Asking oneself what has to be done to increase the demand and sale of quality wine is rather like asking oneself what you have to do to be happy.
We all want to be happy, we believe that what we do will make us happy, we know that it is possible because some have achieved it and we know there is no magic formula but that it is rather the result of a combination of internal and external factors. Although if we are not happy for a long time we will have to recognise that we are doing something wrong.
The same thing happens with wine. A series of internal factors of the producers and external factors of the environment will determine the future consumption tendencies. But today something unique and historic is happening among the internal factors: never before has there been such good wine in such large amounts and so well distributed (nationally), so well presented and wines with such acceptable value for money. So what external factors are preventing consumption from increasing more? What would the sector or the administration have to do to achieve this? And, something which is fundamental for me, how should the wine be positioned in order to increase its consumption?
The answer to these questions is the reason why some sector group or the administration set up a competition for ideas or an advertising campaign. For the moment, I will give my solution and I hope that if my view seems right to you, you do not fall in the syndrome of “the given ideas are not valued”.
I consider the solution to this problem first of all within the framework of strategic marketing and not only on the level of advertising; therefore, as a reflection on the market segment in which work should preferentially be done and what positioning we believe we have to achieve in this segment to make people more prepared to consume wine. This positioning will reflect a single value put forward as an advertising promise in time and on all publicity supports and creativities. Therefore we must get it right as the consumption of quality wine in Spain has been falling for too long, even since before the crisis.
As the question is to increase consumption, we should first address all consumers – this would exclude those who do not like wine and those who cannot drink it for reasons of health. However, I believe that we particularly have to aim at young people and young couples to make moderate wine consumption form part of their daily habits as soon as possible.
I don’t know if you would agree with me that we are not making it at all easy for these young people. I would divide wine consumers into two large groups: “the community of the knowledgeable” and “those who haven’t got a clue”. Both groups naturally want to enjoy a good wine, but the first know about brands, about years, wineries, denominations, prices, etc., and the second, if they are clever and humble, will ask for a good wine that is not expensive, but if they do not want to show that they haven’t a clue or do not want to complicate their existence before such a range of brands, denominations of origin, varieties, prices, origins, etc. they will ask for a beer.
What I mean is that if we want to create a consumer wine culture amongst the young, we have to make it easy. Exclusive is the opposite of massive and I believe that the intention is to achieve mass consumption.
My first conclusion is that young people have to be offered good wines that are not expensive, and there are lots of these. We have to encourage them to ask for “a good wine that is not expensive” as a sign of intelligence and not give them a complex because they are not professors in the subject. This does not exclude promotion amongst those, who will never be a majority, who wish all of the marvellous knowledge of the world of wine.
The positioning is something that is achieved, that occurs in the minds of our target in time. It is the image they have of our product in comparison with other alternatives in a certain environment.
All products or brands that have been on the market for some time and have a certain notoriety already enjoy a position in the minds of consumers. This image will be motivating, indifferent or dissuasive. They must have a more updated and complete study of the image that young people have of wine, of the values they associate with it and in what environment. On the basis of this information, we would know the current position and we could conclude whether or not it is of interest to strengthen or change it. I can guess from the facts and the hypothesis I am going to consider is that it has to be changed and repositioned. Given the amount of good wine that is not expensive that we have available to us, its consumption should increase much more, but doesn’t.
So what positioning do I choose? What is available to us to make our young target think? And therefore, what message do I have to give for them to show more interest in wine?
After analysing the SWOT of wine, I choose to act on a motivation based on which I will propose the positioning, and on eliminating a brake.
The brake to be eliminated is that young people believe that it is not healthy when, consumed with moderation, it is good for health as many scientific studies show. But to make this healthy aspect the battle horse of our advertising seems to me to be a big mistake for two reasons: one is that it is generally very risky, and still more so because we are talking about wine, to consider our position in the environment of health, for legislation is very strict in this area; and secondly, I do not believe that the greatest motivation for increasing consumption lies in this attribute.
In order to define my positioning proposal, first I am going to define the environment and then I will choose a value that makes wine (in this environment) the best choice.
With respect to the environment there is something that is so obvious it mustn’t go unnoticed: wine is mainly consumed with a meal. We therefore have two large areas of consumption, at home and outside. As we usually have dinner and some people have lunch more at home than outside, this must be the environment where we try to increase consumption, and this means supermarket purchases, another clue.
With respect to the chosen attribute, I think that we are faced by an other obvious fact that can be experienced, which is that when we are going to have lunch or dinner and the meal is placed before us, if we are hungry and we know we are going to like the meal, all of our senses concentrate on enjoyment. This is one of the few times of the day left for us to enjoy. Even if we are on a diet we will eat less and more healthily, but something that we fancy, that we do not dislike, for lunch and dinner are times for sharing and enjoyment.
My strategic proposal to truly increase the consumption of quality wine is that young people should be motivated to:
- Drink a little good wine every day and not just at the weekend.
- Have some at lunch and above all at dinner at home.
- Based on the attribute (advertising promise) that with a little wine with lunch or dinner dishes become much more enjoyable and the moment is more rewarding, and also that it is good for one’s health. This “mass” strategic approach requires us to make it easy, and with the more than 40,000 brands there are in Spain, we do not exactly do this. There are too many and it is difficult to know which to choose even if you know the kind of wine you like. The ideal thing would be that people could find the wine they want easily even though they do not know the brand, and this is not something that happens. Along this way, I recently proposed a new idea to our DOC Rioja customer.
I would therefore position wine in the environment of the home and among the young and not so young, people who know how to live and enjoy life at all times and in all places, and above all at dinner, as “the prize for the warrior” after a hard day. A positioning more in lifestyle and emotion than of the product.
And to finish, what I would never do would be to try to copy or compete with beer in aspects related to communication, but to create a place for wine with its differential values.