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Born to Perform

Thanks to the thorough market research Wellington Wines knows how to make a lasting impression as evidenced by the launch of its Imprint Range. This is the first installment of a three-part series focusing on Wellington Wines – by Johannes Richter

This Women’s Day, Imprint challenges everyone to remember the women who’ve left an indelible imprint on their lives. National Women’s Day commemorates the historic women’s march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9 August 1956 to protest the state’s draconian pass laws. About 20 000 women stood up for change that culminated in South Africa’s first free and fair elections in 1994. Their indomitable spirit inspires the new premium Imprint range from Wellington Wines, built on an impressive wine portfolio and a deep understanding of the market.

The Wise Way Forward

When the Wellington Wines marketing team started doing research for a long-term strategy to become a dominant force in bottled and bulk wine by 2025, they wanted to break with stereotypes and get to the heart of a new band of South African consumers. With only 14% of South Africa’s adult population regarded as regular wine drinkers, old-world strategies fall short of making wine brands appealing to a non-traditional audience.

Armed with the latest Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (Wise) local market data, Mauritius du Toit, who heads up sales with years’ experience of the industry, and Xania van der Merwe, a self-proclaimed marketing geek with a consumer behavior background, joined forces with Carlen Wahl and Brendon Mitchel from the Platform5 consulting team to craft a masterpiece. They conducted extensive interviews with consumers to find out what makes them pour not only their first but, more importantly, their second glass of wine.

Knowledge is Power

Wellington Wines has always been a producer of note, and intends to continue playing its three best cards: innovation, strong brands, and a thorough knowledge of the market.

They homed in on the segments of South African consumers referred to in the Wise research as the Boujwa and Go-getters. They comprise a vibrant, ambitious and discerning set of young professionals. Tapping into a young, mostly black consumer segment far removed in culture and history from its European counterpart, required an authentic and innovative approach. Although these consumers exhibit typical decision-making behavior, their tastes are bracketed by a
strong traditional heritage on one side and cosmopolitan sensibilities on the other.

Show and Tell

The proliferation of visual social media channels have turned conspicuous consumption into a fine art, with social influencers playing a major role in setting
trends and determining social equity. These consumers know what to do with all the gizmos in a smartphone’s photo editing menu and can employ them to maximum effect. Consequently, their decision making hinges on show and tell, and weak marketing campaigns are quickly weeded out. They want to impress and be impressed. Xania has studied what attracts them, moves them and satisfies their thirst. This meticulous research forms the basis of a range of products that
effortlessly fit these consumers’ pocket and lifestyle, while carefully avoiding barriers that put them at odds with less savvy brands.

Dressed to Impress

These consumers like to see the color of their wine, hence the clear glass bottles and complementary labels. Imprint is suitably dressed to impress with a design that immediately distinguishes it from other contenders on the shelf. The beautiful floral design is no mere decoration. Instead it has deep meaning that recreates the exotic and endangered Renosterveld flora found only near Wellington. The stylised design evokes the intricate beauty of African traditional art and
handmade textiles. The floral theme continues inside the bottle. For most occasions, from informal celebrations to serious wining and dining, these consumers’ first choice tends to be trendy effervescent Muscats such as Imprint. The Muscat base evokes a perfumed garden of flavors with a full mouthfeel that’s classy but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Wellington Wines has made sure the quality is spot on and doesn’t pander to fickle tastes. These wines have been made with  strong, independent consumers in mind. As one focus group member put it, “We don’t buy entry-level wines, but we need something to enter with.” Imprint intends to be the wine that unlocks that experience.

Always On-Trend

As you might expect of fashion-conscious, up-and-coming young professionals, buying and drinking wine is an aspiration exercise. Most are still a long way off from affording their dream yacht, but in the meantime Imprint will be there to cheer them on at the Mbekwennese Annual Fashion Show (MAFS) next month.
Imprint expresses the spirit of the past and future and challenges everyone to remember the influential women who’ve left an indelible imprint on their lives.

Wineland – August 2018

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