I am #Organic #Vegan #DryJanuary


(This post was written by Guillaume Jourdan. Contact him via LinkedIn)

As I took a mouthful of Prunes in Armagnac, I wondered to myself: am I starting 2020 off right? Because although these prunes were certainly #Organic and #Vegan, were they compatible with #DryJanuary? Whether we like it or not, 2020 will be remembered as the year that the concept of #DryJanuary took off in France. And although it has not been introduced by the French Government (it seems that President Macron was against the idea), brands and organizations have successfully managed to embed it in our collective consciousness. For there is a reality that we have to face up to… brands have become better at getting their messages across than governments. They are now the ones taking a stance on the important issues of the day, a role previously assumed by institutions, and are putting serious money into it. With massive recourse to marketing plans and communication, these businesses can now alter the accepted order of things.

So the #DryJanuary movement wasn’t promoted by the French Government? So what? It will be promoted by brands. And some of them don’t hesitate to turn it to their own advantage, like Coca Cola who launched a vast poster campaign to promote a different kind of “Aperitif Time” with its range of sodas. The effect is undeniable… we’ve never had so much coverage of #DryJanuary in France, the papers are full of articles on the subject. And it’s all to these brands’ advantage, since consumers prefer brands that defend values. Today, brands that speak directly to the public are well advised to send a strong signal of support for values by taking a stance on social, cultural, environmental and even political issues. Over and above its offer, a brand’s success also depends on its social relevance and its opinions… in this case commitment to #DryJanuary, better health for everyone. According to Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse Research “From Me to We – The Rise of the Purpose-led Brand”, in France, 56% of those questioned want to see brands stand up for societal issues they believe in. 60% find those that actively communicate about their commitment more attractive. And 66% state that their buying decisions are influenced by the values and the actions of a company’s executives.

Brand engagement is therefore a profound and purposeful phenomenon of our times. In its “Observatory of the city’s brands”, Havas Paris, in partnership with the CSA Institute, highlights that 60% of French people think that companies have a more important role to play today than governments in fashioning a better world. Frustrated or disappointed with traditional politics, they rely on their own judgement, turning also to the business world to replace and make up for the perceived shortcomings of the powers that be. It’s a real challenge for VITABELLA in terms of consultancy and creation for the clients that we advise in their brand strategy. But standing up for societal issues that were previously the preserve of institutions requires considerable financial resources, and no wine brand is powerful enough today to impose this kind of message. Should the wine world therefore continue to endure this situation? No, the future needs marketing and communication to build brands that are stronger and more competitive by 1) giving purpose to the brand by taking a more militant stance 2) differentiating itself in the market 3) demonstrating an opinion, and finally 4) standing up for specific societal issues. I’m well aware that the term ‘Brand’ is still frowned upon in the world of wine in Europe, but it is only through this perspective that wine will one day be able to claim full legitimacy to speak out and rise up, if it so wishes, against a #DryJanuary movement which will only gain momentum in the coming years.

I wish you all a happy, prosperous and militant New Year 2020!

(This post was written by Guillaume Jourdan. Contact him via LinkedIn)

* Dry January first appeared in the English-speaking world and is defined on its website as “a worldwide movement through which millions of people give up alcohol for the month of January. It is a challenge launched by the charity Alcohol Change UK in Great Britain. “