THE commercial success and popularity of a wine may ultimately hinge on the quality of what’s in the bottle but increasingly producers are looking to improve what goes on the bottle as well.
Wineries these days spend a great deal of time and resources evaluating their brands, while marketing managers take a very considered approach when making changes to a core brand pillar – the wine label.
Goundrey Wines recently revamped its popular Homestead range, a process that took 12 months and involved contracting market research organisations and designers to engineer changes that would both update the look but maintain the brand strengths.
And Goundrey’s not alone in taking the time to develop a new, but considered, look.
Capel Vines and Australian Wine Holdings launched new labels into the market last year, joining a number of wineries in revamping their look so as to stay relevant and attract more consumers to their products.
Introduced to the market in the early 1990s, the Goundrey Homestead label was in need of an update, according to Goundrey marketing manager Melissa Kendrew, who employed a market research firm to help identify what changes should be made.
“Goundrey was using it [the research] as a guide because we’ve got so much equity in it and so many people know and trust the product,” Ms Kendrew said.
“You can risk losing a share because firstly, consumers don’t recognise it, and secondly, they think something has changed about that wine.”
Market Equity undertook the research for Goundrey and, according to Market Equity director Julie Cole, the gains from brand research are made by minimising risk.
“Established wineries with established brands risk alienating consumers with changes,” Ms Cole said.
“What the research said about Goundrey was that the changes needed to be conservative.
“Often this research is about what not to change as much as what to change.”
The research pointed out several strong characteristics customers identified with – the homestead, the colour green, and Goundrey name on the label.
“The outcome was a very specific brief that we gave to the designers, and we then tested the different labels,” Ms Kendrew said.
The aim of the new look was to broaden the product’s consumer base while not alienating current consumers, she said.
Chemistry Design director Roland Butcher said the sophistication in branding was matched by sophistication in the market.
“If you look back at the labels from the 1980s they were so simplistic and they had very little strategy. Now we’re getting people in with a business plan and a very defined brief,” he said.
Mr Butcher is currently working on a number of redesigns or new labels, including a label for Forrest Hill Vineyard.
Turner Design managing director Neil Turner said more companies were investing time in their look due to increasing competition.
“I’d say more and more are doing it now because the stakes are higher than they used to be,” Mr Turner said.
Turner Design worked on the Goundrey redesign and has recently produced new labels for Channybearup Vineyard’s Fly Brook label, in addition to ongoing work with Evans and Tate Wine Group.
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