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Wine And Branding

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Building Brand Equity in the Wine Industry

\"I think, in general in the wine business, people don't understand the need to build brands. That will become more and

more of a problem among mid-sized wineries."i

- David Higgins, Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide Wine Group President

Can you imagine a world where the wine from your wine company is the most recognized and purchased

on the shelf, where prices don't have to be altered when competitors make changes to their prices, where

distributors bend over backward for a chance to distribute your wine, and where your customers perceive

your wine in exactly the manner you wish them to? This is the power of branding.

The Press Democrat, a Sonoma County, California newspaper, recently published an article describing the

slowdown in the economy and how it is affecting the wine industry. While many wineries are seeing a

slowdown some are not. Many of those that are not have strong brand names and "...seem to be immune to

the sagging economy, and prices are continuing to go up for some coveted wine. Strong brands... continue

to enjoy robust growth. And customers are still lining up on waiting lists for a chance to buy the latest

release...."ii This, too, is the power of branding.

This essay will go into to the basic concepts of a brand, why building brand equity is important, and how

this equity can be constructed and evaluated. It will provide a good basis for building new brands and will

help improve existing brands in the future.

Brands and Brand Equity

A brand is a singular idea or concept that (a product) own(s) inside the mind of the prospect.iii It usually

comes in the form of a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them and is intended to

identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of

competitors.iv These two sentences are very important in combination. A brand is what the consumer

perceives it to be. It is not simply a name, term, sign, symbol,



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