A confluence of factors including the rise of social media, enhanced distribution channels such as e-commerce, and the growth of celebrity-backed brands is making the role of wine marketing executive more in demand than ever. We are continually tasked with finding smart brand managers and wine marketers who know how to quickly carve out a brand presence in an increasingly competitive market. Today, we’d like to talk about how we go about recruiting executives for this highly specialized market, which increasing is looking to attract younger consumers.
Major Wine Brands on the Rise
The wine industry is incredible diverse, containing multinational companies like Constellation Brands and independent wineries who have been passed down in families for generations. That said, there are a handful of brands that dominate the market, often belonging to a larger companies or holding groups. Some of these brands include:
- Bota Box from DFV Wines
- Robert Mondavi, Ruffino, Kim Crawford and Meiomi from Constellation Brands
- Winking Owl from E & J Gallo Winery
- Joel Gott from Joel Gott/Trinchero Family Estates
What Makes a Wine Brand Stand Out?
Generic wines and wine blends have fallen out of favor, especially with younger consumer and Gen Z. So what considerations make a wine brand successful:
- A connection to place: while we all know major producers out of France, South Africa, New Zealand, Sonoma and Napa, there are opportunities for upstarts rising from less prominent terroir like Long Island’s North Fork or the Finger Lakes Region.
- Appealing design and brand backstory that aligns with a defined target market.
- A “hook” that translates into visibility on social media — whether that means attaching to an influencer or celebrity or an easy connection to a trend like canned wines or rose.
- The marketing know-how to get the brand placed in prominent establishments, buzzy restaurants, airlines and hotel chains.
The role of social media and celebrity influencers in wine
Celebrity back brands are increasingly importantly in the wine business. Case in point is the Vanderpump rosé brand, launched by Lisa Vanderpump, star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules, in 2017. The brand has grown substantially since that time, aided in large part by the tremendous television exposure and the fact that the Vanderpumps own a number of successful restaurants and nightclubs.
Behind every celebrity brand is of course a branding and marketing maestro. Learn more about how we recruit for these positions here.
Wine Product Categories of Note
- Rosé: the rosé boom is an example of a product category that was largely driven by an organic social media phenomena that was boosted by savvy marketers in the industry. This category has held strong over the years, especially among younger consumers.
- Sauvignon Blanc and Sparkling: while Chardonnay remains the top seller among white wines, consumers are increasingly seeking out alternatives like Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling whites and roses.
- Red Blends: Cabernet and red blends remain extremely popular among consumers, demanding that marketers strive to differentiate their brands in the eyes of wine aficionados.
- Alternative formats: the past few years have seen a huge rise in alternative wine formats like canned wine and boxed wine. The sales of E & J Gallo’s brand of boxed wines — Rising Star Barefoot on Tap — rose six fold between 2018 and 2019.
How We Recruit Brand Marketers for the Wine Industry
Recruiting for the wine industry requires a unique set of skills: there are parts of the business that are extremely traditional and there are a number of rigid legal restrictions on sales, while at the same time, the major brands are always looking for innovators who can find new markets and marketing channels, especially online.
We therefore keep the following qualities top of mind when recruiting marketing professionals for wines & spirits:
- Highly competent team players with a desire to have a broad knowledge base in the industry: top leaders learn about production, sales and distribution to make sure their marketing efforts are on target.
- Broad knowledge of emerging categories and communication channels.
- A track record of building a brand that carries through multiple marketing platform to the ground in restaurants, retail and hospitality.
Read more about key hiring qualifications for wines & spirits professionals here.
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Contact us to help you find your next great marketing executive or leader.