|One of the coolest things about living in the middle of wine country is the grape and wine festivals which occur in the early summer and early fall. (oops, and of course, there is the ice-wine festival in January.) Definitely, as the region gleefully gets back to pre-COVID business levels, it sure feels like there are way more luxury coaches pulling up to enjoy the festivals. How you ask?
The process of making wine is pretty standard and boring and stinky.
You take manual labour in the fields, a bunch of ripe fruit, a whole lotta elbow grease in human and machine form and following a precise recipe, you eventually get the stinky nectar of the gods. The same goes for beer. You take a few ingredients from the fields, put them through a process, let them sleep for a while and eventually, you get a very smelly liquid.
If you take offence to the unglamorous way I describe the making of all this stuff, please know I also have the same view about baking and cooking. Take a bunch of ingredients, inject a bunch of human labour and some measure of heat and cold and voila. Magic happens. Once, having a job that allowed me to get up close and personal in a beer company, living with a man who makes wine every few months and playing a gourmet cook occasionally tends to warp one’s view.
The process itself of doing or making anything is exceptionally dull.
Because it is all about the HOW part. This is why in business, one of the standard things to have in one’s toolkit is “a proprietary system.” Your proprietary system is the magic of your own how and becomes part of your marketing package to set you apart from your competition.
Now, the wine, beer and even cooking markets are very, very, very crowded. There are the monoliths, the small craft players and everything in between. For the end customer, it can be extremely overwhelming. So, the end customer looks for just one thing that sets them apart. That one thing is known as the point of differentiation. Otherwise known as the WHY part.
Back to the wine festival.
Something like 30 wineries participated. Here are some of the points of differentiation:
You get the idea. Everything is about the EXPERIENCE you have in their fine establishments. That EXPERIENCE is what you take away with you (and perhaps a bottle or two of one of the wines you tried and liked.)
Very little time is spent talking about the process of making the wine.
Instead, your five senses are tickled with smells, tastes, noises, touches and STORIES. Every single winery has a handful of stories which brings their offerings to life.
Stories like when and why they got into the business, how they persevered and STAYED in the business, the awards they won because of their fantastic wine master, why they love what they do, why their fields are so abundant, and even how their fellow competitors are their best friends.
Many view the whole marketing area as simply glossy websites, blogs, social media, discounted products and freebies. There is a certain amount of merit to this. However, the one thing that always gives an edge to any person, division, and organization is a good story.
Stories humanize us.
Stories allow us to connect to other humans. Stories share things we often can’t articulate well. Stories tell our whys much better than we can.
No matter how bad the product, how sour the beer, or how off the wine, the stories we hear cement our feelings and emotions. It is the stories that push us to give second chances.
We both know that you are a fantastic human, a great mother/father, a solid business person and a gifted producer. We also know that what we do is not that much different from our competition. Allow me to leave you with one question.
How good are YOUR stories?