Video as an Effective Emotional Branding Medium

Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs“A brand that captures your mind gains behavior. A brand that captures your heart gains commitment.” … Scott Talgo, Brand Strategist

The challenges facing today’s wine brand marketer are daunting. In what brand communicator, Paul Wagner of Balzac Communications refers to as a saturated wine market, how do we communicate the passion to excel as evidenced by our vintner partners? How do we consistently maintain and elevate the real value of our brand(s) in today’s marketplaceSafeway wine set, everything is on sale? And, how do we create a community of passionate fans? Well, my observations tell me that the lessons that you memorized in marketing 101, and then actualized early in your careers as wine brand marketers – creating a positive consumer interaction, then consistently and credibly delivering an authentic brand message engendering trust and hopefully loyalty – have not changed. But, the methods incorporated and the mediums utilized in this age of permission marketing certainly have accelerated brand evolution, and reshaped the ability of wine marketers to consistently maintain message and elevate inherent brand value.

Don Draper, Emotional BranderVideo as a tool in brand marketing kits has been around for a long time, since the golden age of television changed how the Mad Men utilized emotional branding. But that was in a time of 3 networks and low resolution TV signals received by antenna, and shown on sets limited by CRT’s and tube technology. Now we live in a world of flat screen multi-media receivers featuring 3-400 channels delivered via cable or satellite, increasingly in an HD format. We all have our iPhones, smartphones, net books,and laptops connected to the ether of the internet via wifi or laptop broadband connect cards. FlipHD cameras have becomLisa filming Keth Hock w/FlipHD at Keefer Vineyarde ubiquitous, and the new iPhone 3G-S is capable of recording video and sound. Consumers are empowered to capture and then replicate images through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Vimeo. As a marketer desiring to incorporate innovative best practices as part of your integrated wine brand marketing tactics, it would behoove you to not only be aware of and master contemporary and evolving video technologies, but to observe others in wine biz marketing incorporating video as an effective emotional branding medium; and then, within the culture of your wine business mirror the most successful applications utilizing consumer driven video applications to deliver and hopefully maximize the dissemination of your core message.

Carl SaganVideo to effectively make a connection with our, as Carl Sagan describes, reptilian brains it must maximize emotional impact through the use of images, sound and narrative. Story matters, even more in a visual medium. Story always matters. We, as consumers, have developed keen message filters, accepting some messages, disregarding others as junk mail, or sending many directly to the trash as cynical exercises in marketing voodoo. The narrative often determines the tenure of the video, and the visuals tend to follow the story. Although, Diane Ackerman advises that “the visual image is a kind of tripwire for the emotions.” And, Scott Bedbury of Nike and Starbucks states, “Great brands taps into emotions. Emotions drive most if not all of our decisions. A branSteve Jobsd reaches out with a powerful connecting experience. It’s an emotional connecting point that transcends the product.” “A great brand is a story that’s never completely told. A brand is a metaphorical story that Blake Mykoskie of TOMS Shoesconnects with something very deep. Stories create the emotional context people need to locate themselves in a larger experience.” Within the context of wine brand marketing, to make this connection with and to make an imprint on our limbic brains, the story needs an inherent legitimacy, and needs to exhibit a ‘realness,’ to create emotional brand capital with the power to translate experience and awareness into action (purchase). Your goal in this saturated wine marketplace is to create a compelling brand identity, by using your whole marketing tool chest, including video, and by creating an emotional connection between your brand promise and your targeted set of consumers…and, then delivering on that promise. Some examples of this are Steve Jobs at Apple, Blake Mycoskie at TOMS Shoes, and now, within our own wine industry, Wilson Daniels Films.

Wilson Daniels FilmThrough luck and circumstance I had the opportunity this past week to follow Bret Lyman, of B-Napa Studio, and Lisa Mattson, of Wilson Daniels Films , shooting the Schramsberg Documentry , and to post tweets in real time documenting the Documentary. Having had the chance to interact with Lisa Mattson,Lisa Mattson w/ToxBox at Wine 2.0Wilson Daniels Director of Communications, at two Taste Live events, an Earth Day teleconferencing session with Bernard Lacroute of WillaKenzie in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and Nigel Nigel Greening of Felton RoadGreening of Felton Road in New Zealand’s Central Otago, and observing Ms Mattson’s TokBox live online discussions with Australian winery Owner Grant Burge at this Spring Wine 2.0 event at Crushpad, SF, I knew that Lisa gets it. This is someone that industry should be watching and mirroring. Whip smart, professional, accomplished and with a work ethic that is unmatched, I knew that this would be a good shoot. The bonus was local B-Napa Studio Principal and Director of Photography Bret Lyman, who first came into focus with the wine marketing community with his award winning film “CRUSH” for Don Sebastiani & Sons. Although a local Napa Valley kid, Bret migrated to New York City to work in the production of commercials, where he earned his chops in production and editing.

The Schramsberg Documentary crew at Standish Vineyards, Anderson ValleyMaybe it’s the big city experience or the Malcom Gladwell 10,000 hours to competence theory, but working with these two, Lisa as Producer, and Bret as cinematographer, editor and visual story teller provided another take on the creative process. I’ve often said, I don’t know all the answers, just most of thSchramsberg Documentry Grip Holding Tree Branch for Bret Layman shote questions. On a ride back from the shoot in the Anderson Valley, I asked about Bret’s background helping with framing the shoot. His response was on-point that although he’s a commercial editor/producer by training, his foundation is as an ‘emotional brander.’ And although there was a scene schedule outlining the shoot, Bret, reinforcing my experience with the creative process, said the scenes revel themselves as he shoots.Watching these two pros function as a unit at each location was another lesson in getting the job done correctly. And yes the resulting thought-provoking visuals were revealed as part of the process. This wasn’t a video being shot, but a real film shot by consummate professionals, capturing the visceral images and rich details at each location.

Lisa Mattson Slatting the shot for Bret Lyman at Juster, Anderson ValleyMy emotional connection with Schramsberg goes back to my days at Disney when I was promoted out of food & beverage and assigned responsibility for Village Wine & Spirits. I knew that I had to differentiate the shop to be successful. One of my plans was a wall of Methode Champenoise wines. Schramsberg was my first domestic sparkler and my best seller. It didn’t hurt that President Nixon took Schramsberg to China on his visit tKeith Hock & Lisa Mattson in Juster Vineyard Filming Schramsberg Documentaryo establish detente. Since my Disney days, I’ve visited Schramsberg on several occasions, but over these two days I had unfettered access to the backstory of people and place. Riding from Sonoma up to Mendocino’s Anderson Valley with Keith Hock, I was able to ask any question that I wanted, and was surprised to learn that he sourced 92 separate vineyards in multiple appellations in the Napa/Carneros, Sonoma Coast, Marin Coast, and Mendocino/Anderson Valley AVAs for Schramsberg. And these are not just any vineyards. In Anderson Valley we stopped at Juster, and Standish, and had a meeting with Paul Ardzrooni, Schramsberg’s Anderson Valley Vineyard Manager, in the Savoy Vineyard. After lunch at Underwood, where Keith reveled that he was a professional bike racer who lived for a period in France Keith Hock, Schramsberg Winemaker checking the Pinot in Keefer Vineyards, Green Valleyriding in races such as the famed PariBret Lyman & Lisa Mattson shooting Schramsberg documentary in Keefer Vineyards Roubaix, we headed to the Green Valley and the Keefer Vineyard. Watching Keith walk around through the vineyard, looking at the fruit, I noticed that his eyes lit up like the Sebastiani Theater marquis at dusk. He was at home and in his element. Then off to the wilds of the Sonoma Coast and the Saltonstall Vineyard, where the grapes shared space with the wind, the fog some sheep and a white border collie that keep between the film crew and his flock. The light faded before we had a chance to continue to the Hyde/Carneros location. BTW: these aren’t any vineyards, but vineyards that supply fruit to some of the most revered Chardonnay and Pinot Noir still wine producers in Northern California. Great wine takes great fruit, and with these sources Schramsberg’s quality is assured.

Riddler, Ramon Viera scene set-upDay two of the shoot was at the winery. I’ve been around wineries for the last 25 years, and there are certain cues that I observe that tell me the real story. First are the grounds, then the cellar, then bottlinBret Lyman filming shoot positioning at Jack's Block of the J Davies Estateg and most importantly the people. I came away impressed. And as I’ve said before I’m somewhat jaded. I was impressed from the start, first with Scooby of Rios Vineyard Management, to Marketing Manger Matt Levy, to Ramon Viera, the world’s fastest riddler. What I liked best when I asked Ramon about Hugh Davies, he replied that ‘Hugh is one of us.’ There’s a cultural context to what Ramon said. Hugh is respected as the boss, but this respect is reinforced by his not setting himself apart from his team. Great Hugh Davies at Schramsbergcompanies, and great wineries are the work of a team. This is a lesson that we must learn as marketers. The best wines come from an emotional connection by the team. If we can visually convey this, then our customers will bHand Labeling J Schrame part of that connection. I can’t wait to see the finished Schramsberg Documentary film from Bret and Lisa. I know it’s going to be good. When I left, Bret and Lisa were still filming, so, Bret posted the last scene shot that day on my Facebook wall, a long view of a Schramsberg cave tunnel. He said he dreamed of the shot the night before, This almost obsessive attention to detail, the philosophical mindset of this filmmaker, the creative intuition and passion displayed in B-Napa’s earlier work for Wilson Daniels Films, and the ability to draw out that essential visual narrative in consort with Lisa is so important to the ’emotional branding’ inherent in this 2 year long documentary process.

Note: Copyright © 2009 Think Wine Marketing® All rights reserved.


17 thoughts on “Video as an Effective Emotional Branding Medium

    • Dr. Dave, gr8 point. Rudy Mclain of Merlove fame, is another talented local filmmaker. He works w/Judd to produce Judd’s Enormous Wine Show, which is a great example of a small winery using video segments to make that emotional connection w/fans.
      Melove :

      We are so lucky to have this level of talent inNorCal wine country. Now, if only more wineries would utilize this talent pool.


    • So I am all about the consumer and after watching (judds show) where do you feel the emotional connection is being made with fans.. Seriously! ? Sure some will like it but are they trying to build a brand or just having fun because they have free time?

      Oh I have opinions : )

      • Keith, beauty and emotional content tend to be in the eye of the individual beholder. The laughs created by the sometimes silliness in the Judd/Rudy project have created an emotional connection with a certain sub-set of wine consumers. Laughter is a strong, if not a more immediate emotional response. Looks like you may not be in that group. While the creative idea behind my think piece is the use of visual story driven narratives, I can’t be dismissive of this more casual approach to the subject that has met w/some success. I like Indy films, some people like the early Jim Carey films – different genres, likely different audiences. I’m thinking of the old aphorism, ‘more than one way to skin a cat’, or more than one way to create images that resonate and create a bond between image (brand) and consumer. The intent of my article focused on the specific quality inherent in utilizing moving images as a way to communicate story, and not just on the more common use of winery video. An idea that came to me when watching the Mad Men DVD and seeing the Don Draper Kodak Carousel pitch scene (click story Mad Men link). I used the term video, but in fact not sure if HD images captured on solid state drives are video or film, or if a new term has yet to be coined. I choose Bret and Wilson-Daniels Films as the subjects of my piece because to me they fit this editorial focus. Bret Lyman’s visual works does tend to resonate more with me. In some ways how Bret tells a story though the creative process tends to mirror my own individual experience. And while his films are short movies they are infact narrative/story driven films. Films that tell a story that can resonate with another defined segment of consumers. BTW: As far as free time, not sure if Judd in running a wine business has that much, but why not give him a call and ask that question.

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  2. I agree about a story making us so attached to a brand or group. This is why Hollywood filmmakers do so well. It would be difficult these days to make a video to target all consumers but I suppose the wineries know their customers, right? Let’s hope.

    • Wendy, hopefully you got beyond the title of my post. If so thanks for the read and the comment. As someone inside the wine biz, you possibly have a different POV than our targeted clients. Looking at the metrics for Wilson Daniels Films on YouTube, it seems that the short documentary films have had 10,000+ unique views since their debut last Oct./Nov. And in my research I found that is utilizing the videos as part of a presentation. So, someone’s watching. I’ve utilized video/film presentations for quite awhile and found them effective in sales presentations, sales force education, national accounts training and within retail accounts where legal. But, I get it, doesn’t work for you.

      • Cork,

        Yes, you nailed it. Coming from inside the industry and living in wine country, I am not the target audience. ( I’m having a hard time imagining any industry that would capture my attention for very long.)

        It’s interesting that is using parts of the WD video as part of a presentation.

        Are there any reliable indicators telling us how long consumers actually watch the videos? After all, time is money….



      • Wendy, thanks for the follow-up comment. There are a number of tracking services that track the metrics of visits to web based sites. Alexa, Compete, StatBrain, with the best being google analytics. tracks conversations in the wine ether, and it’s my understanding they are either working on tools, or have developed tools to achieve a more focused look at the metrics discussed. Give Evan a call or go onto Cruvee’s site and ask the same question.

  3. Cork,

    I am excited and enthusiastic about participating shortly in another one of Bret Lyman’s Wilson Daniels films to be shot at Willakenzie Estate the week after next. Film is such a powerful medium and so much more personal than the simple written word that I am convinced it should be incorporated into sales and marketing strategies. Carl Sagan expressed it well: film engages our basic instinctual reactions and emotions residing in the reptilian brain. I really enjoyed your post! I have also bought myself a Flip Mino to use around the vineyard and winery!


  4. Note that you can actually watch CRUSH online (13 minutes or so).

    I agree that a good video has powerful impact. But I think there’s a lot of bad video out there.

    In general, videos fail to hook the viewer, tend to be more ego-center (as opposed to viewer-needs/interest-centric), and run far too long.

    Unless people have the basics of their wine marketing down, investing in video may not be the best use of their precious marketing dollars.

    • Mike,thanks for the read and the cogent comments. What you have to say about winery videos is sadly for the most part true. What I chose to document was the documentary film process of what I consider to be an effective use of story, image and sound to communicate story and to create a visceral connection with targeted consumers and trade. This obviously isn’t a first, or an early step for most wineries. Just like the old days focus on execution of the basics, than as your brand(s) mature increase your reach through the effective and targeted use of film (if in fact moving images captured on a solid state HD drive can still be referred to as film). I believe the difference between good and bad marketing execution, not matter the tool, is the difference between a brand with value and a bulk commodity product sold through price alone. Effective winery marketing is by nature an integrated effort seeking a planned outcome. Don’t know if CRUSH and the subsequent video produced by Bret Lyman for Don & Sons is still available through the iTunes store, but the original release was as a video podcast series though iTunes. Wilson Daniels Films are available through a variety of platforms as outlined in the article. Once again thanks for taking time to contribute to the post.

  5. Great Article on Video as a Marketing Tool and Schramsberg. I’m a big fan of both of their sparking wines. Would love to do a project with Hugh Davies someday soon. One of the goals I have in video branding is to find the comforting medium between high production value and that hand made look that everyone can relate to. Thanks again for posting another great think piece.

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