branding

Innovative Branding: Wine Tasting and Concierge Mixer at the Wrigley Mansion

In July I attended a Wine Tasting and Concierge Mixer held at the Wrigley Mansion.  The featured winery was Arizona Stronghold.  I received an email with the event details, I quickly scanned the email and noticed two things:  Free and Wrigley Mansion.  Sounds great!  The day of the event I just wanted to make sure of the time so I quickly googled the event.  Nothing came up…I went on the Wrigley website and checked out the calendar.  Nothing.  Finally I logged in and checked my email, and as I had previously thought it said 4pm.  I always double check these things.

I arrived at the mansion and was greeted by the friendly staff who directed me to the wine event.  Once there I checked in at the greeter station and picked up a name tag.  A quick glance around

Jeff Hecht

the room and I started to recognize people, some of whom I have never met!  How is that possible?  Twitter.  Most people have a picture of their face as an avatar, which is very helpful in situations like this.  I started out with a conversation with Molly Maguth.  She coordinated the event and is a public relations account manager for MMA advertising, a premier metro phoenix advertising and PR agency.  The pieces of the puzzle started to fall together.  MMA handles the Wrigley account as well as the Arizona Stronghold account.  I found the idea to piggyback the two clients into one event to be very interesting.  The even more interesting thing was the very deliberate selection of guests.  I had a chance to ask Ms. Maguth and Jeff Hecht, director of public relations for MMA about the reasoning behind the selection process.  They explained that everyone that had been invited was either a Concierge at a metro Phoenix resort style hotel, or a prominent member of local social media.  So what was I doing there I wondered!  Then it hit me.  After 8 months of wine blogging, the Weekly Wine Journal might have actually crossed the relevance threshold!

Back to the guests…  every year millions of people visit the Valley of the Sun.  And some of these people stay at wonderful resort style hotels complete with a full time concierge.  The concierge deals directly with the public, often answering questions about the local community and giving recommendations on where to eat and where to visit. They are influencers in every sense of the word.  The second angle on the guest list was the local social media influencers.  I have written about the power of social media over at corkd.com as well.

This event was a great case study in guest selection.  Although I wasn’t able to meet all the guests I did run into the following Twitter personalities:

@AZVineyardGuy, @AZWineries, @AZVinesandWines @Noshtopia – also known as @skinnyjeans, @CChaserun @ReneeMoorePR

Just these personalities alone have a combined 50,000+ followers on Twitter ( Stephanie @skinnyjeans is responsible for at least 48,000 of them) but Twitter is not  only about how many followers you have, it’s also about your influence.  @AZVineyardGuy, Josh Moffit is Arizona’s go to guy for vineyard real estate and has over 2,500 acres of land in his portfolio.

Josh Moffit

His lovely wife, Rhonni Moffit ( @AZWineries and @AZVinesandWines) is the executive director of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.  @CChaserun is Colleen Chase, and she runs a joint venture wine tour company with her sister called Arizona Grape Escapes.

Collen Chase

They take up to a dozen people on Arizona wine country tours every weekend.  @SkinnyJeans is Stephanie Quilao.  She is a professional blogger and has really taken it to the next level with her Noshtopia website.  Renee Moore is in PR as you might have guessed from her Twitter handle, @ReneeMoorePR.

This event was the best wine tasting I’ve been to.  I’ve been to a few, and I thought this was so well coordinated in terms of the guests, the setting and the wine.  I noticed that all the wines were being taken care of in terms of proper serving temperature.

Nice work keeping the wines cool!

Arizona is very hot and my pet peeve is people serving red wine at room temperature in Arizona, so I thought that attention to quality control and detail was very refreshing.  Secondly the guests were extremely engaging.  We would have stayed all night talking!  Right now MMA has no plans to handle other wine accounts as they want to focus solely on the Arizona Stronghold brand.  However, they do handle other accounts, large accounts such as The Mayo Clinic, Harkins Theatres and Desert Schools Credit Union.  MMA has a combined 70 years experience in Advertising branding and PR in just it’s 3 principals.  They really know there stuff, and especially the new media way of doing things.  They get social media, they get viral marketing.  It was exciting to be a part of this event, and I am looking forward to future events by MMA and Arizona Stronghold.

What say you?  Branding and PR, have you seen good/bad examples?  Is marketing and branding a wine different from say branding a potato chip?  What do you think of social media’s role in branding?

go ahead, don’t be afraid…comment! 🙂 If I missed anyone out please let me know, I will add them

Molly Maguth on Twitter
Jeff Hecht on Twitter
MMA Homepage
Wrigley Mansion Homepage
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards homepage

Wineries and Tweetups: How to

I get quite a bit of email from wineries on the subject of Tweetups.

Imagine a Tweetup this big!

I wrote a guest article for Gary Vaynerchuk’s Corkd.com on the subject to touch on the benefits. See the article HERE.  This resulted in a whole bunch more emails with specific questions about the nuts and bolts, the details of how to do the Tweetup thing.  So I put together a quick little reference specifically for wineries based on the email help I provided this weekend.

Participate in every #varietal tweetup #cabernet #merlot #shiraz ect.  Varietal Tweetups promote wine in general and a specific varietal.  Successful examples are @rickbakas ‘s #calicabs which featured California Cabernet’s.  Josh Wade’s ( @nectarwine) #WAMerlot featured Merlot from Washington State.  Shannon Casey (@michbythebottle) put together Tweet and Taste Michigan and used the #hashtag #TTMI so that people could follow along in real time on twitter.

So step one would be to participate in every #varietal tweetup.  The next BIG BIG event is #Cabernet.  This event is being hosted by Rick Bakas and many well known wineries will be participating.  Wineries like Duckhorn, Cakebread and St Supery.  If Cabernet Sauvignon is (or whatever the next varietal tweetup is)  a wine that you make and have in stock then host a tweetup at the winery.  These events are almost always on a Thursday night, and if your winery is a long way for people to travel don’t expect much more than a few locals to attend, but be sure to email, phone and visit people to promote the fact that you are participating and fun will be going on at your winery or tasting room on that night.  Promote the tweetup on Twitter, Facebook, on your website, on Localwineevents.com and Meetup.com
If the winery does not have the particular varietal you can still participate just by yourself by going to another winery in the area who does make/carry that varietal and tweet from there.  Or you can have a private party and people can bring their own wine to taste and tweet about.

For tweetups intended to promote your specific brand I suggest contacting  via Direct Message (DM)   Twitter “influencers” and invite them to your tweetup. Or get their contact emails from their blogs.  Most prominent Twitter personalities have a blog.  Tell them that their tasting fee will be waived and there will be some complimentary food for them.  In order to be considered an influencer I would suggest a minimum 1,000 followers and a ratio of pretty close to 1:1  People who follow 10,000 people but only have 1,000 followers are not very influential. Also suggest some local accommodations incase they want to stay over night. Then come up with a hashtag# to identify the event and DM the influencers with the hashtag a few weeks in advance.  Do a soft launch tweeting information about the event with the #hashtag.  Then begin to actively promote the event about 2 to 3 weeks in advance. I believe that you don’t want to be tweeting about the event every day for months before it happens, it will be overkill and people will tune it out.  I would send out a tweet several times a week leading up to the event and then just before it I would step it up and then the day before and the day of the event tweet more as the event draws closer and tweet often when the event starts. Tweet about who is at the event, what people are drinking, how many people are there, how much fun it is ect.  ENGAGE with others, don’t just blast out your information.  Thank people for retweeting your message ask them if they will be attending, ask who else will be attending, be enthusiastic!  According to Dan Zarrella most Retweets happen between 10am and 12 midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  This is apparently Eastern Standard Time, but I believe the same is true no matter what time zone you are in.
Getting back to hosting a tweetup to promote your winery. I would pick 2 or 3 influencers offer them a free tasting and food.  I would also put out a general tweet to all other Twitters and offer some other kind of discount, possibly complimentary cheese plates.  I would do the same on facebook, wineevents and meetup.com. Then when people show up and mention the discount you will be able to track how people heard about the wine tasting and see which form of media is most effective.
another great way to promote events is thru Eventbrite.com

During the Tweetup I would take lots of pictures for your Facebook Page, and videos for your Youtube Channel which you can embed to your website/blog.  I would limit the length of each video to 1-3 minutes maximum.  People have short attention spans.  If you visit my Youtube channel you will see that I don’t always follow the time limit rule, it’s mainly because I don’t feel like it!

One more useful event to participate in on a regular basis is #WIYG.  Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal came up with the idea.  It stands for Whats In Your Glass.  Most Friday and Saturday nights if you sent her an @ message with the hashtag #WIYG and a photo of what you are drinking, she will Retweet it.

Please email me any questions or feel free to contact the references below:

Josh Wade @nectarwine Drinknectar.com

Rick Bakas @RickBakas RickBakas.com #Cabernet information

Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal Barbaraevans.wordpress.com

Shannon Casey @michbythebottle Michiganbythebottle.com

Brian Solis’s post analyzing Dan Zarrella’s information