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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.”

BeNice

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?

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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.

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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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We (as in bloggers and whom ever wishes to join us), are hosting conversations.  Some of those topics include wine preferences, wine making practices, sustainability, sales & marketing, industry trends, Web 2.0 wine start-ups, …you get the idea.  The scope of topics and writers run far and wide. The blogs I’ve read are pretty clear who they are, what they are about and where they are coming from.  I appreciate transparency.  For example, I work for Hahn Family Wines as the New Media Marketing Director.  And this blog is NOT part of that purview.  Is there overlap, yes.  But ultimately, I say exactly what I think, believe and know to be true from my perspective to engage and have a conversation.  The purpose of this conversation is to connect bloggers, wineries and consumers in new, beneficial ways for all wine lovers.  (ok, fine, I live in my own little wine-soaked utopia, cheers.)

2daysperbottleI love this blog: 2 Days Per Bottle.  Just the wooden man, pics, review policy and music make me smile.  But my favorite is his recommendation for Thanksgiving wine: “ Step One- DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE AND STOP MAKING SUCH A BIG DEAL ABOUT IT!!! FOR PETE’S SAKE, IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!!”  Yup.  So you know when people start getting too serious about this stuff they either need to take a step back or find a good shag.  Honestly, it’s wine.

So what?  So I’m interested in bring new ideas, engaging experiments and thoughtful progress to the conversation.  Currently I think most of the printed establishment on wine is stilted, overly serious and pompous.  Let’s put it this way: Most Wine Bloggers are not press or journalists (let’s go with in the traditional sense).  Wine bloggers journal their OWN perspective.  There’s nothing objective about it.  Ok, some try to offer objectivity, but you’ll have to figure out what that means to each individual blogger, IF that’s important to you. Some have clearly defined policies or ethics guidelines.  Great, it is always valuable to know where people are coming from and what they’re about when you engage them in the conversation.  There are some great winery blogs as well.  So SOME bloggers are press/journalists from before the era of blogging.  Some bloggers consider themselves journalists online and adhere to the same ethics as traditional print/TV journalists, and some bloggers are “*other*” as 1WineDude says.

winesherpaSo my point is that there is no one point.  Bloggers, wine-bloggers are basically wineophile anarchist writers.  They have passion, brains, joie de vivre, and a direction if not a calling to talk to people about this passion via their blog, but they are not a homogenized bunch.  And they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to.  That independence is a beautiful thing.  Applause for the wild, forward thinking, experimental, wine loving population and all their drive to journal, blog and post about it.  They add value to the conversation, the wine world, and to wine consumers savvy enough to find their unique voices.

Not all of my ideas are great, but idea generating is essential.  I’m going out on a limb and agreeing with Seth Godin on this one.   Ideas=fuel for the conversation.  Glad to have you all part of it.  Particularly if you can add something.

Wooden Men image courtesy of 2 Days Per Bottle

Wine Sherpa image courtesy of The Winehiker: Russ Beebe

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I believe wineries and bloggers have a LOT to offer each other.  And together they have so much to offer consumers.  So I’m looking for all the ways wineries and bloggers are currently connected (if at all) and new and improved ways for them to evangelize the beautiful power of wine.  2984691767_d77379b462_m

There are bloggers who are paid to write for wineries.  Many wineries are savvy enough to reach out to bloggers and invite them for tastings or send them wine samples to review and blog about.  Some event producers are offering dramatically reduced rates for bloggers to participate;  sometimes it is the wineries’ sponsorships that afford that economic arrangement (think Wine Bloggers Conference or Wine 2.0 events).  And I’m just starting to hear about (and host) Bloggers Tasting Forums with wineries.

The Bloggers Tasting Forum is an opportunity for bloggers and wineries to sit down together, taste wines, get access to vineyard managers and winemakers and have conversation about, well, wine, the industry and the passions they share.  I’m hosting one such event in early December (DM/e-mail  me if you’d like to come and are a food or wine blogger) looking for opportunities to work together and add value to our wine experience and share that with (nay, convert others) who are interested in wine.wine_small_2

Other possibilities I see for wineries and bloggers to come together?  Host a guest blogger for a month: either pay them or the charity of their choice for them to write about your winery, winemaker, wine, vineyards, etc.  Events:  sponsor or offer scholarships to various wine tasting events to help bloggers get there.  Host a guest blogger to pour in your tasting room for a day.  Ok, this may be a strange one, but especially if there are winery tours available, what an amazing way for a blogger to learn and connect with the company/family and your consumers for a day.  Kind of like an exchange program. (no, you wouldn’t write for their blog 🙂  Include bloggers in focused research or think-tank like conversations about planning your year, events, marketing.  Again, maybe a stretch, but I think they offer expertise in areas we can lose sight of from inside the winery operations.  And they will know consumers better than almost anyone…because they are the wine industry’s BEST consumers.

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Wineries are already jumping in, but we’re at the beginning of the Wine/Web 2.0 Convergence.

What do you think?

How do you see wineries and bloggers working together for everyone’s benefit?


People Photos courtesy of Russ Beebe THE WineHiker

Wine photo from Google Images

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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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