differentiate or die

To be honest we were a little apprehensive when we decided to start Fiasco Wines way back in 2008.  The recession was biting, the glut had set in and people were warning us ‘No, don’t do it’.  Let’s face it there isn’t exactly a shortage of wine brands out there either!  But you know when you want something deep down  – you just can’t ignore it.  We totally love making wine – it satisfies us and in a sense come wine lose or draw, we made the right decision.   But there are some big challenges…

A favourite bloggerof mine and noted agent of change is Seth Godin.  Seth believes that marketing as we have known it – and the proliferation of products to meet market needs, along with traditional advertising is broken.  He also suggests that in general, markets are satisfied and that new products (and associated marketing) need to be remarkable to make their way in the world.  Seth uses this analogy ( I will abbreviate- the story is a little longer): Brown cows standing in a paddock look bloody boring to anyone passing by on a daily basis.  Throw a purple cow in there and you can guarantee that some one will pull over and check out the purple cow and herd.

To me Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is changing colour from purple to brown.  In our ‘Marlborough Appellation (cringe) I think we have rested on our laurels and we have not differentiated enough across all quarters.  Unfortunately, brand ‘Marlborough Sauvingon Blanc’ has become a commodity and markets have become satisfied with $5.99 a bottle. 

I have had a lot of feedback from the market lately and it is “please no more SauvignonBlanc from Marlborough- it all tastes the same”  and  “Well, give us a reason why we should take yours, what’s your story”…….

Well, this is where I think we have let brand Fiasco Wines down!  We need to paint our wines a little more purple

We do things differently here at Fiasco….actually we do it all come to think of it!  Unusually, for a Marlborough winery, we are only small at five acres, we prune and tend our own vines personally, we make the wine, and we sell it to our friends.  There are only the five stakeholders: Jacinda, Tahlia, Finn, Archie and myself.  We really are family run, my Dad is currently spending his weekends helping me prune and we live on Jacinda’s parents’ property (Stembridge Vineyards) where her Dad is always at hand to give valuable advice on the block we lease.  There are no mass produced wines,c orporate backers or foreign monies and that’s how it will stay, we promise!

Ohhh, we have a couple of purple calves in the barn…they are nearly ready for the paddock.  Stay tuned!

Do you have a purple cow?

Cheers a heap!



4 Responses to “differentiate or die”

  1. August 4, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    We also have a leaking, infected grumpy cow 😉

    (Btw, I wrote this – not Aaron, he values his life more than that!)


  2. 2 Dan
    August 4, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Well said Aaron – as a marketer by trade who’s grown tired of tired Marly Sauvs I totally agree with you. The style still has relevance and value, it’s the lack of texture in the overall market that’s the problem; mass-production breeds homogeneity, and homogeneity, standardisation, breeds boredom in the mind of pretty much every consumer eventually. People I know who barely give any thought to what they drink are starting to move away from it, purely for that reason.

    Even milk producers make some effort to differentiate, and what product could be more standardised and homogenous than that? Good on you for standing out from the herd and challenging others to do so.

  3. August 4, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Hey Aaron and Jacinda

    Thanks for the post (and hope you are feeling better Jacinda!). This one post has given us much food for thought. We have this issue in our micro business too, and have conversations over and over about what it is that has our customers come back again and again and how to get more of them.

    Thinking like this is what makes NZ small business so great, I reckon!

    Looking forward to seeing the new calves. And selling more coffee so we can buy more delicious Fiasco wine.

    : ) Wendy

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