focus seasonal? Plan your advertising calendar along with your business cycle. Take advantage of down times to brand yourself.

7. Monitor the impact – Keeping tabs on the results is important, but you should also remember that advertising takes commitment. Don’t pull the plug because you didn’t get a call in the first week. Some marketing statistics say a person needs to hear an ad three times before retaining the information, while others say seven and so on. Plus, a person may not need (or think they need) what you’re offering right at that moment. The key is that they think of you when they do realize they have a need.

8. Make changes and learn from the results – This can be done over the course of the campaign, or year. Is your current campaign getting the results you intended and impacting your marketing goals? Maybe there needs to be a change in the key message, product or offer? Or, how can the current messaging be altered to breathe new life into the campaign and build off its success?

Looking for more help? Working with a professional is a small investment that can lead to big results. Call us to see how we can help you get started.

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As social media continues to grow, we find ourselves needing even more time in the day to keep up! That’s why the Quick Fix for this edition focuses on managing the demands of social media to ensure you are hitting all of your audiences while being efficient and effective. As social media strategists, here are our top tips for taming your time on social media so you can focus your attention on other things!

  • Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts so when you update one it automatically posts to the other. This avoids the need to make posts to two separate accounts.
  • Set up HootSuite or TweetDeck to manage all of your accounts in one place, rather than signing in and out of each platform as you go.
  • Schedule your Facebook and/or Twitter posts through sites like HootSuite or TweetDeck, to post at specific times throughout the day. You can pick whatever day and time you would like! This allows you to ensure your accounts are kept up-to-date even when you might not have time throughout the day to get to them.

A. Bright Idea Twitter Graphic

And be sure to check out the pages of some of our client’s who are implementing these tips, including:

 

 

 

A. Bright Idea Twitter Strategy