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London Wine Fair opens with Harpers debate on consumer power

Published:  02 June, 2014

How companies can successfully harness consumer power as the central point of their business strategy will be the theme of this morning's Harpers debate on the opening day of the London Wine Fair.

As the LWF opens its doors at Olympia visitors will get the chance to take part in and hear from an expert panel that includes Tesco, Laithwaite's and Naked Wines at the Harpers debate.

The session, which starts at 11am, will look at how technology and the smartphone in particular has put consumers in total control of how and when they read, listen or watch the information they want to see.

The debate will look at how both retailers and brands are having to completely change the way in which they look to promote themselves and engage with this all powerful consumer.

It will assess the rise in importance of peer to peer recommendations and how consumers are now more likely to listen to what friends and fellow consumers like rather take brands and retailers at their word.

Stuart Anderton, category manager for Tesco Wine by the Case,

will share some of its consumer insights and how it actively works with its customers to generate feedback, debate and help drive its wine and spirits strategy.

Robin Langton, buyer at Laithwaites' and Ray O'Connor, wine director at Naked Wines, will look at how their businesses are shaping their strategy around this changing consumer.

The debate will also draw on the expertise of branding and social media consultants from outside the trade who will look at how brands and retailers in other industries are using consumer power to drive their businesses.

These include Harpers columnist, Mark Fiddes of IdeaMotel, who has worked on brand development projects for the likes of Jaguar, Nivea and Oreo, and Neil Hallmark at Manifest London, which has helped maverick brewer, BrewDog, go as far as get its customers to invest in its business through crowd funding schemes.

The debate takes place in the Industry Briefing room at Olympia between 11am and 12.15/12.30pm.

The full wording of the debate is:

"How to make your customers your most important business assets: hear from experts from both inside and outside the wine industry how retailers, wine brands and producers are using their customers to sell, promote and drive their business strategy through peer to peer recommendations, social media, online clubs and communities."