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That’s the second part of trilogy “Sparkling marketing”. Today we are going to tell you about New World’s style of communication campaigns. Champagne has always been a privileged drink. Even today you hardly have champagne everyday. Maybe if only you are a pop-star or a royal blood. Emily Kate, wine historian, claims that champagne had been advertised as a special thing for gala dinners and such type of occasions. “It was a way for regular people to feel like they were part of the nobility, if only for a brief moment.”
The way of 30 years
But things had changed drastically as we remember from the first part of our trilogy Sparkling marketing. Part 1. The Old School. The reason was in the scandalous situation around Crystal champagne and famous rapper Jay-Z. After the economical crisis of 70ies-80ies, champagne had become a symbol of new era, young money and wild luxury, that came out to the streets, making young generation effortless. The sparkling world had changed strongly, and most progressive companies strived to the New World as they could hardly stay in the bounds of Old Europe. The point was to conquer new markets and that was mostly about USA. Last three decades witnessed several stories of success. And the key was always in searching for new target audiences. Today such houses as Chandon, Mumm Napa and Luc Belaire are talking about millenials all the time.
Cristian Yanez, VP of Estate and Wines at Moet Hennessy USA, Chandon’s parent company, is sure they need to go on working with this audience. In case they do not, they wouldn’t have a healthy brand after next 25 years.
But how its is done? Let’s find out!
New World. A bit of history
Chandon and Luc Belaire are relatively young brands, that pursue proactive strategy of conquering new markets. Technically both of them are not Champagne Houses, as they are not produced in the French region of Champagne. Sparkling wines of Luc Belaire are produced in Burgundy and Provence. And Chandon is origin from Californian Napa Valley. Nevertheless, Chandon has a very aristocratiс story. More than 40 years ago French company Moët & Chandon founded a forepost in U.S. and named it Domaine Chandon. Claude Moët founded the parent company in 1743. He was considered to be the most forethinking marketing specialist of his times. He was the one who persuaded madame Pompadour, a mistress of Louis XV, that champagne makes women look even more appealing. Since that time, the House of Moët & Chandon has supplied champagne to European Royal Courts.
However today Chandon tries to differentiate from its parent company. “At this point, our connection with our French heritage is not something we play up in front of the consumer,” Yanez says. “We were born and raised in Napa. We’re proud to be a young American brand.”
Intention to stay local gives its privileges. Even though Chandon does not get best points from wine critics, customers swipe out shelves immediately as soon as the sparkling appears. Chandon is one of the largest wine producers in U.S. Production reaches 650 000 bottles per year. The number is considerably higher than at their next counterpart Mumm Napa that have 200 000 of bottles of the same quality.
Luc Belaire is one of the youngest and most active market players. Brett Berish’s brainchild, Sovereign Brands CEO (parent company for Luc Belaire), started at 2012. Nevertheless, its hit, Belaire Rose, is in top-three for sales volumes among sparklings in all American retail nets. And all this with no advertisement and only five people marketing department.
One of the key indicators of success for both brands is their pricing strategy. 17 to 30 $ per bottle of sparkling wine gives an opportunity to reach a bigger audience. Specially young people, whose spending abilities are not that strong yet.
But why sparkling wines need that target audience? Experts say, young generation is not interested in acquiring expensive products. They are looking for brands, that can provide them with a unique experience.
There is a difference between being exclusive and being selective. Millennials want to know that they get this unique experience not bounded to the price. They get a bottle of sparkling wine, because they want to become a part of its history.
Chandon elaborated a genius “game” plan to conquer millennials. And pricing policy is only a good start. In order to attract attention, they gave a new twist on a classical sparkling packaging. Most of the wineries use a same old design at least for 200 years. Green glass bottles and labels talking about reputation of a company and quality of a product. Chandon decided to make an accent for their package, giving a bottle different colors and designs, that are easily spotted at a shelf of a supermarket.
Recently they realized an advertising campaign. Bottles had designed inscriptions like: “The Party Starts Here”, “Bring on the Fun” and “I am the After Party”. This is a great alternative to boring green bottles that you see every time at parents’ dinner. Plus this is a unique experience, revealing the identity of a customer.
There is a certain specificity of working with millennials as a target audience. It is impossible to tell them, what to do. This people get accustomed to act according to their own opinion. That is why brands need principally new strategies of communication with them. For example, Chandon spreads information about new products and proposals as if customers find it on their own. This policy is implemented through social media like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Youtube. And this method of communication is perfect as it allows a customer directly interact with a brand. This is not a one-way message, but a dialog. Since their childhood millennials used to stay on-line and send messages. That is why they always want to be engaged and have a feed-back.
Daniel Mazier, Luc Belaire Brand Marketing and Communication Manager, also bets on social media channels, support of movie and show-business stars. He states that Instagram played a special role in development of their brand.
“It’s been a great tool for us to communicate with our fans. Not just being able to share product news directly with our audience, but to have unofficial spin off accounts that are fan-managed. They amplify our content. Some of these accounts, which have thousands of followers, re-post and also create their own original content around the brand. It’s been somewhat of an informal market research tool that helps us get a sense directly from our fans on what they’re most excited about,” – Daniel Mazier.
We talked to Bogdan Danceanu, Luc Belaire European Sales director, at Bar Convent Berlin 2019, the largest professional event of the industry in Europe. He shared their current position on social media and their target audience.
“For Luc Belaire we have put tons of effort behind social media. And it brings fruitful results. Luc Belaire today has the biggest instagram account in sparkling industry. Last year we showed up in 100+ music videos with 3+ billions views at Youtube. Our target audience is millennials. And we just can’t wait for the next five years. As when they grow up, they have a stronger spending power. And they still stay with us. So I think it is about exposure. Be at social media, be at music videos. We can’t move away from traditional values, nothing wrong with that. But Luc Belaire now is a cool brand of the sparkling category. We are cool alternative and contemporary brand. And our active social media is a prove,” – Bogdan Danceanu.
Instagram turned to be not only a useful marketing tool. Also it is one of the key sale channels for the brand. Sales department follows requests for production by geo-locations, and makes distribution according to this data.
Putting an effort for strategic marketing, Luc Belaire managed to make a preliminary request for their products. Now there is no need to stimulate customers straight at the shops or supermarkets. They ask assistants for Luc Belaire first.
This marketing strategy turned to be highly effective for the company that started from an idea in 2012. And now it is one of the most active premium brands of sparkling wines at the U.S. market. Celebrities and opinion leaders played their role in this system as well.
Celebrities and opinion leaders
Movie-stars, sportsmen, fashion icons and musicians always strive to luxury and gorgeous lifestyle. Sparkling wines are inherent part of this world.
But Luc Belaire took special position here as well. Brand representatives say, they do not sign with celebrities any commercial agreements. “We simply support our friends and those who support us. We are there to help these influencers celebrate career achievements, and they know that our doors are always open to them and their extended network with no strings attached other than the expectation that the loyalty and love we show them is returned,” – claims Daniel Mazier.
Chandon policy for this direction is quite active as well. They constantly interact with opinion leaders, who have strong positions among millennials. Good examples are collaborations with Glitter Guide blog and Flat Vernacular trendy design studio from Brooklyn.
To spread news about new coming series of limited edition of sparkling, Chandon collaborated with Jonathan Adler and Momofuku Milk Bar. According to Matt Wood, Brand Director for the brand, sometimes their marketing is too much successful. Sales are so good, that for a certain period they were forced to shorten distribution – just to save some samples for visitors of Chandon winery in Napa Valley.
Eventually due to the brand-new marketing approach, both companies attracted attention of millennials and got most out of it. I fact they are about to reach their goal: make people buy sparkling wines for everyday life as well as for celebrations. By now, about 40% of sparkling sales come to Christmas and New Year. Big goal is to deploy sales through a year equally. To turn sparkling wines into nice refreshing drinks for everyday life.
Mixology is of a great help in this turns for bubbles industry. A worldwide trend for low-ABV alcohol and cocktails does its thing. Spending time in bars people want to socialise and have nice memories. Alcohol helps with this matter, but no one wants to get totally drunk. And this is a high time for sparklings to come out. Easy and nice they make you feel nice but you do not go nuts. On their own or as a basis for cocktails, sparklings are really good for bar industry! Wine producers are really glad with this, as B2B distribution is another good way to improve sales.
“We support good relations with bar industry and mixology with great pleasure. Traditionally bubble category is enjoyed by the glass, so bringing sparklings into mixology can only make situation better. We are encouraging a lot the mixology scene to top cocktails with our sparklings. The whole mixology scene that has strongly developed over the past years is only helping us to bring our products to different drinking occasions and different markets,” – Bogdan Danceanu.
Another special marketing tool that new age sparklings use – collaboration with the world of arts. Every brand in accordance to its positioning choose artists of their stye. For example, Luc Belaire supported recently Art Safari festival in Bucharest. They issued a limited edition of bottles, designed by popular international artists.
Repackaging a product – one of the easiest ways to reconstruct the whole marketing strategy. This simple action brings the whole series of global changes after. Crisitian Yanez is sure that the things are not that complicated as they might seem for the first sight. Sometimes you really need wrap accustomed product into a new paper. Yes, that sounds pretty plane. But finding a reason to sell an audience another bottle of sparkling wine is all that we need from marketing department. In case millennials change their attitude to champagne and other sparklings, we hope that the world would become a bit easier and nice.
So, looking back, we can surely talk about a birth of new age sparkling wines. They strive to conquer millennials audience and plan to grow together with them. Their active marketing strategies helps to reinforce brand image and follow their main goal – increase sales. Major markets for this brands are placed in Western Europe and Northern America, but trust us, this is only the beginning.
The universe of sparklings is not only about champagne and other drinks produced by the identical technology. There are also prosecco, cava, zelt and others. They have their own niche and certain marketing plans to rule the world. What is their approach, we find out in the third part of this article which comes in the nearest future.
This post is also available in: Русский (Russian)