The Luxury Wine Industry and Social Networks: What’s Wrong?

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Five to seven years ago people would share their memories through photo albums or through their digital cameras. Now, as users of the World Wide Web, we are constantly adapting ourselves to sharing our memories through social media outlets. By the means of these outlets we are exposed to an outstanding number of content, in large number of cases, through algorithms, the content is curated to our liking. For example, Instagram, in this platform one follows people, brands, and businesses of choice for a photographic or video-graphic update on what they’re doing, what they’re current projects are, their inspirations and so forth. Based on your likings and who you follow, suggestions on who to follow next are made and ads are posted to grasp your attention. Most industries have excelled in the adaptations of social media to excel their marketing strategies, others have fallen behind on the profitable opportunity, such as the luxury wine industry.

There is a study called “Luxury wine brand visibility in social media: an exploratory study” done by professors in Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In the study, the professors focused on Boudeaux’s wines first growths in social media. Nevertheless, the study found that luxury wine brands do not have a clear path in their social media strategies. They suggest that the brand managers become more invested in utilizing social network outlets to become more influential in the industry. The focus of brand managers should be utilizing this technology to direct the conversations around their brand, therefore being great influencers in the luxury wine market. (Berthon, Pitt & Reyneke, 2011)

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For example, Armand de Brignac a sparkling wine brand bought by rapper Jay-Z, has popularly been nicknamed Ace of Spades because of its logo. This champagne is made in Northern France, specifically in Champagne, Chigny les Roses, a small village in the region. Ace of Spades bottles can be bought from $250.00 up to special edition bottles that can be found for up to $7,000.00. The brands popularity is not only due to the social media sponsorship of the dynamic duo Jay-Z and Beyoncé, but also because of the brands active presence in social networking throughout channels such as Facebook (54,142 Likes on their page), Instagram (103k Followers) and Twitter (10.6k Followers). Their content attracts millennials, and keeps relevant to the brand they have established as the go to champagne for luxurious festive affairs. It has become a desirable brand that has maintained its exclusivity status. Ace of Spades has excellent marketing skills that has combined organic, curated and professional content throughout their social media outlets. Through their published content they have created a culture, an expectation and a yearning to have an experience with their champagne.

On the other hand, one of the most expensive wine brands in the world, Chateau Margaux, where their bottles can start selling for around $1,500.00 and their last limited edition bottle was sold for almost $140,000.00, has fallen behind in creating a lifestyle brand around their wines. The Instagram page of the wine brand has eighty-six posts, a little over two thousand followers (2,104) and follows around two hundred wine connoisseurs, its last Instagram post was two weeks ago and their Facebook page, has almost four thousand followers (3,946) and to make matters more concerning their last post was December 28th of 2014. Currently their Twitter page has three hundred and two tweets and a little over one thousand three hundred followers (1,311), with their last post being August 6th. What is great about this is that they still have a blank slate they could work on. Currently, around 90% of their content is completely organic, however, it lacks the curated[1] and professional[2] touch. Currently, around 10% of their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is professional content, lacking in curated content produced by connoisseurs of the brand. Chateau Margaux brand managers need to recognize that content wise, the brand lacks social media presence and that it has a great window of opportunity to develop its brand into a lifestyle.

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The North and South of France is filled with experiences such as curated foods, countryside boutique hotels and what seems like unlimited wine tastings. A dream for wine connoisseurs and novices alike. It is seen as a luxury, to get away from quotidian lifestyles and indulge in a ripened grape inspired escape surrounded by the countryside’s romanticism. For some, these experiences are a once in a lifetime opportunity, for others experiences like these are meant to be experimented often. However, in both cases, the memories of these moments are shared. Why not, as brand managers, take advantage of these shared moments and convert them into profitable marketing strategies?

[1] Curated content, is pictures, blog posts and experiences other people share that the brand can share as well.

[2] Professional content, is what the brand pays for professionally produced photographs and videos that can be used for promotional purposes.

Mignon Reyneke, Leyland Pitt, Pierre R. Berthon, (2011) “Luxury wine brand visibility in social media: an exploratory study”, International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 23 Iss: 1, pp.21–35

This post was created as part of the Global Luxury Management Program at the NC State Poole School of Management. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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