Vineyard & Winery Management

January - February 2012

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MANAGEMENT UNCORKING PR Are You Ready iven that this issue of Vineyard & Winery Management focus- es on trade shows, I thought it might be a good idea to review how wineries and exhibitors can take a logical, pragmatic and cost-effective approach to trade shows and industry events. As usual, I suggest that we start with the four basics of any public relations or marketing campaign. The first three are straightforward: What's your message, who is your audience, and how are you going to deliver that message to that audi- ence? The last one is also quite basic: What do we want the audi- ence to do? And I add one more question: Are you sure that this is the best, and most cost-effective, way to achieve that goal? Because when it comes to trade shows and wine festivals, most wineries hate asking that question. That's why I ask it. PAUL WAGNER For Showtime? How to get the most out of trade shows and festivals SOLIDIFY YOUR MESSAGE Every winery has a story, yet most of them are not very interest- ing. "We are a small family winery that carefully selects its vineyards and handcrafts its wines. And we've won some awards and posi- tive reviews." Yawn. If you can't explain what makes your company different, and do it in fewer than 10 words, you are sim- ply not doing your job. Yet we see so many wineries that fail this ini- tial test, and then still plug on as if nobody is going to notice. My solu- tion? Start with a meeting of the marketing team and ask the mem- bers to write down, without talking to anyone else, what the key mar- keting message is of the company, in 10 words or less. If everyone is on the same page, then move to step 2. But nobody will be on the same Paul Wagner formed Balzac Communica- tions & Marketing and is an instructor for Napa Valley College's Viticulture and Enol- ogy Department. SHORT COURSE Before attending a trade show or festival, define your message, audience, method of delivery and expected results. Be proactive in meeting attendees at your booth and on the floor. Attend seminars and workshops to learn more about your audi- ence. Participate in a workshop and/or become a sponsor. After the show, follow up with contacts made to keep relation- ships alive. page. So before you do anything else, lock the doors and keep them locked until everyone is in agreement about your message. It should be simple, direct and clear. Most importantly, it should explain how you are different from your competitors. This is not negotiable. Every day you spend promoting the business without this message is not only a day lost, it's a day spent moving in the wrong direction. WHO'S LISTENING? The next step is much easier: Photo: Thinkstock/Digital Vision WWW.VWM-ONLINE.COM Determine who the audience is. For any trade show or wine festi- val, the organizers can give you a very good analysis of who is going to be there and how they fit into the world of wine. I like creating a basic spreadsheet that provides JAN - FEB 2012 VINEYARD & WINERY MANAGEMENT 17

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