(This post “Pleased and proud!” was written by Guillaume Jourdan*)
Having worked with Maison M. Chapoutier for a number of years, we are today particularly pleased and proud to see this great name in wine at the head of the French wine brands that are the most respected in the world. Competition is tough at the top. And if this ranking, drawn up according to a survey of international professionals (including Masters of Wine), shows that Australia, Spain, the USA and Chile are at the highest level, France is also up there with the best of them. To get there, a clearly defined and appropriate Communication and Marketing strategy is indispensable, as is the use of effective techniques to build a strong long-term brand image.
In its editorial, the magazine Drinks International makes it quite clear: “Brand identity is vital in the wine industry. It ensures coherence, it reassures and creates differentiation for consumers.” Sebastian Aguirre (Premium wines marketing director of Casillero del Diablo) explains, “Since wine is a more fragmented category, it is fundamental for us to differentiate ourselves from the rest. We have achieved this differentiation by using and developing different marketing and communications tools over the years.” Communication and Marketing are therefore essential to the success of an international brand. Sylvie Levesque (Global Marketing Director of Penfolds) adds, “We need to keep the story new and fresh, adding another chapter here and there but never forgetting where the brand came from.”
So why am I focusing on a French brand when this list shows other names in wine that we have advised? Simply to show that what we often hear in France (“France can’t compete at entry-level because of the numerous restrictions and the high production costs involved“) does not prevent a wine brand like M. Chapoutier from succeeding worldwide. What does this ranking really prove? It proves that to achieve world renown today a major wine brand needs to be present at all price points, not just in the premium and luxury segments. This is the famous crosscutting concept that Michel Chapoutier holds so dear. The 100 points from Parker are no longer sufficient to turn you into a great name in wine, particularly with a panel of experts judging you. Over and above recognition, it is necessary to make good wine at all price levels and to have an appropriate Communication and Marketing strategy to face up to the stiff competition from other brands in the wine industry. When you play in the Champion’s League (an international Champion’s League in this case, not just a European one), you can expect to have as competitors some big teams that have clearly – and cleverly – defined their brand universe.
Today tactical skill as well as strategy is called for. That’s the challenge facing the big wine brands if they are to achieve future success on the international Marketing and Communication playing field. And to do that brands need to permanently evolve or they will risk a gradual decline. Why? Because time wears out a brand’s signs, words, symbols and signifiers. With time, perceived difference disappears faster than emotional ties. The bond endures, even if the brand no longer holds the monopoly on performance for us. But a drop in differentiation signals the beginning of the end, no matter how high the scores. That’s why, since 2004, the baseline of VitaBella Luxury Wine has never changed: “Taking Wine Estates to the Next Level”. Brands that want to play in the international Champion’s League in the next few years will more than ever need strategic advice in Communication & Marketing to help them excel and reach ever greater heights. In reality, team spirit has never been as important as it is today.
Read the Full report “World’s Most Admired Wine Brands for 2016”
(*Since 2003, Guillaume Jourdan has been advising more than 200 prestigious wine estates for their international marketing & communication strategy incl. Chapoutier, Hugel, Dr Loosen, Famille Perrin, Cos d’Estournel, Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie’s Miraval…Write to firstname.lastname@example.org)