Evaluating Winery PR Agencies

Evaluating Winery PR Agencies

How Media Coverage enhances Brand Visibility

Wineries have adapted to change slowly over the years, but they have evolved. When I starting doing marketing consulting in 2009, only few small to medium size wineries had Hospitality Managers, and some boutique producers didn’t even have Tasting Room Managers. That has all changed over the last 12 years. What has also changed is how competitive the market for direct sales has become. What hasn’t changed, is the ongoing need to generate brand awareness with wine consumers. Don’t let them forget your name.

Allow me to offer a disclaimer – I have a PR Agency – and I’m growing my client portfolio. I decided to write this article because very few small to midsize wineries have communications professionals on staff, and I believe they would benefit from professional assistance with media communications. Many wineries are beginning to understand the importance of Top-of-Mind Awareness (TOMA). TOMA states that name recognition, i.e. brand impressions or visibility + repetitions leads to trust, which leads to sales, or at least the opportunity to sell. Think about any recognizable brand, including your own. Have you established this level of brand awareness?

Additionally, some wineries may be averse to the idea of outsourcing and prefer to grow staff in-house. This strategy works well for marketing and onsite customer facing roles, but media relations and communications are a full-time job and a larger and longer-term investment. PR and Media Relations agencies make a living being connected to those wine, food and travel industry media professionals that matter, but these contacts take a long time to develop as the relationship between a PR and media pro is trust and experience based. This is the case for investigating outsourced media communications to gain publicity for your winery.

If you decide to evaluate third party support, be sure to ask lots of questions, to get a sense of wine industry experience and success representing different brands. Any “winery specific” consultancy should be able to answer these questions:

  • Why is it important to obtain Media Coverage?
  • Why is Branding & Messaging so important?
  • How can we build Brand Recognition and get reviewed in local and national markets?
  • What do we do with the content (articles, awards, scores, reviews) once received?
  • Does Media Coverage help me Sell Wine?
  • How do we develop effective Media Outreach Campaigns?
  • How do we develop and maintain ongoing Media Relations?
  • What do Wine Writers really want and need?
  • Why is having a Sampling Program important?
  • What about Wine Competitions?
  • How can we provide Market Support and leverage our out of state Distribution?
  • Do I need a Media Kit, and what are the components?
  • What is best practice for Tech Sheets versus tasting notes?
  • How can we develop a Target Media List?
  • Does Social Media help me sell wine?
  • Are Press Releases still relevant? How and when are the best used?

 

You can find my responses to these questions and more on this FAQ Page.

CARL GIAVANTI is a Winery Publicist with a DTC Marketing background. He’s going on his 12th year of winery consulting. Carl has been involved in business sales, marketing and public relations for over 25 years; originally in technology, digital marketing and project management, and now as a winery media relations consultant. Clients are or have been in Napa Valley, Willamette Valley, Columbia Valley and the Columbia Gorge. (www.CarlGiavantiConsulting.com/Media).

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