Wineries & Social Media Part 1: David moves faster than Goliath … again.

29 09 2010

With harvest season under way in much of wine country, it seemed an appropriate time to check out the presence of the broader U.S. wine industry on various social networks and examine how social media is being used by various levels of the industry. Blogging, the backbone of any social media program, became a favored tool among wineries, wine critics and wine enthusiasts far before social networks became a powerful tool for reaching a brand’s community (we recently looked at the most influential wine bloggers attending the Wala Wala Conference). For this blog however, I set out to compare how large wineries & vineyards with substantial marketing budgets and brand recognition and small wineries & vineyards looking to establish a brand are utilizing social media beyond just the blogosphere. I stumbled across the Chandon Escape contest last spring, a highly marketed and polished contest driven by social media where entrants earned more chances to win by becoming a Fan of the Chandon Facebook page and each time they tweeted the contest hashtag. Having observed this event and being familiar with the vast marketing budgets that the country’s largest wineries are working with, I expected to see the top wine companies and their brands with highly developed social media strategies and a broad presence across the networks. I was wrong.

There are thousands of vineyards and wineries throughout the US ranging in size, distribution and personality, and their media usage is just as diverse. As I mentioned, I expected the brands from the largest wine companies to have highly polished social media pages with sophisticated campaigns. Instead, I found them largely absent from the social networks with the lower ¾ (in terms of production) of the wineries & vineyards dominating the social media sphere. Wine makers are also utilizing social media for more than just customer outreach and expanding their brand recognition. We’ll be doing a three-part series on wineries and social media, taking a look at how both large and small wineries are working with social media, as well as how social networks are for more than just reaching customers. Part 1:

With the exception of a few brands for example, namely producers of bubbly like Korbel and Chandon, the largest of the large wineries & vineyards have a very small social media presence. Using this list and these profiles, I identified the top wineries in the US. The largest companies like E&J Gallo, Constellation Wines, The Wine Group, Bronco Wine Company & Robert Mondavi produce many of the country’s most well known wine brands but have largely ignored social media as a tool to engage their communities. Most of the companies’ brands have either no social media presence at all or host Facebook pages on which they are minimally active. This is not so unusual. Indeed, in our experience, the larger the company, the less comfortable they are entering the social media sphere. Nevertheless, for products where there is widespread passion like the wine industry, we expected to see more social media use.

In contrast, other large wineries that rank at the lower end of the top US wineries lists are embracing social media and getting recognized for it. Rick Bakas and St. Supery are receiving widespread attention (from the New York Times to Reuters) for running a strong social media program that includes a blog, active Facebook page, one of the strongest Twitter programs for a winery and an virtual & interactive wine tasting program. Although lacking a key component of a social media program – a blog – Wente Vineyards also stands out for their Facebook and Twitter activities. Many other wineries of this size can be found with an active social media program including (but not at all limited to) Dry Creek Vineyard, Murphy-Goode Winery, and J. Lohr. Aside from St. Supery and Wente, these larger wineries using social media are finding general success with the platforms by posting and engaging their Facebook & Twitter communities on a regular basis and hosting a blog (albeit the blogs are often under-utilized) but there is much room for improvement in expanding brand recognition, reaching new customers and utilizing the true networking powers of the social networking platforms.

So far, a very mixed bag for the largest US wineries in terms of their social media use. Some are knocking it out of the ballpark; some haven’t even heard the train coming. What are your thoughts on why the largest wineries are largely ignoring social media? Which large wineries have you seen doing great stuff with social media?

Stay tuned for Part 2!

With thanks to Big D2112, dr_XeNo and quinn.anya for the photos.

Katie

_____________________

Kick off or take your PR 2.0 program to the next level. Contact us here.

Advertisements




Where is our industry going? #SocialMedia

13 07 2010

When Michael Fruchter left for Pierson Grant in mid 09′, I thought “wow…. great opportunity good for him.” When a bit later late 09′, Wayne Sutton joined Twine Interactive (and may have left since), I started to think that things where changing and thought I’d better write a blog about this. I didn’t. Now Valeria Maltoni is moving to Powered and I’m thinking “geez, we’re morphing.” But into what? Remember the golden goose who laid the golden eggs? Are they migrating? Or is our industry slowly dying as companies ‘buy up’ the golden geese for the golden eggs?

In 3 years, our own practice Extanz, has evolved tremendously based on a core principle of the Higher Purpose (Got A Higher Purpose?, Trust 2.0 … Get Used To It, Twitter did it again, it’s about the people). Our industry has come to value ROI way more than it used to. At the heart of it, a culture of control has taken over. Companies had never encountered such a powerful force from such a small part of their customer base. They were used to sending one message, making one thing. Build it and of course, the people will come. But then the people started talking amongst themselves. Started dreaming, writing, building things themselves. They unleashed their own creativity and collectivity. Suddenly, we have a conversation being demanded. The market expect conversational brands. Agencies, once the meaning makers, now seek conversational expertise. They sense the talkative ones and just like the old days, the seek to control them. If you can just get hold of the speaker……then everyone will listen right?

Or will they?

And in the meantime, what of their conversational partners. What of the nature of conversation? What of the higher purpose of social media? Are we just media now?

@YannR @Extanz





Twitter did it again, it’s about the people

16 01 2009

 

Yesterday was again a day for the people, powered by twitter – Ok they are now looking at making money (and should), I just hope they’ll stay true to the people… actually if they don’t, the conversational bees (us) will swarm to the next thing.

Back to the airplane, @jkrums  was on the ferry crossing the Hudson River when the US Airways plane crashed.  He simply took a picture and published it via twitter (twitpic). This picture has now gone around the world and was viewed 250,000 time (here) at time of blogging.  Everyone was safe which is just amazing… 

Two weeks ago, another airplane caught on fire at DIA Denver airport, same story – Way before anyone had time to know, Twitter was at work again. The minute a passenger was able to twitt about it, we all knew about it and 2 hours before any one else. You can still follow what’s going by just clicking here  .  The thread is now informing you about any later events.

Last week for example,  a fire broke out in Boulder (middle of winter),11,000 people were evacuated – guess who was first with the news? Twitter of course. 

This happens every day and every where, the scale just varies.  If it is newsworthy, people talk to each other and spread the word…

What does it mean now for your business? Entering twitter or the social media space has to be about the people. It’s not about you and how cool you are. It’s about your HIGHER PURPOSE as an entity or a brand. No, you won’t have such worthy news up your sleeve every day but every one of your constituents has a worthy life. Engaging them is a good first step.  By empowering your constituents, you will bring the higher purpose home. If I write this blog, I empower you to understand why social media is the right avenue for modern communication.  

Did I sell you anything? Nope.  Did I inform you? I hope.

One more thing I suggest: put the ‘newspaper’ inside your brand. Noone can stop you talking about the industry as a whole… and the people who buy from that industry. Magazines do it, why can’t you? Blogging, Twittering, Vlogging, Podcasting… all at our finger tips… and way, way, cheaper than putting a $60,000 ad in Outside Mag whose sighting is very hard to even track 😦

You can improve it if you can measure it! 

Cheers

@YannR

& thanks spunkinatoror  and KLuwak for the the great pictures





Got A Higher Purpose?

16 11 2008

I never thought I’d write as I do now, in this case,  in a blog. My work has revolved a lot around marketing and business development for hi-tech, software, internet startups and social media for  3 years now. Good things can happen. How do you feel about blogging, tweeting, writing your self and putting your status out there, or even Brightkite – ing yourself?

Yes, a huggggge shift has happened since the birth of RSS 2.0 in 2002. There are 250 million blogs out there, don’t tell me you still feel like it may be a waste of time? Your blog is the door step of your company. Welcome them, connect with your customers and industry. So how often should you blog? hmm well, how often do you like visitors? Do it often, be interesting…

I have heard countless times:

  • What is our business going to blog about? Is that worth the time?
  • Are you doing the narcissist thing?
  • Gee… what if somebody say something bad about us?

Do you ask yourself the same question when reading a good book? Probably not. Does the writer? Probably not. So what’s the difference? We’re all here to learn and feed our brains with good stuff. Are we nourished by the traditional corporate newsletter? Hmm, not really. By press releases?  Hmm, not really.  So why do you keep doing them?

We’re searching for the good stuff – Isn’t that what blogging should be about? Micro-blogging aka Twitter … is in the same boat. SO, here is the deal, your business is in an industry – You own the creation of content to customers, prospects, competitors, partners… You own the distribution, no more traditional media. But here’s the key…you need to position yourself as a thought leader and always blog about the higher purpose of your brand. The more you do it, the more your brand will be seen as a leader vs just a player.

It’s hard to do. I’ll give you that. Blogging about a higher purpose is not easy but when you open a book you expect that level of content and connection. What’s stopping your company (I would recommend external bloggers, us :)) from generating the same level of content you read in newspaper? Nothing. Your brand can create journalistic content and you can do it now.

Blogging about your brands’ higher purpose will engage and envelope customers in your brand. You will do well.

“Hey, what’s your higher purpose Yann”? I’ll speak for Extanz. We’re here to share our journey through social media. We take our clients and you through that journey and hope to share and shape forward thinking ideas, people, enterprises and action. We’re here to be extraordinary with you.

Cheers!

Yann

Thanks Laughing Squid and SteveGarfield for your cool pics.





I read your twit, therefore I [and you] exist.

8 10 2008

Earlier this year, we wrote about whether to twit or not to twit and what that decision meant. As Twitter and the whole concept of nano 🙂 blogging has started to take off, more questions have been raised about the particular ‘social media order’ to which all these kinds of activities, like blogging, vlogging,  twitting etc belong.

TweetDeck helps you manage your tweet stream

TweetDeck helps you manage your twitter streams

An acquaintance passed comment to us recently that ‘blogging is the mothership’. This is indeed, an interesting way of putting it. In our own practice, often we use twits to connect others to a larger blog post (cos let’s face it, 140 characters does not provide much of a summary!). In this respect, we can think that Twitter is to blogging what a headline is to a newspaper article or what a title is to an essay. The twit, as it were, acts as an attention getter, an opening statement, an entree to another conversation.

But twitting is also an indicator of passionate users, an indicator of how connected and committed they are to different topics, communities, groups and others. Yann was at a marketing dinner lately and people were making comments about twitter like “I signed up for twitter and nothing happened. Then in the space of 3-4 hours, multiple people were following me arrgghhhhh!!” But this is the beauty of Twitter. In the real world, we exchange business cards to start a business relationship. Twitter does the same by following people. Someone follows you, you follow them back. It’s built on reciprocity. There’s nothing creepy about it. Ok, well maybe something a little creepy… Or should we say creeping…..it’s about rankings, people…

For example, Yann (not that he can vote) recently started following Barack Obama (just for kicks) and he followed right back! Barack Obama has 92,000 people following him and he follows 96,000 people. You just can’t do that with a blog where it is less fluid. Now, here is the gravy, on the first page of google organic when you search for Barack Obama, the 6th ranked URL link is Twitter, above CNN and everything else. The first and second are his own sites, the 3rd is Wikipedia, the 4th is ggoogle news, 5th is his .gov official senator site and then Reuters and then Twitter.  Get it?! Twits matter in the eyes of Google! The social media sphere is increasingly more important than traditional media. Note to self. Our friend Steve Outing recently had a quick post on the same subject.  So perhaps those analogies between twits, blogs, headlines and newspapers are not doing us justice after all…..

Finally, information is coming of age – Twitter, micro-blogging, blogging, and social media is giving

total power to the reader. I read your twit, therefore I [& you] exist. Brand managers, this should matter to you. If not, your competition will reach out to your customer and their digital footprint will be larger and faster than yours. You have a chance to own the distribution of the message, if you take it.

Next up….coming to a blog (and several twits too) near you – digital footprints (or is that feetprint) and the social graph (the mighty XFN)……

Thanks Vu Bui for the cool pic!

Kirsti





Social Media Marketing: The Basics

11 09 2008

Social Media Marketing… it doesn’t bite …really… it’s as respectful as you are… now rock on!

But before you start out, here are some basic ideas:

Content is KING: the best content in your industry is worth gold.
Numbers count: everyone understands that the more connected you are, the more relevant you are.
Distribution: you OWN distribution of your content, there is no barrier between readers/prospects and your company – There is no editor in chief privileging your competitor story.
It’s about being Human: We are gregarious by DNA. We like social contact and we’d rather buy stuff cos our friends told so and it is fixin’ our basic and not so basic needs.
‘It’s business, (stupid)’: If you doubt it, just look at the valuation of those puppies…. The so called Social Graph will soon have more power than any other sales force.
Authenticity rules: Be true to your brand and your customer or you’ll go to hell.

The Basics

The Basics by http://www.Extanz.com

If you want to experiment yourself, you need a blog.  No blog – you don’t exist, seriously.

Now meet the mighty graph which explains the basics of what I call an RSS Architecture….. if you like it, say so, bookmark it (funky button at the bottom of that blog). If you don’t, tell me how you would modify it.  Now we’re being social!

So what are the basic steps?
– Connect your customer-friend-ecosystem to your company brand online.
– Feed them / publish excellent content that will make them happy to have read or seen you (youtube,flickr…).
– Allow for 2 way conversation with them and respond (to what matters, not everything).

Oh YEAH! This is applicable to the following:

– A brand
– A business — small or large (larger can’t move very fast so they struggle a bit with that)
– A [true] customer centric company
– A product launch
– A message as part of your overall marketing strategy
– An individual (brand)
– Selling a house
– A political campaign 🙂
– A non profit fundraising endeavor
– A product development team

….and too many others to list…..

It is NOT applicable to:
– Spammers
– Arrogant brands
– People afraid to lose control of the message (you’re lost anyway).

Now stop thinking that Social Networking is just for kiddos who are bored…. it’s you, me and everyone else thinking stuff, buying stuff, reading stuff.

TOGETHER WE RISE. 🙂

Yann

If you like it click on the ‘add this’ button below (you’ll need a account at Stumbleupon, Digg or Delicious – this is just another marketing tactic you need to do)

Bookmark and Share