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This is my personal pet peeve: Rudeness.  Much of the time it is a mindless, stressed, rushed person that pollutes the air at work, either omitting the basic manners we’re taught as children or steam rolling by in a self-involved fog.  Certainly we have ALL been there. However, in addition to increased stress, time wasted, decrease in creativity & ability to solve problems, the negative impact affects morale, productivity, quality of life and did I mention productivity?  There are two great articles on this topic:  A blog post on the Harvard Business Review, You’re Rude Because Your Boss is Rude, and an article in the HBR January 2013 magazine, The Price of Incivility.   Is this a pervasive problem?  According to the HBR poll from that article, 98% of thousands of workers polled “reported experiencing uncivil behavior at work.  In 2011 half said they were treated rudely at least once a week.”  The HBR study found “Among workers who’ve been on the receiving end of incivility, 48% intentionally decreased their work effort, 47% intentionally decreased time spent at work, 80% lost work time worrying about the incident, 66% said their performance declined, 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work, 25% admitted to taking their frustration out on customers…”  Here’s another article from Forbes Magazine that highlights our technology and information overload that contributes to stress and overwhelm.  In it, psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., says “the accelerated pace of office life has us made us lose touch with common courtesies once taken for granted, like saying, “Good morning.”

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We are in the hospitality industry.  (Hospitality: the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.)  I strongly believe that our colleagues, co-workers, clients, (both B2B & B2C) and community are the front line recipients for that hospitality, which starts with polite behavior.  As part of the sales & marketing industry, I know developing brand advocates and devotees is a successful path to profitability.  That means converting the company people 100% to your brand first and then from there expanding your reach to everyone who comes in contact with your company, your product, your service, your brand.  One excellent example of this philosophy is articulately written and practiced by ING Direct founder Arkadi Kuhlmann: “It’s not leaders who drive business; it’s the culture they create, and sustain, that drives it.”  This is expanded upon in his book The Orange Code and has become Kuhlmann’s calling card, his brand.  I had friends that worked at ING Direct for Mr. Kuhlmann.  They all said that after their orientation, “we bled orange for that company.  It was the best place to work.”  Can you imagine the employees’ increased desire to succeed, to be there, to achieve, to totally ‘kill it’ when it came to doing their job for that company?

A few basics on civil behavior at work.

DO:

politeList

DON’T:

Swear Flagrantly.

Be Late.

Bury your face in a computer or smart phone during conversations or presentations.

Gossip, spread misinformation, tell inappropriate jokes or stories.

Groom yourself at work beyond the basic touch ups. (ok, maybe this is an odd one, but seriously people, taking your whitening trays out of your mouth at the lunch table is gross)

I realize this barely scratches the surface when it comes to elevating our behavior, our branding, our success at work and the atmosphere we create.  The reference links to books, blogs and articles offer meaningful depth into the subject.  There’s a lot to think about when it comes to civility at work.  We have gender, cultural and generational differences that can demand slight but distinct differences in behavior.  Awareness is key.  Managers at every level are unaware of reasonable guidelines and their own infractions.  So we have to not only learn, teach and model polite behavior (or hospitality), but also acknowledge, reward and prioritize it.  Is it part of performance evaluations, hiring interviews, event reviews/debriefs?  In conclusion, because we are in the hospitality, lifestyle business, it can not be emphasized enough that high quality civility, hospitality and good manners MUST be a priority at work.  Why?  Quality of life, better productivity, improved creativity, insightful problem solving, greater customer retention, greater employee retention, healthier atmosphere, decreased stress,  and perhaps most meaningful to those in charge: significantly higher profitability.

What do you think?

missedTargetBasically inseparable, sales & marketing most often seem to completely misunderstand each other.  Marketing, loaded with creative talent, big thinkers and sometimes a budget to back that up, creates tools, information and events that can make or break a brand, a launch, a quarter.  Sales, always on the go, focused on low hanging fruit, relationships and quotas provide the revenue that can make or break the company.  So how can such a close pairing, like steak and cabernet sauvignon, so often be on completely separate, parallel, uncomplimentary tracks with each other?

SAME:

The product

The team/company

The Goal

DIFFERENT:

The job

The how, when, where, who…

The mindset

target

Since I worked first in marketing then in sales in the wine industry, I’m currently fascinated with seamlessly tying the two halves together to function as a successful, profitable wine sales & marketing unit.  With input from colleagues and customers, I look forward to a thoughtful and provocative conversation that offers a basic and varied set of solutions here.  Digital marketing, social media and e-commerce have changed the way we shop, buy,  research and share. Internet opportunities, apps and experiments pop up and multiply quickly so I look forward to evaluating them for the wine industry here as well.

Your comments are essential.

Thanks for participating.

PS.   In the series to follow, data from the Forbes article that also referred to sales & marketing as Mars & Venus (an apt comparison) will be posted and referenced with valuable details about marketing lead generation and sales response time.

WnVCover

A giant thank you to my esteemed colleagues, wine lover bloggers and interested spectators who have watched with interest, fanned up with passion or snickered with disbelief about the “Banned in ‘Bama” issue turned campaign that peaked as the summer was pedaling to its end.

President of Hahn Estates, Bill Leigon, also passes on his gratitude and respect for the online wine media, bloggers and social media he’s praised for years  in the latest Wines and Vines Guest Editorial. It is likely too small to read here…but I wanted you to know what you’re looking for in case you come across it in the industry magazine.

WnVStory

Another example of social media’s power in action.

Cheers.

SMicons2Now that social media in wine and hospitality seems mainstream, facebook fan pages are de rigeur, and the twitter, flickr, fb, digg, etc. logos are plastered everywhere, there’s something significant missing in the translation of the message on connecting.  Referring back to the cocktail party analogy, would you host a party and not be there?  Invite guests to your home to connect and entertain them and leave everything up to a catering staff for interacting with your guests?

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I sure hope you answered no to both questions.  If you did, why on earth would you launch a social media program and issue automatic direct messages to your guests?  Why would you post generic, monthly or weekly messages (imagine a PA system a la high school) announcing, shouting at people something they didn’t ask you about?  Do you understand the concept of real conversation?  If I come to your home, I’m excited to see YOU…and if you have the butler answer the door, the bartender entertain me and the cook tell me loads of information, guess what…I’m probably not coming back.  Nor will I tell my friends anything positive about that experience.

IxNayThea

Maybe you’re mislead by the cold, technological tool in front of you…your laptop (i-phone, Storm, whatever).  What you must not forget is that there are real, flesh and blood, passionate people on the other end who love wine, hospitality, their friends, family, travel, SCUBA, or whatever FAR more than they love your bottom line.  While technology extends our reach by several orders of magnitude greater than we can imagine, you cannot lose your sensitivity, your listening skills, your inter-personal talents in the hopes of automating connection.  Businesses hoping to increase their business without getting involved, asking questions, caring and listening are doomed to fail, and fail on a large scale in public.

Our friend @winebratsf is right.  And she is doing businesses a service by letting them know what she wants and why she’s there.  Many people I know just “unfollow” a business that gets impersonal, automated or uninteresting.  If you can’t make the personal investment in the relationships, you are in the wrong place.  Give more than you get.  Provide value.  Care.  Share.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.  Cheers!

2006 Pinot Noir face

This week while we discuss and discover new technologies in wine marketing  this weekend in Wine Country, California during the Wine Bloggers Conference 2009, in Alabama the Beverage Control Board has ordered all Cycles Gladiator Wines pulled from all markets in the state of Alabama as the label has been deemed “pornographic“.

In 2006, the Cycles Gladiator wine label went through complete label approval on both the federal and Alabama state level, but only now in 2009 is it being questioned:  According to an article released today, July 23, 2009 in Lagniappe online here:

Bill Leigon, president of Hahn Family Wines of Napa Valley, Cal., said the ABC did, in fact, approve the label when the wine came into the market in 2006, but suddenly changed its mind late last year. He said they were unaware of the new ruling until now when it was deemed pornographic. Leigon said this is a new phenomenon for the company, which has sold more than 600,000 cases of Cycles Gladiator across the United States and around the world since 2006. No one else has complained about the label art, he said.

  • For full disclosure, I still work for Hahn Family Wines, owner and winery for Cycles Gladiator Wines.
  • Cycles Gladiator has been a Top 10 Value Brand 2 years in Wine Business Monthly (2006-2008)
  • Cycles Gladiator Wines have been awarded years of Gold Medals throughout the U.S and beyond.
  • Cycles Gladiator Wines have received years of great wine reviews and blog posts: Here (Rick Bakas), Here (Dr.Xeno/WineLog) and Here (Cork’d) among many.
  • Cycles Wine Supports Cyclists in the Sea Otter Classic, Tour of California and LiveStrong among others.
  • The Cycles wine label won an award: The 2006 from the American Graphic Design Award (by GDUSA, which is funny since it is a vintage piece of art from 1895, France).

wine shots 001

It has been centuries that cultures have waged argument and discord over what is art and what is porn.  How bizarre after the musical Hair (40 years ago), the Piss Christ (20 years ago), Robert Mappelthorpe (30-40 years established) and Madonna’s Sex (17 years ago) among a broad cannon of erotic and provocative art that we can not agree to disagree…yet still maintain our democratic values.  But censorship will continue to threaten freedon when politics, morals and religion is in question.  Meanwhile, men and women all over the U.S. are celebrating the freedom of Cycles Gladiator, the bicycle, the human body and a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s raise a glass…Cheers.

CG Metromint shot

Giant strides are very exciting.  In our industry, a slow, seasonally affected, growing, pressing and aging pace sometimes takes over and causes our progress to lag a bit behind faster moving industries (tech, TV, advertising…to name a few).  So when the wine industry makes a leap, it generates a wave impossible to ignore, exciting to watch, and exhilirating to participate in whenever you can.  This summer in particular, Social Media in Wine Marketing has taken that giant stride, nay leap forward opening up imagination, possibility and interactive wine marketing experiences new in the wine world.

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Contributing to the leaps forward upto and including the summer of 2009, credit must go to the Wine Bloggers Conference, Twitter Taste Live, The Open Wine Consortium, the Bloggers Tasting and Planting Forums to name a few; accessible, frequent, groundbreaking online interaction between wine lovers, wine bloggers and the wine industry building a critical mass, connecting technology with everyone and anyone with a passion or passing interest in wine.  Then there is the Murphy-Goode, Really Goode Job campaign.  Regardless of what you think about the job (temporary, contractually a quagmire, and possibly vague in its mission) or the campaign (missing some basic social media fundamentals, mysterious in its process, depersonalized), the gimick of the search has splash landed as one of the top 10 topics we wine bloggers talk about.  Some of my favorite Wine Bloggers were on the MG top 50 list (some are still on the top 10 list).  Add to that the VinTank promise to donate $100K in Social Media strategy consulting if Murphy-Goode selects one of the VinTank 4+ and the buzz has gone viral.

LesOpportunity abounds.  And I gotta say that the coolest crest of this wave in Social Media evolution this summer in our industry, in our little Wine Valley has to be St. Supery (and specifically, Lesley Russell’s work) choosing to search, strategize and carve out a position for a highly experienced full time Social Media director to fortify their marketing team. The shift to new media is now working from within the wineries, connecting with and hiring people from a food, wine and social media background. Smart?  Hell, yeah.  Without the gimmick but with a thorough sifting and months of their own experience, St. Supery jumps in the rest of the way.  Their resume of social media history from 2008-2009 includes Lesley Russell speaking on panels (including the ZAP/ Wine 2.0 Social Media Panel and the DTC Summit Panel, “Relationship, Relevance and Results”), Twitter Taste Live wine tasting, a Bloggers Tasting Forum, multiple-avid participants on twitter, real facebook fan page development, and a series called “The Divine Wine Encounter” for trade wine folks.

So we’re talking about St. Supery’s newest hire, Mr. Rick Bakas.  I can’t wait to see what happens now…And I couldn’t be

RBakasmore delighted for St. Supery, the Bakas family and for Napa Valley and the wine industry.  In their continuing leadership in social media marketing, I’m excited to watch them execute a thoroughly thoughtful strategy with great wine, talented people on their team and a tremendous growing network of real and virtual fans.  It also may mean that social media/wine lovers will have a winery to call home in the Napa Valley, a headquarters to start or finish their wine quests…and a place that gets the brilliance and social value of the technology that connects us.

As if we needed an excuse to raise our glass, these are exciting times.  Cheers!

Bloggers Planting Forum

3551197983_34e03c5214_bAn extraordinary Saturday in May in the Santa Lucia Highlands last weekend yielded one delicious afternoon.  With a dozen or so wine and food bloggers, Hahn Estates was the first winery to establish the Bloggers Block, a 1.5 acre plot of vines, planted in part by said bloggers, dedicated to the work, passion and appreciation of the complimentary relationship among these wine lovers.

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Andy Mitchell (Director Vineyard Operations) and Paul Clifton (adorable winemaker at Hahn Estates) and their vineyard team shepharded the noob farmers teaching them about this plot of land, the 720′ elevation in the Santa Lucia Highlands, the soil, the vines (828 Clone/Pinot Noir), the irrigation, the row orientation, etc.  All vines may be found on Google Earth where anyone can watch the growth of these baby pinot noir vines.  Check out the Google Earth flyover of the winery here.

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Essentially it was a day that social media wrought where friends and associates came together to dig in the dirt and laugh together while learning about the beginning, middle and end of wine production.  Not bad for just a few hours. After planting our vines, bloggers enjoyed a picnic lunch and wines made from the vineyards where their vines were planted.  The pinot noir in the Hahn SLH, among others were featured as the conversation covered everything from vineyard experimentation to your favorite twitter app for the i-phone.

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It is still hard to put words to the perfection of the day.  It sounds cloying, overblown and off the mark when I reach for the grand adjectives and expressions to summarize this day of planting and connection.  One most apt description of all of us is to say that we were like kids in a candy store…and there was a kind of rapt adventure and play about the day’s activities.  And still there was learning, out-reach and …well, you probably understand anyway.  You seem like a wine lover to me, so I’ll share more photos of the day and leave it at that.  I hope you’ll come to the next Bloggers Tasting Forum or host your own.

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And who wouldn’t love a romp thru the vines in an open air Yamaha 4-wheeler?

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You KNOW the Brix Chicks did!

Links to fellow blogger posts and attendees to follow soon.

Photos courtesy of Philip Woodrow, Hahn Family Wines Director of Marketing and Communications.

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