Posts tagged "shopper insight"

Wine and food marriage

Wine and Food – a marketing power couple

September 14th, 2017 Posted by brand marketing, consumer behavior, Culinary inspiration, Food and wine, food experiences, storytelling 0 comments on “Wine and Food – a marketing power couple”

Consumer-centric strategy wins every time…

Wine is a unique business characterized by literally thousands of competing brands all packaged and presented similarly. Where marketing is often built around vineyard and winemaker stories, sprinkled with a dose of influencer reviews from a narrow cadre of respected bloggers, writers and wine-centric publishers. Unlike the beer world where some larger brands can afford to spend heavily on consumer pull, for the most part, wine is a trade push story built around trial in on-premise channels while courting volume sales in the off-premise (liquor stores, supermarkets and specialty).

Brand awareness and equity is just a completely different conversation in the wine category. Here, consumer reviews and experience are likely to be crucial to fueling word-of-mouth. In the super-premium end of the category, mainstream marketing tactics can often hurt more than help by diluting the perception of “discovery,” uniqueness and artistry.

That said the wine business is also rich in storytelling material around terroir, viticulture and oenology. Yet despite the differences in such distinctions as soil condition, microclimates and the styles of winemaking, a pervasive “sameness” exists in the presentation of brands at retail.

In the end, wine leans into a very self-reverential form of communication. We have a saying here at Emergent: the brand that gets closest to the consumer wins. If you work backwards from that premise with wine, it doesn’t take long to see the storytelling value of drawing upon consumer experience and context with these brands.

Most often, that setting is about the marriage of wine and food.

Early in my agency career, I had the honor and privilege of representing Chateau Ste. Michelle winery at the time, a boutique vintner of premium wines in what was an emerging industry in Washington State.

Baptism by wine…

For a home chef like me, working with Chateau Ste. Michelle winery was a dream assignment – an opportunity for an immersive education about wine making from the masters of this unique artisanal industry. Initially, our focus was on telling the Washington Wine Story. The wine-growing region of Washington State roughly parallels the latitude of the winemaking areas in Bordeaux, France – so we worked to draw similarities in climate and soil conditions that would favor the creation of exceptional wines, especially their Cabernet Sauvignon.

It was a form of flag wave in a business preoccupied with Napa Valley notoriety.

Then something extraordinary happened that provided a real-world lesson in consumer relevance driving business outcomes.

Ste. Michelle’s owner, the U.S. Tobacco Company, decided to grace its small winery operation with a unique and unexpected parent-company “gift.” Ste. Michelle was to become one of nine title sponsors of the Statue of Liberty Restoration, an enormous public/private partnership enlisting some of the world’s largest corporations as primary contributors.

The question came in from the management team at Ste. Michelle, what are we to do with the Statue of Liberty Restoration sponsorship among all of these Fortune 100 companies? These are organizations with deep pockets to spend leveraging the connection! How would this be made viable for the wine business? Was there any path that would net a benefit to the winery and come at an affordable cost?

The outcome of a considerable team planning effort was a unique and innovative idea to produce a cookbook based on the immigrant experience and the cuisines they brought to this country from other lands. Wine and food is already married. A culinary approach would be consistent with the brand’s imagery and resonate with the consumer’s experience.

We started to build on the concept – the cookbook could be made available free for a donation to the Statue of Liberty fund. It could be purposed as a store level promotional incentive for wine buyers to take the brand, along with displays promoting the book offer. We could use the book launch as an innovative platform for media outreach.

Chateau Ste. Michelle – “Tastes of Liberty”

To this day, I am still struck by the courage and tenacity of Ste. Michelle’s management team led by then president Allen Shoup and chief winemaker, Bob Betz. The cookbook was to be done first-class in keeping with Ste. Michelle’s premium image – so a commitment was made to coffee table quality. The risks were palpable given the book would be offered free for a $25 donation to the Restoration Fund.

“Tastes of Liberty” literally swam in gorgeous, emotion-generating food photography and began with a very human anthology of the immigrant experience at Ellis Island. While wine pairings were present, every effort was made to assure the book would not be just a brand advertisement. It was to be editorial and faithful to culinary inspiration from cover to cover.

Wine buyers loved the unique idea and execution. They were astounded at the value of the ‘free-with-donation’ offer. Equally so, editorial media were awestruck at the quality of the recipes and the way it was presented. One magazine did a six-page, center-spread story on it. It was a successful venture in many ways and the risks Ste. Michelle took were amply rewarded as the brand secured national distribution.

While a case study example of integrated execution, the light bulb moment here is wine and food’s relevance to people and to their experience with the product. Culinary wasn’t in the background, it was a primary agenda with great care taken to assure the taste experiences matched well with characteristics of each varietal.

Yet today, so many wine brands only nod to food with a recipe tab at their web site. Going deep into culinary unleashes the magic of what happens when consumer experience and brand are aligned.

Yes you can (and should) talk about your soil, your French oak barreling, but taste done within the marriage of wine and food elevates this experience to the dinner table. And to a place consumers respect and recognize emotionally.

In the end, “Tastes of Liberty” was a storybook effort by a team of collaborating players on both agency and client sides. And evidence, once again, of what can happen when imagination, consumer insight and strategy coalesce.

Looking for more food for thought? Subscribe to our blog.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, the healthy living agency. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies.  Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact Bob@Emergent-Comm.com and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

 

Elevated food experiences

Emergence of The New Wholesome Life

September 11th, 2017 Posted by brand marketing, Brand preference, consumer behavior, Culinary inspiration, Food service, Food Trend, Healthy Living, Retail brand building, Transformation 0 comments on “Emergence of The New Wholesome Life”

Food consumption is going home.

The latest consumer survey report from Benenson Strategy Group (BSG) nailed the shift we’ve seen emerge recently: Seventy-seven percent of consumers “almost always” prefer a home-cooked meal rather than a restaurant option. According to the survey, twice as many consumers routinely eat home cooked rather than restaurant food.

It’s a significant change to be sure. We’ve watched the annual creep of food service spending for years as home food consumption lost ground. Consumers seemed content to abandon the kitchen in favor of outsourced meals. All those pots and pans sitting in the cabinet gathering dust as people often favored ‘do it for me’ —especially in the growing fast casual sector.

Well, not anymore.

A kitchen renaissance is in full swing as mealtime moves home and consumers increasingly look for food preparation ideas and menus they can do themselves. From scratch cooking to meal kits and supermarket prepared foods, it’s a mélange of everything. From full-on culinary exploration to time-sensitive partial prep solutions featuring fresh, often farm sourced meal kit menus — all are unfolding in the home kitchen.

So what happened?

We call it emergence of The Wholesome Life — an overwhelming desire for control and authorship over higher quality food experiences. At the crux of this change is a realization that consumers care deeply about managing freshness, ingredient decisions and using foods they believe are simple, clean and less processed.

Consumers, by the way, defined clean eating in the study as:

  • Free from pesticides – 63%
  • Free from added hormones – 49%
  • Food that is all natural – 47%
  • With no added sugars – 38%

Food Navigator’s coverage of BSG’s study outcomes described this in cultural terms as “a desire to eat fresh, wholesome and ingredients they (consumers) can both pronounce and customize to fit their unique dietary needs.” BSG Partner and survey author Danny Franklin reports a rapid climb in interest for “greater control, greater transparency and a greater perception of authenticity.”

Also at work here: realizing and preserving the emotionally-satisfying experiences of serving loved ones and maintaining (and honoring) family time. Right along side the relationship-burnishing benefits runs the passion for a healthier lifestyle, aided to a great extent by higher quality, real food options now prepared at home.

Home is indeed where the heart (and palate) is…

This shift home offers an extraordinary opportunity for food brands and retailers to build more meaningful and relevant relationships with consumers. Whether the motivation is better-for-you eating, satisfying a creative passion to experiment with new cuisines, or facilitate social experiences with friends and family, brands and retailers can become partners and enablers on this journey by offering useful, helpful guidance on:

  • Menus
  • Healthier preparations
  • Snacking ideas
  • Shopping lists
  • Cooking techniques
  • Kitchen hacks
  • Kitchen tool advice
  • Flavor enhancements
  • Special occasion planning
  • Global cuisines
  • Food and beverage pairings

There’s virtually an endless array of opportunities to help feed this preference and behavior, and in so doing, brands can earn a place at the table alongside consumers and their passions around food.

Especially exciting, we think, is the chance to build video content that satisfies the need to know more — served with a big helping of emotional impact because food is such a visual feast. You can almost taste it, right?

So, when are you coming over for dinner?­­­­

Looking for more food for thought? Subscribe to our blog.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, the healthy living agency. Emergent provides integrated brand strategy, communications and insight solutions to national food, beverage, home and lifestyle companies.  Emergent’s unique and proprietary transformation and growth focus helps organizations navigate, engage and leverage consumers’ desire for higher quality, healthier product or service experiences that mirror their desire for higher quality lifestyles. For more information, contact Bob@Emergent-Comm.com and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

 

 

 

 

Part 1: The Foodie-ization of America

October 19th, 2015 Posted by food experiences, Food Trend, Healthier habits, Healthy Living, Insight, shopper behavior, shopper experience, Uncategorized 0 comments on “Part 1: The Foodie-ization of America”

Once cooking and experience elevate, there’s no going back.

Study after study charts the migration of our food culture and parallel consumer behavior away from legacy packaged, processed foods and towards what is deemed ‘all things’ real and fresh. Consumers at one time may have been confronted with healthier in the form of addition by subtraction. Meaning that anything presented as good for you meant sacrificing something else – less sugar, fat, calories or salt. And, of course, the perception that down the pipe with the elimination of bad stuff so went good taste experiences.

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LEADING TRENDS IMPACTING THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY – SECOND OF A FIVE PART SERIES

March 13th, 2015 Posted by food experiences, Food Trend, Insight, shopper experience, Supermarket strategy, Uncategorized 0 comments on “LEADING TRENDS IMPACTING THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY – SECOND OF A FIVE PART SERIES”

Part 2: Emergent’s 2015 Emerging Food Trend Forecast

This is the second installment in our “2015 Emerging Food Trend Forecast” series exploring food and beverage mega-trends.

2. Revolution in supermarkets and the rise of Groceraunt

The supermarket industry is going through dramatic change as a result of this consumer design for higher quality foods and food experiences. The center of the traditional grocery store is shrinking while the fresh perimeter is expanding. Some legacy brands and categories like cereal are flat to declining while the kitchens inside supermarkets are going through what best can be described as a culinary renaissance.

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LEADING TRENDS IMPACTING THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY – FIRST OF A FIVE PART SERIES

February 18th, 2015 Posted by food experiences, Food Trend, Healthy Living, Insight 0 comments on “LEADING TRENDS IMPACTING THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY – FIRST OF A FIVE PART SERIES”

Part 1: Emergent’s 2015 Emerging Food Trend Forecast

For years we’ve talked about the shifts in behavior summed up in this statement: “more than ever, people want higher quality food and beverage experiences to go along with their higher quality lifestyles.” This condition is now pervasive and will inform those who grow and those who experience challenges in their core businesses.

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SUPERMARKETS: DO YOU KNOW ME, LOVE ME?

June 4th, 2014 Posted by Retail brand building, retail brand relevance, shopper experience, Supermarket strategy, Uncategorized 0 comments on “SUPERMARKETS: DO YOU KNOW ME, LOVE ME?”
Image of young couple with cart in supermarket

Is your supermarket about cans and boxes or food experiences?

Relevance should guide retail brand value propositions…

By Bob Wheatley

Research shows that home cooks typically learn and establish expertise around 10 menus. And while these may evolve or modify over time, the number of them tends to remain the same. Thus the items purchased – while also varying here and there – will retain a measure of continuity.

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