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Case Study: Brand Management for a Product Company

"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." - Simon Sinek

Project Overview

Company: The Wine Outlets

Location: Virginia

Industry: Retailer (Alcohol and Food)

Fast Facts about Brand Management for Product Companies

  1. A customized strategy creates the perfect emotional value proposition, which in turns feeds the primary messaging that inspires customers' loyalty. Especially in a crowded marketplace, like alcohol and wine specifically. The way you create loyalty is by having a value and a message people care about. The moral of the story? It all starts with strategy.

  2. Customers expect convenience and to be able to access all products online. This is now a given, so a website with a killer user experience must be a top priority. Check out and the corresponding branded mobile app for what excellent looks like.

  3. Build your content to directly support a business goal and you will see your marketing help grow your business.

Brand Management for Wine Shop

Hear What Clients Have to Say

Owner's Group

"We needed to figure out exactly what it is that people love about our business so much, and how to then communicate that back to our customers and prospects. We thought we knew the answer, but had run into a roadblock trying to articulate it in a few words to give it the most impact. Given that every team member wears many hats (as in most small businesses) we were always too busy to sit down and dig into our consumers and our brand. Jules stepped into the breach and helped us identify our core brand elements and create a really great brand strategy. Looking at the business with a fresh, critical eye, she crystallized the value our customers get from us, turned it into an actionable plan, and helped us develop a clear understanding of how to use those elements to attract more customers. The best part of working on our brand strategy with Jules was the knowledge she brought to every conversation and the ease with which she helped us understand what it really means to focus on and achieve brand-building. We are not professional marketers and sometimes (really, most times) the marketing lingo can be like a foreign language. Not only did Jules explain everything clearly and help us make sense of the true value of our brand, but she did it as a real partner. Her commitment was and remains impressive!

We could tell she not only has a wealth of experience, but she loves what she does! She anticipated our questions and made us better marketers. We now use the Jules-developed brand strategy work across the business. We updated our messaging in-stores, we launched a truly modern website that our customers love and we were even able to take the plunge with an app because that extension made sense within our brand strategy. It really all DOES start with a brand strategy - who knew!”

Operations Manager

Local Store Manager

Brand Management for Wine Tastings

The Business Objective

Like most local shops, this one's objective was to increase sales. They also have a lofty goal of building a brand that can be scaled and can serve people in more than just their current geographical footprint. They believe their approach to selling wine is unique enough and delivers a fresh perspective. They want the ability to expand to more stores in more regions in the coming years.

The Problem

In this case there are a few industry hurdles that create a rather unique combination of challenges.

  • Liquor laws vary state to state which means expansion is limited

  • Wine culture is still battling an arrogant and exclusive appearance

  • There are many local spots that sell wine now including grocery stores and convenience shops, alongside other neighborhood wine shops

  • Shipping wine is exceedingly expensive, and people tend to prefer to get it locally or from the winery - this also means it is not profitable to ship wine, even for the large wine shipping companies (who have mostly folded or are struggling due to repeated losses)

  • Wine shops have traditionally been a relationship-based business which means

    • Consumers expect that (sometimes for the best and sometimes not to our advantage)

    • Relationships take time to build

    • If someone is used to this tradition, they likely already have their wine guy/gal

Their specific business problems included

  • Flat sales

  • Struggling to get new customers

  • No coherent or user-friendly online presence

    • Confusing websites (and multiple for each location)

    • Little to no social presence

    • Only a handful of reviews despite being in business for years

  • Sporadic content creation

  • Only 1 way to buy (in person during business hours)

  • No conscious marketing efforts outside of wine tasting events

  • An incredible value proposition that only a small audience was getting to enjoy

Instantly we saw SO much opportunity!

Our Solutions

The Strategy: Define the powerful and unique value proposition more clearly and then create all marketing and messaging that supports delivering and communicating it. But what does this mean? It means, in the specific following order, we...

  • Started by building a clearly defined Brand Strategy that identified the most critical elements of value that matter to customers. This alignment was key to our success because it allowed us to identify the specific marketing opportunities the business needed to pursue and those that were just shiny distractions.

    • Their unique emotional value proposition places customers enjoyment and convenience at the heart of every business decision. Their statement goes ""There are so many reasons to stress in our world today. The things that bring us enjoyment should not be on that list…especially not something as enjoyable as wine. More people need to be able to destress and find moments of joy, without the pressure. We exist to make wine buying fun for everyone, because we believe everyone should feel confident in the things they enjoy. We keep people surprised and delighted with our selection, events, and new ways to enjoy their favorite beverages. We keep our interactions relaxed and lighthearted so that there is no pressure alongside the excellent service you expect from your local wine shop. We provide the convenience to sample, sip, and spend how, when, where, and the way you want. Wine culture is fun and anyone who tells you otherwise can shove off. We have no room for snobbery, exclusivity, or stress in our business."

The Plan: We created a marketing plan and messaging that specifically supported their unique value proposition.

The marketing plan included

  • Consolidating 3 websites into 1 branded website with all inventory orderable and updated in real-time. Customers had access to their store accounts through the website and the systems worked seamlessly. Events were posted and managed on the site, as well as curated customer collections.

  • Creating a branded app with the same capabilities as the website.

  • Creating value-oriented content across all communication channels available to customers: in person, over the phone, email, sms, and social channels.

  • We were the first to offer online ordering for delivery or pick up.

  • Strategic advertising to increase awareness throughout the geographic region.

  • We optimized each piece of the plan as we learned from their customers.

  • Since customers enjoyment and convenience are at the heart of everything this business does, the primary focus going forward has been to listen to the customers and solve the problems they bring with value.

The Results:

  • The customer base grows every year

  • Revenue and profit grow every year

  • Third party reviews increase monthly maintaining a 4.7/5 or higher at all stores. Check out some of the reviews from one of the shops:

  • Social followers steadily increase every month - to be fair, social took a while to figure out due to internal struggles. In 2024, we are just now starting to get it right and there's nowhere to go but up! All stores Instagram followings have increased between 11-28% in 5 months.

  • Email open rates maintain a 49%, while click through rates maintain a 6.2%

  • SMS open rates are 99%

  • We learn what does not work quickly and we move on

Case Study Lessons You Can Steal

If you are a product-based company, these are the top lessons you should steal and apply to your business right away!

  1. Get your strategy right! Every single thing you will do builds from your strategy. If you have no clear strategy, you are limiting your capabilities. Start here if you don't know how to kick off this work.

  2. Get your website right! Put your inventory online and use all the basic expectations consumers have of an ecommerce business. Take the time to figure it out and set it up. Consumers will leave if it is not convenient and simple with a good user experience. Make sure your website meets or exceeds your customers' expectations.

  3. Prompt your happy customers for reviews on a prominent third-party site, like Google or Yelp.

    1. BONUS HINT: reply to every single review you receive - the good and the bad.

  4. Clean up your social media and make sure that every post supports a business goal. If you are unsure of how to do this, set up a free intro strategy session with us to talk about your business.

  5. Setup key automated email and sms flows that are business focused. What do I mean by that?

    1. Welcome Series

    2. Abandoned Cart Series

    3. Abandoned Checkout Series (yes, this is different than above)

    4. Post Purchase Series

    5. Celebration Series (Birthdays, Anniversaries, etc.)

  6. Setup a referral program.

  7. Increase your customers' lifetime value by cross-selling, upselling, and selling them more of what they love throughout the year. We do this last one by knowing our customers so well that we can make personalized recommendations based on past purchases.

  8. If you have done all of the above, you can turn to considering advertising to bring more people in. But that is too much for us to cover in this case study.

This work takes time, but it is effective when you are consistent and strategic. These brand management methods and steps will work for any product business. We dare you to find us one these don't help build!

Ready to See What Effective Brand Management Can Do for Your Business?

Each business is different, so each client gets a customized strategy with a unique marketing plan and tailored content. If you are ready to see this kind of progress and would like to talk about your business, set up some time to chat.


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