Having previously lived in Northern California, my husband and I have made our fair share of trips up to Napa and Sonoma into California’s wine country. One of our most memorable experiences comes from a Sonoma winery, Ravenswood. Ravenswood focuses on zinfandel wine, a category they have helped to expand. The winery itself offered a great experience not only for my husband and me, but also for our children!
At most wineries we visit, we keep the kids off to one side when they come with us, as they are usually ignored by tasting room personnel (at best) or stared down by them (at worst). It was different when we visited Ravenswood. One of the tasting room managers offered to get something for my kids to drink. He took my kids to a back room, got them each a bottle of homemade rootbeer and a bouncy ball (with the Ravenswood logo and lights inside!), and brought them back out. My kids were all smiles and felt very grown-up drinking their rootbeer at the picnic tables while we tasted our wines! It gave us the permission we were seeking to spend time tasting as well as the leisure to think about our purchases (how many cases?!). The personal touch, when it can be achieved, builds loyalty like nothing else.
Steve Woodruff also posted recently about Ravenswood on his blog impactiviti. Steve makes this comment about Ravenswood’s clever tagline:
Ravenswood’s tagline is No Wimpy Wines! Simple, memorable, and a bit sassy. While the elitist might consider this approach just a tad plebeian, for the vast majority of wine buyers who are looking for a good quality, hearty wine, this is great branding. It makes Ravenswood stand out, and the phrase taps into something “aspirational” – after all, who wants ANYthing wimpy? Finally, it passes the T-shirt test (yes, I have one with the crossed-out Wimpy Wines on the back – it regularly accompanies me to the gym, silently promoting heart-healthy Ravenswood reds while I do my cardiovascular workout!).
Note the way Steve points out the experience Ravenswood is crafting with their tagline, No Wimpy Wines. When you see their wine, you know what to expect — a hearty wine!
The Startup Studio has an interesting podcast interview of Ravenswood’s founder Joel Peterson. In it, he discusses how he used “guerrilla marketing” when he was first getting started. (Note – he also talks about why he chose zinfandel and how he helped grow the zinfandel category.) This was in the early days before people were talking about word-of-mouth marketing. Joel used it as a good way of connecting with customers.
Ravenswood Winery is a company with a Customers Rock! attitude. They focus on creating a great experience for customers in their winery tasting-room environment. They have an easy-to-navigate website with consistent branding and good customer-focused information. They have been marketing in a customer-centric format since the beginning. And the personal touch they gave us at the winery has stuck with my family for years, to the extent that our kids encourage us to buy Ravenswood whenever we are out shopping for wine. They will likely be loyal customers for life. So will I.
(Photo credit: uploaded by partytime)