I just checked out the Stormhoek (a South-African winemaker) site after seeing Jeremiah Owyang‘s interview with their web-strategist, David Parmet. Very impressive. Its main ingredient is a blog, with recommended posts and notable conversations lists featured prominently (a good idea seeing as it’s unlikely visitors go there on a regular basis or will want to spend too much time scrolling down…) Aside from the blog, there are links to a Facebook group, YouTube channel, and Flickr account. Their approach really does tick all the boxes, from making the blog fun and personal in an effort to ‘humanise’ a traditional product (and create a story around a product which, frankly, doesn’t do much); to using all the popular social media sites to ensure maximum reach, viral potential, and enable user-generated content; and using fun gimmicks to entice users e.g. if you take a picture of yourself with a bottle of Stormhoek in the UK, you can enter a prize draw.
Mostly I like that Stormhoek shows that web marketing can work in very traditional industries (Parmet says that sales have doubled in the last year.) By being a little more fun, creating a story, and encouraging people to get involved, Stormhoek have managed to differentiate themselves from the competition; and the next winemaker that goes down this road is now merely going to be ‘copying’ Stormhoek. And what’s more, their approach is another slap in the face to those condescending traditional marketers who are adamant that since most people still aren’t super web-savvy, web marketing only works when the target demographic is prepubescent.
On a final note, for their sake, also hope the stuff tastes decent! Suspect so, seeing as they are encouraging user-generated content. Would be pretty silly to devise such clever marketing and positioning to then have people buy a bottle, vow never to buy another, and tell everyone on the Stormhoek site itself. Clever marketing can not make up for a poor product, especially when there is so much good wine about.