Sunday, March 29, 2015

W20 Group and VinTank Settle Down


Its fair to say that I've been involved in the wine business for a long time. I'm old enough to remember Italian Swiss Colony Wine commercials in the 60's,the Judgment of Paris in the 70's, the wine cooler craze in the 80's, and the VinTech fraud that spanned both the 80's and 90's.
     Moore's Law of Wine Tech
There have been a lot of changes over the decades in this business but the pace of change has been accelerating along with everything else in a Moore's Law like exponential pace.

The internet of things today is hardwired into our life existence, right along with integrated circuits that now run our cars, blenders, and refrigerators... which begs the question, can someone hack my referigerator?

It feels almost as if the web has been around forever, and yet I still have the original email I first received from Silicon Valley Bank when they implemented enterprise wide email. The web, social media, direct to consumer sales ... those are all herculean disruptive changes and really have been around less than 20 years. But they haven't happened without blood, sweat and failure in the background.

     Pinoeers and Technology

There is an old saying that pioneers get slaughtered while settlers prosper. I have an acquaintance of mine who I first met in 1990 when he was working at the startup. Paul Mabray is a pioneer who carries more broken off arrows in his body than normal pioneers, maybe because he tried to bring technology to a traditional 4,000+ year old business?

WineDirect and its predecessor, then moving to VinTank still haven't yet made him a scillionaire. For both Paul, his right hand man James Jory, Monday March the 30 represents their ascendance from pioneers to being settlers because they have announced that the W2O Group has acquired VinTank. [link to release]

     Arrows in the Ass

While that makes me happy as a human to see Paul and James pull some of the arrows out of their asses, what makes me just as pleased is to know that the social technology platform that they have been laboring over, has now reached the place where others see that there is commercial application for the platform in this and other businesses as well. Why is that good?

Its good because since I've been around ... and we've established that's a long time, social media has been some non-descript thing-a-mabob, that has drawn thousands to conferences to learn how to attract Millennials to buy their wine, or explain how to create a brand using Facebook, syndicating content with Twitter, or finding target customers with Instagram.

Now with Jim Weiss and his crew adding their platforms, resources and skills to the mix, that is going to spell great things for the wine community, and I am really looking forward to hearing what they have in mind to help move this business forward.


What do you think? What does this mean for the wine business?

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  1. Rob:
    Since you're taking some of us down memory lane do you recall Lucy & Ethel making wine in the backyard? A classic.
    I can provide some insights into why millennial's have not become wine loyalist. Yes, they have found craft-beer and spirits more to their liking, but it's not the physical product.
    The wine industry has traditional targeted their communications to the cognitive side of the brain. Besides this problem the industry "voice" (character, tone, language, purpose) is too authoritative, complex, clinical, scientific and educational in nature. Their message has been solely targeting male behavior. Winery after winery the same wore-to-the-bone words and phrases keep showing up in wineries so-called stories and messages. They are so redundant that one can not tell who is speaking until their trademark is uncovered. So how can the wine industry solve this problem? Easy, identifying what millennial's truly value. They are trading in a "currency" based on VALUES. What does the brand stand for, or the company behind the brand. And please to do not offer them some generic BS, like luxury, interest or lifestyle. They want the brand to represent who they are down to the core, pun intended. Change the wineries / industry "voice" to one of inspiration, simple, personal, humble, engaging and the millennial's will then become wine loyalist.
    Step 2: they must support these values not through words but ACTIONS.

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