Welcome to Episode 4 of Five in the Hive! We recently interviewed our clients, Jenna French and Brenda Black, about the branding and the launch of the Shenandoah Spirits Trail. This trail consists of wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries and was part of a collaborative effort of Winchester-Frederick County, Shenandoah County, Harrisonburg City, and Rockingham County to help drive tourism to these areas. Take a closer look to see how we came up with the concepts for the name, logo, tagline, collateral and website to help promote the trail.
Fortunately, we live in an area - Charlottesville, VA - that has a lot to offer tourists. Attractions, a top-ranking university, outdoor recreation, gorgeous scenic views and a rich history bring many visitors to the area, which helps bolster our local economy. Another popular tourist attraction (and gaining popularity by the minute) are our area's vineyards and wine trails. (Side note: Did you know Virginia has more wine trails than any state in the U.S.?) Recently, though, we've noticed a trend emerging: wine trails expanding to encompass breweries and distilleries helping Virginia tourism. Something for everyone, right?
A wine tour in Virginia used to mean visting vineyards and wineries located in beautiful settings with classy tasting rooms. Today, visitors are adding breweries, cideries and distilleries in diverse settings and locations - from urban warehouses to rural farms - to their list of destinations.
While the drinks themselves often are the reason for visiting, savvy beverage makers and marketers have gotten creative not only with their varietal offerings, but also with how they're attracting customers. Yoga at local breweries. Music festivals at local distilleries. Polo at wineries. 5k runs through the trails. Weddings everywhere! They're offering experiences and connecting with customers and communities outside of the tasting room. And, they're consistently giving people a reason to return.
The breweries, wineries and distilleries aren't the only ones benefitting from the increased tourism. Local transportation companies and restaurants, not to mention the bed & breakfasts and boutique hotels, have all jumped on the bandwagon, creating special group deals and web site pages specifically dedicated to these tours.
We're not sure who came up with the brilliant idea of using wineries, breweries and distilleries as a way to increase tourism, but cheers to them. It's working! And, we're buying!
See also: Craft-ing Your Message
As brand specialists and marketers often working in the food and beverage industry, one element of our job is to create strong messaging that will help drive awareness and sales of our clients' products. Part of what we rely on when crafting these messages is research data.
A 2015 online Harris Poll surveyed 2,225 U.S. adults to determine what words have the greatest influence on purchasing decisions within the food and beverage industry. A breakdown of the findings...
- “Handmade/handcrafted” showed the strongest potential sway with 48% estimating it has some or a great deal of influence on their decisions.
- "Handmade/handcrafted" also was deemed to communicate "high quality" by almost 60% of the survey respondents. "Artisan/artisanal" and "custom" were voted the next best quality communicators.
- More than 1/3 of those surveyed indicated “limited edition” (37%), “custom” (36%), or “artisan/artisanal” (36%) have at least some influence on what they buy.
- Thirty-two percent stated that “craft” has at least some influence, and “small batch” trailed with 25%.
Of course, it also depends on the product you're marketing. More than half of the drinking-age respondents (52%) indicated "craft" is the best fit for beer, while only 20% said the same for wine. "Handmade/handcrafted" were marketing terms found to be best suited for foods that satisfy the sweet tooth crowd - baked goods, jam/jelly/preserves and chocolate/candy. Cheeses and baked goods are most seen as appropriate fits for "artisan/artisanal" descriptors.
There also were some differences that existed between generations. Fifty-three percent of Millennials felt that "craft" indicated high quality, while only 31% of Matures agreed. The same applied for "small batch" with 39% and 19%, respectively. Is that because more Millennials are drinking beer and wine? Perhaps. As to what terms influence purchasing decisions among these generations, "handmade/handcrafted" was ranked highest across the board. "Limited edition" was voted 2nd highest among Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers, and "artisan/artisanal" among Boomers and Matures.
Our takeaway on this? If marketers follow these research results, you'll probably see a lot more products in 2016 touted as "handmade/handcrafted." But, marketers shouldn't rely solely on research when creating messaging for food and beverage clients. The type and uniqueness of the products being sold, as well as the target audiences should be considered, as well.