This year we've weathered a pandemic, riots, double-digit unemployment, a contentious election year, a labor shortage, and now the most expansive fire in California history. If what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, then we should be Ironman by now. It's enough to make you crawl into your cellar and lock the door.
But, we need to pay the bills, harvest the fruit, and sell our wine. With the context and focus of our marketplace changing weekly, what can we do to be culturally sensitive, faithful to our brands, but continue to market our products?
Here, we've assembled our suggestions for addressing your marketing approach during this fall.
Remember back in December when you set your 2020 sales goals? That seems like a long time ago. Many of us started careening off course in March and just let it ride, hoping that we'd adjust when things returned to "normal." By now, we've realized this is "the new" normal, and more importantly, enough time has passed to have directional learnings. It's been six months since COVID first affected our businesses, and hopefully, you've been testing and trying new things to compensate for the lower-than-normal tasting room and on-premise sales. Now is the time to take those preliminary learnings and project them forward for Q4.
This Q4 is going to be 2020's grand finale. In the US, we face a challenging harvest, a very likely resurgence of COVID, school closures, and a presidential election that will compete for attention and drive up costs across every airwave, email, and social media channel. Make sure you take these societal forces into account and lower projections from last year. If we expect consumers to respond similarily this holiday season as they have in the past when not faced with these challenges, we are setting our expectations up for failure.
The keyword in 2020 is "pivot," so be continually auditing what you have currently planned, especially any pre-scheduled content.
I was surprised at this very tone-deaf and insensitive marketing text I received from Ceasar's last weekend
--- right as most in Northern California were battling fires.
Glad to see everyone - including makeup and fashion - including BIPOC models and products in their fall campaigns.
It is tempting to forgo marketing right now, not wanting to take the risk of upsetting anyone. Abstinence is not necessary and, in many cases, a mistake. People still have needs. They still care about your brand and your products, so keep people informed. (This rule applies to any economic downturn or crisis, but it's particularly important to remember in this climate of fear.) As long as you keep the focus of your messaging on helping people, your marketing doesn't have to stop. And even if we're living through a grim cultural moment, you don't have to respond with grim messaging. If your communication is positive and not overly dramatic or capitalizing on the chaos, it will be well-received and appreciated. Remember: The more you show your human side, the more we can all feel connected—and we're all looking for that right now.
A really nice example from Kinsman Eades on the appropriate tone and message for these times.
True, the stakes of wine marketing are not life or death. But feeling productive and feeling like we add value to the world is very meaningful. Many of us may feel unmoored by what's going on, but some connection and resemblance of normal activities can help.
We hope everyone is safe and healthy.
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