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Hospitality, Service and Helicopter Parents

What’s the difference between the culture a winery fosters for its employees, the hospitality it offers customers and the overarching service it will need to offer in the future to remain competitive?

No, this isn’t a joke with a punch line.  However, there is comedic tragedy in knowing that in addition to creating a good product that is accessible, a successful winery must also have a healthy culture focused on the right things, hospitality that supports its location and legacy AND a new focus on omnipresent service.

Life just doesn’t ever let up, does it?

I’ve been spending time trying to parse marketing trends in discerning what an economic recovery means for the wine business.  At the least, it’s helpful to understand how high-level trends impact consumer packaged goods while being pragmatic that change doesn’t occur overnight, instead dappling in waves until the new-new is accepted reality.

Yet, some clues are starting to reveal themselves. 

For years, we’ve been hearing that, “Service is the new selling.” And, the day where that becomes more truth than marketing nicety may, in fact, be here.

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I had my “a-ha” moment as I read a trend brief called, “Brand Butlers.” 

The topline summary of the report says:

With pragmatic, convenience-loving consumers enjoying instant access to an ever-growing number of support services and tools (both offline and online), brands urgently need to hone their “butlering skills,” focusing on assisting consumers to make the most of their daily lives, versus the old model of selling them a lifestyle if not identity.

The 10-page report summary continues by noting:

For consumers, time, convenience, control and independence are the new currencies.  This need requires B2C brands to turn many of their “campaigns” if not all interactions with their customers into broader services.  In short: a shift from “broadcasting” to assisting.

This isn’t to say that the wine business doesn’t get some areas of service right. 

Certainly, one area of service that wineries do extremely well is the notion of hospitality for its guests at the winery; this has been true for 30 years.

Yet, what the trend report indicates is that service in the way that the wine business knows well isn’t good enough.

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And, I would add a second complexity when I say that a new service model for consumer packaged goods (i.e. wine) is only as good as the esprit de corp that is instilled in the winery employees who execute the service. A few weeks back I examined “culture” in the wineries, or, rather, the lack of it, and I suggested that customer service and the brand begins inside the winery with core set of principles.

While I didn’t explicitly note it, Zappos.com, the online shoe retailer, embodies this notion as well as anybody.

The example that I’ve used to explain this new phenomenon in “Butlering skills” or “Concierge selling” is the fact that Millenials are the intended target for much mainstream marketing and this is increasingly so in wine.  Millenials are also the children of so-called “Helicopter” parents – protective, nurturing, swooping in feel-good doers that solve problems.

If you look at marketing as a form of brand mothering, the jump to reconcile “Brand butlering” isn’t too far away.

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Put another way, despite a reduction in white table cloth dining experiences, that level of service that is being requested in everyday culture – present, but unobtrusive, the water glass gets refilled without a break in conversation, is quickly becoming the standard.

Yet, another example, is OnStar – the in-car safety and protection system.  The commercials tout that after getting in a car accident operators alert police and medical personnel – a sort of driving guardian angel.

These are all examples of marketing being “on-demand.”  Available, subtle, relevant and influential at the right time.

The Trendwatching report continues with eight categorical examples of types of “Brand butlering” though the categorical possibilities are as endless as the different types of brands there are compared against human condition.  They examples provided include:

• Transparency and “In the know”
• Saving money
• Finding
• Connectivity
• Health, nutrition and exercise
• Skills and advice
• Eco
• Tool & amenities

In summary, I am by no means a marketing guru dispensing advice.  Instead, I tend to be an assimilator of disparate information trying to place a complex world into something that makes sense.  I’ve found that whenever I don’t truly “get” something that means I haven’t done enough research to understand it.  My hunch and research here tells me that the wine trends of Millenials, social media and “service is the new selling” becomes a lot more interesting and understandable when placed in the crucible of “Brand butlering.”

The question now is: does a winery discern a difference between culture, hospitality and service and if so how do they capitalize on a potentially new customer requisite?

Download the full “Brand Butlers” report.

Order the Zappos Culture book.



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Posted in, Wine: A Business Doing Pleasure. Permalink | Comments (2) |


Comments

On 05/13, CDL practice test wrote:

Certainly, one area of service that wineries do extremely well is the notion of hospitality for its guests at the winery; this has been true for 30 years.

On 08/04, perücke echthaar wrote:

Viele Richter und haben nur eine
perücke echthaar, nie ersetzt, weil sie die Perücke im Namen der Qualifikationen in der Anwaltschaft zu denken. Jurastudenten wird nach Erhalt der Anwalt, der Familie oder Freunden, um ihm das beste Geschenk von jemand berühmten Perücke gemacht. Viele Handwerker die Herstellung von Perücken engagiert sind die Generationen der Technologie, und viele Handwerker Familie Perücke Perücke für jede Signatur verkauft werden , um die Platte zu kaufen, k?nnen diese Aufzeichnungen in vielen Promi-Autogramm, da viele bekannte politische gefunden werden Familie sind Rechtsanw?lte Ursprungs.


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