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Richard Siddle: comment, January 30, The gospel according to the Famous Five

Published:  30 January, 2012

As the industry takes a collective intake of breath for us all to plan our respective budgets for the financial year ahead, who better to guide us in our efforts than the collective thoughts of the BWS chiefs at each of our major supermarkets. The Famous Five if you like.

Between them they sell over 80% of wine and spirits in the UK so it would be worth your while to familiarise yourselves with what they have to say and what they think of you. The full transcript is only available to subscribers to Harpers (whatever better time to renew your subscription!) but their conclusions make fascinating reading.

A couple are very familiar to the wine and spirits world, but three are relatively new in to their roles having come from different sectors like frozen food. Fascinatingly when asked what the wine trade, in particular, can do better, they all have roughly the same overall wish. Namely, for the wine trade to be able to change its mindset from being fixated on the product and what is in the bottle, to the needs, interests and shopping behaviour of the consumers they are ultimately trying to reach.

Stop looking as your career in wine as a lifestyle, but as a serious, hard business firmly focused on delivering what your clients and customers want, is their collective call.

There will be many in the trade who are already well on this journey. There has never been a greater need for businesses to revaluate and even reinvent what they are doing. The dynamics of this sector are changing so fast, simply doing well in what you have always done is no longer good enough.

How we can all better understand how the overall consumer is changing and what are the practical communication tools and skills we need to talk to them is the theme of our next consumer forum to be held on March 22 in London, in conjunction with consumer wine website, This will be an event designed not to point fingers but offer practical advice and skills from outside communication and consumer trends experts, to take back and use in your business.

The day will feature break out workshop sessions where we can all take time out to share our own experiences of what is working and what we can all learn from each other, as well as outside expert consultants and taking a more effective message to the consumers we are trying to reach.

The sort of skills and experience our Famous Five would applaud you for embracing and making an integral part of the way you do business in 2012 and beyond.

* If you would like more information on how to sign up to the consumer forum on March 22 then contact me at