Entrevista para o blog italiano Web in Vigna

Great passion for Wine and Law, it isn’t a new drama serie but the synthetic biography of Natália Andrade Viana, jurist and founder of Winelicious Wine Blog. I’ve had opportunity to interview her about Wine Marketing, and her answers are really interesting.

Wine Roland What is your 30-seconds biography, Natália?

Natália I’ve founded Winelicious Wine Blog to write about universe of wines in a personal, practical and relaxed way, always with a curious and attentive look at the tendencies of this market. I’ve a MLM from NOVA SBE (Master in Law & Management at NOVA School of Business & Economics, note of WR), an undergraduated degree in Law from Catholic University of Portugal and a huge passion for Intellectual Property and Digital Wine Marketing. I’ve finely-turned understanding of how wine brands can best position themselves and how I can help support their mission.

I’m based in Lisbon, Portugal, but I work with clients around the world.

WR In your 2016 paper at 39th World Congress of Vine and Wine, you wrote “…digital marketing activities are in a state of evolutionary development“. I completely agree with this, but do winemakers too?

Natália There is a growing number of wineries that have invested in the quality of their websites, which are increasingly attractive, easy to use and responsive. Gradually we see a greater presence of wineries in social networks. However, there is space to grow and perfect the work that has been done in this area. We know that managing social networks involves time, expert assistance and costs.

I think that the resistance of some wineries to entering social networks is to avoid the costs related to the management of their networks and relations. But we also know that companies which have invested in digital marketing have positioned themselves better in the marketplace and gained a greater brand loyalty.

In my opinion, the wine sector has already realized the importance of being online and that the future will increasingly require us to adapt, reinvent and respond to the new yearnings of society. Who knows how to act at the right time will certainly have a reward for this work.

Note from WR: This is the correct way to address work, having a long-term vision where to use own offline brand position in digital channels. In my opinion, the Wine World has to move quickly in these new market, who stays could find all places occupied.

WR World of wine seems a steam train surroundend by starships, when we look about use of digital technologies. Why, in your opinion?

Natália We are seeing a change of mentality. The wine sector in Europe tends to be very traditional, with companies owned by the same family for generations and in this context I think we can understand why many wineries are attached to the past and have some resistance to change.

The previous generations left behind a legacy and a management model that until then had been working, but as we know society is not static and responding to the new challenges is the role of the generations that now run these wineries. It’s a challenge, it’s a risk, in digital area things develops very fast and we do not have a long digital history to replicate what have done in the past.

A new posture of this generation is required, there is no map indicating the steps that must be taken, we must take the risk and let the sensitivity guide you. Note that this does not imply forget the past, it is actually a matter of responsibility with this legacy. If we are in the present, giving the answers that are now required of us, we will have fulfilled our role and will surely leave for the future generations the business in a better condition than we have found. And if we think in a broader sense, this would not be the only relevant concern, but also social and environmental responsibility, for example. It is up to us to make history too!

WR I’ve noted that in digital media many web-stars are food bloggers, fashion bloggers, travel bloggers. Moms, too, and cats&kids of course. But no wine blogger. You wrote (4.2) “…Famous professional bloggers are opinion leaders and can influence their target audience turning into brand advocates, promoting the products, events and brand lifestyle“. It’s a sad story, doesn’t?

Natália I do not see how things from this angle. In fact, I see that these professionals can communicate the wine in an appropriate way, make known the good projects that have been developed worldwide and sometimes are not yet known by the general public, besides being able to play a important role in the issue of conscious consumption (informing and educating the consumers).

The wine culture is very rich and can be communicated in an interesting and close way, inviting everyone to participate in this great celebration. There is a great variety of wines on the market, a great offer of wine tourism options and these professionals, in a kind of a conversation between friends, can help to communicate this entire universe (which at first may seem complicated by the amount of information), arriving it to different targets, giving a greater credibility to the information transmitted by being a person closer to the public, by adopting a simpler language and by sharing their experiences through a direct speech, thus transmitting a more welcoming and touching message, inviting their public have their own experiences. I believe that the Internet has allowed this, a greater democracy of the media and a greater personalization of the contents, and this is commendable since used in an ethical and respectful way.

WR May be we’d think about wine as a fashion product?

Natália Wine is a more complex product. The concept of time here is another. We can also have consumer trends in this market, but in my opinion, unlike fashion, a wine never becomes démodé.
I think the debate would be much more interesting if we are comparing the wine market with others drinks market and sharing experiences with them. I agree that fashion blogs were the first to have a boom, are already consolidated and so some people take these as a reference, but maybe we should not draw a parallel between sectors that have a different approach (in the case of wines, because we are communicating alcoholic beverage we are required to adopt a completely different attitude, there is a social responsibility behind work and, in some countries, there are laws regulating this communication) and are at different stages of development.

WR You wrote (3.2) that “Identify the subjects and themes that arouse more curiosity and interest of the public is fundamental to trace the content strategy to explore on social medias”. This implies working with Data Marketing Analytics, but many vineries don’t collect ever email address of their customer. How can it resolves this gap?

Natália Be informed and identify where we are wrong, is the first step. After, we have to act according to the strategy adopted.

WR Wine has a low appeal in e-commerce, may be ’cause it is a ‘cultural product’, bound with its terroir. Customers prefer to buy wine in supermarket or right in the winery. How digital technologies (dedicated apps, social marketing, …) can work?

Natália The online wine trade has some hurdles as consumers have some fear if the products will be well packed and will arrive with the same quality if they are bought at a nearby store. Another issue that arises here for some is, for example, how my consumption is conscious and ecologically correct when I prefer to consume wines from more distant regions or even other countries when I can buy wine from my own region and so can collaborate to reduce the emission of pollutants and the utilization of more packaging? However, the internet can be an ally, making it possible to shorten distances and reach the furthest markets.

The consumer wins with a greater offer of products and a higher quality of the products (international competition drives this qualitative increase). In my view, wineries should look at the market a little in the eyes of consumers to understand their needs and the obstacles that exist, so they can present answers, solutions …

WR YouTube and Instagram are so poor of wine, nevertheless they could be a great channel to talk about it. I see only bottles and glasses and joyful people drinking, but nothing push me to say “Yes! I want just that bottle of wine!”. What’s wrong in wine communication?

Natália Consumers and producers currently speak different languages. Producers use very technical language, which confuses and intimidate consumers, keeping them away from this dialogue. Bloggers can be an intermediary, a translator between these two universes, communicating the wine in a simpler and easier way to be understood by consumers. Another issue that arises here in my view is a lack of support for these professionals (bloggers) and a greater recognition of the important role they already play.

As collective marks associations, universities, wineries, wine shops, restaurants and the hotel sector support these professionals more, create more synergies among their projects, I believe we will see a qualitative leap in this area and more quality content will reach the public. Much still needs to be adjusted.

Being a new profession, some people with a distorted view, see this activity as a hobby and do not recognize it as a profession that requires highly qualified professionals. In fact, we are talking about professionals with different academic backgrounds, people who constantly invest in their education and work conditions (and this implies costs, in fact, highly costs) and they can contribute a lot if they have an opportunity. Very briefly, we can say that promoting a brand implies studying about it, knowing your products, immerse yourself in your universe to talk about it properly and have credibility. This exercise requires time and qualification. It is a job, a service that is being provided and therefore must be rewarded. When the wine market change their relation with these professionals I believe we will see more messages like this.

WR Channels to promote wine are ever the same: travel shows and competions. Younger winemakers like Australia and New Zealand are starting using better the new technologies. Could be a problem for Old Europe?

Natália The challenge of adapting to the digital age is imposed on everyone – regardless of nationality – and as I said, anyone who knows this as an opportunity for growth and improvement will reap the rewards.

There is no need to fear change, this is an exercise for European producers to modernize their approach to the market and to take advantage of the facilities that technology brings.

WR I agree with your conclusions in the paper. I read many wine bloggers, communicators, marketers people repeat the same words: Wine, what are you waiting for? But I see no answer from wine world. What can we do to awake wine producers and wine marketers? It’s discouraging…

Natália Bring the topic to discussion, show the importance of this service and utilise our blogs as a communication channel. An ant job, building little by little, until the results and quality of the work speak for themselves. In a way this is what is expected of us. Bloggers are naturally leaders, form opinions and so to be, come before to build structures, do not find the scenario ready. It is naive to think that this is a profession where it only has glamour. As you can see, there is a lot of work behind. Contribute to the construction of a new social structure, requires a lot of efforts and qualifications (academic education, languages studies, knowing different cultures, etc …), as well as some sensitivity to perceive and anticipate some marketplace behaviors.

WR I’m thinking to create an event (in Italy, but not mandatory) about Wine&New Tech, like monitoring systems, use of Big Data, digital marketing. What do you think about? Have you any fine idea ?

Natália I think this is a super interesting idea, timely and meets a market need. The future and success of the wineries are also in digital field. At first, a colloquium at the University of Reference is ideal to foment the debate between professionals of different areas. In addition, we should open the discuss to wine makers and consumers, harmonizing their interests.

Assinatura Natália