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Wine Vision: The wine trade needs to befriend consumers, says Robert Joseph

Published:  20 November, 2013

The wine trade has got to make itself more approachable, says industry commentator Robert Joseph.

The industry commentator and founder of DoILikeIt? believes the trade fails to communicate with consumers in language they understand and is missing out on opportunities by failing to master technology online.

"If we really liked consumers we wouldn't talk to them like this," he told delegates at Tuesday's Wine Vision conference in London. He called on the industry to make itself approachable, "make friends with the consumer and stop hating them".

He said the trade "keeps going on about the story" but forgets how best to carry it on and protect it when trying to talk to consumers.

Joseph believes QR codes could be used more effectively. "Most people don't scan QR codes because no-one gives them reason to. They need a call to action and should lead to a microsite." Having worked with Australian winery McGuigan on a 'scan to win' QR code project, 25,000 people scanned the bottle code and 5,000 customers went on to download a bespoke recipe ebook.

When it comes to social media, Joseph believes Twitter can be a useful tool by allowing you direct contact with some of the trade's biggest players, and by helping spread messages quite easily. Facebook can also be a powerful tool. Even small brands, and he cited Champagne Tarlant, can have a big presence online.

However he's more sceptical on the role of bloggers, saying, "their credibility's probably higher now than it will be in five years time".

With so much happening online it can be difficult to know where to target resources, but wineries can get results through using FourSquare and apps, if done properly, Joseph warned. "You need to offer something unique otherwise it's a waste of money."

Wineries need to think outside of wine in order to connect with consumers. He gave the example of some firms that have had success through affiliating with other products, such as La Motte cosmetics and Russian sparkling wine Abrau Durso's perfume.