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Posts Tagged ‘social networks’

I like the combination of Educational Sessions for the Wine Trade, paired with Trade and/or consumer tastings the way ZAP and Wine 2.0 programmed over the last few days.   These smaller opportunities to connect and learn from other successful wineries or wine businesses is both valuable for guiding and directing our business as well as helpful and refereshing for the obvious networking opportunities.

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Thanks to Smoke & Anitra Wallin, Abdi Humphries, and the rest of the Wine 2.0 company, I was honored to moderate a Social Media in  Marketing panel for ZAP.  Along side Joel Vincent (of Open Wine Consortium, Wine Bloggers Conference and now VinTank) and Lesley Russell (VP of Sales & Marketing DTC at St. Supery), we chatted with attendees, outlining social media practices, especially in the wine industry including visibility, ROI and authenticity online.

Two other sessions at ZAP/Wine 2.0 talked first about Compliance Issues with tools, strategies and solutions to address wine industry challenges.  The final session was led by Lesley Berglund presenting, frankly fascinating findings from a study Benchmarking Direct to Consumer/Wine Club practices.  The study  illuminated statistics outlining the best practices that the most successful wine club practitioners exercise.  It is this kind of analytical study, sharing and strategic collaboration that makes great consumer experiences wherever they happen.  Dry for most, perhaps, but I am pretty excited about conversations and learning more about new, improved and best practices across the wine industry.

And the best part?  After the focus and exchange on best practices, we all connect and share the fruits of all the labor.  Either way, isn’t that what it is all about?  I’ll be sharing the follow up information on the DTC Benchmarking Practices and Compliance links here as well when I receive them.

wineglassesWine 2.0 panel photo courtesy of Smoke Wallin.

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I’ve made some assumptions lately about this space: the blogosphere, the “internets” and social networks.  Those assumptions were that if you are here, you inherently “get” something about their value, their longevity and their impact on the paradigm shift that information, socializing and all media are currently going through right now.  I was wrong.  There are people in this space who are clearly confused, dabbling or deconstructing the value system we in this space are creating.

Social Media/Networks as applied to the wine industry have been my focus for nearly 18 months.  Essential facts and stats to base your pursuit of online presence for the wine industry (blogging, marketing or any other industry you enjoy) follow here:

There are over 200,000,000 blogs.  According to Time Magazine (Oct 13, 2007, yeah, that printed news source), social networking sites are officially more popular than porn sites.  And according to Brian Solis, Social Media “is only going to become more pervasive and as such become a critical factor in the success or failure of any business.” from The Social Media Manifesto.

Traditional Advertising and Media are enduring either a long slow death or an increasingly short, quick one.  They have been for awhile.  If you don’t already know this, you are stuck in the 20th century and haven’t been introduced to TiVo, PayPal, or facebook. Either way, traditional advertising is going the way of the dodo bird.  Whatever takes its place will be…different.

ascii-blogger-portraitsThe Blogosphere:  Blogs are becoming (and replacing) a significant portion, though not all, of our favorite printed materials including magazines, periodicals, tabloids, pamphlets, catalogs, fliers, books, letters, etc.  As such, they also have a similar range in scope, authorship, quality, purpose and audience.  Tom Wark offers an insightful statement about the status of blogging, “What once was legitimately considered a fringe endeavor should really be understood as mainstream today.”  Likewise, Steve Heimoff agrees: “But I do believe that WineDiverGirl is on to something when she says “wine bloggers are here to stay” and wineries need to engage them.”

Word of Mouth (aka WOM):  “‘Word-of-mouth’ the most powerful selling tool…78% of consumers say they trust the recommendation of other consumers.” – Nielsen, Trust in Advertising, 2007 Global Consumer Survey Report. Bloggers are part of the WOM chain online who like to talk about what they learn, what they like and what they love.

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. ” Bill Gates

Lenn Thompson offers a spark of insight here with “…just remember that every blogger blogs for a different reason. That’s their choice.” (from the comments section here.)  I don’t expect that there will be a guidebook of rules for (wine) bloggers, nor do I believe there needs to be.  The debate and conversation is healthy for our new and quickly growing industry.  And I am sure that bloggers who offer content of value (intellectual, entertainment, information or otherwise) will find readership if they choose.

I write this blog from my own independent perspective.  I currently work at a wine sales and marketing company.  I am not, however, paid or influenced in any way in regards to the content of this blog or to write this blog.  I like wine, beer, vodka and an occasional Pimm’s cup.  I am female, a mom, caucasian and have a whole slew of other influences from the Doors to Keith Olberman.  You can find out more about those influencecs here.

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As we watch and participate in the transformation  currently taking place in the wine industry, it is exciting to watch the doors open wide.  Wine in many places in the world has been a daily part of family meals for hundreds of years.  It’s very function is about bringing us together to share and nourish ourselves.   It’s function is inclusive.

But somewhere along the way wine became exclusive.  A language developed and surrounded the product. Wine became a symbol of status instead of a daily ritual of coming together.  No longer.  Wine evangelists like Brian Duncan (Bin 36, Chicago) changed the way we talk about wine, the way we approach wine and the way we think about wine.  Meanwhile Web 2.0 and social media brought user generated content, online communities and interaction to a new level.  People are connecting, sharing and building networks that change the way we live and interact both with our computers but also with each other.

Wine is about coming together and so is social media.  The wine industry, both trade and consumers are coming together to talk about everything wine related from the root stock to the (online) sales and beyond.  People are stepping up to help create the structural network by offering virtual and real space for these wine  networks including: The Open  Wine Consortium, Wine 2.0, The Wine Bloggers Conference, WineLog, Twitter  Taste Live, Inertia Beverage Group, Wine Library TV, and many bloggers contributing regularly to the conversation on wine.

The social media & networking format proliferated by the internet means that participation is open to anyone (as long as you can get to a computer and an internet service).  Exclusive is in the process of transforming into inclusive. The Two Buck Chuck phenomenon confirmed wine as a drink for everyman and the demographic for who is buying wine has become as varied and diverse as the thousands of wines available in the US alone.

The opportunity here is for both wine producers and consumers.  Access to so many wine lovers gives wineries an opportunity to engage in this community, add value and learn from them.  We also hope that means increasing the value of a wine consumers experience with wine, and what they want,  how they get it, and so on. For consumers it means a variety of avenues to enjoy, learn about and connect with wine and wine lovers. Whether for entertainment value, for social interaction, or education, consumers have a powerful network of, well, online networks to engage with, participate in, contribute to and enjoy the wine life.

If wineries are smart, they will figure out how to join this online wine community, add value to it and participate genuinely and frequently.   I hope they do.  Marketing is changing from the billboard, shouting format where the buyer is passive, to an interactive, connecting model where people and brands overlap and engage with producers.  And what a perfect marriage wine and social media will be.  Two inclusive elements that bring people together to connect and share.

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