Move over, Bud Light. There’s a new kid in town, and it’s in a tall, stemmed glass, probably shouting, ‘Yes Way, Rosé!’ on Instagram.
New studies have shown that Millennials are taking a greater interest in wine over beer, slowly carving away market share from big names like Anheuser Busch, Miller-Coors, and Heineken, as well as the craft beer category.
In fact, 21+ Millennials (also known as Gen Y) have been shifting away from beer towards wine and spirits over the past two decades, according to recent data from Barclays’ Bank analysts.
A study from Wine Spectator showed Millennials consumed a whopping 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015. That equated to almost 50% of all the wine drunk in the United States annually, a significant increase in wine consumption over any other generation.
The success of the wine industry-from big brand names, to small lot and emerging brands, has primarily stemmed from two factors: their effectiveness in connecting with the Millennial females, and more importantly, sharing the history and heritage that comes with wine. In two words, it’s what we in the marketing world refer to as The Story.
Having developed to-market strategies on behalf of wine and spirits brands for nearly a decade, this increase in demand for truth and transparency comes as no surprise. In a time and place when mass media and advertising have saturated the market with ad hoc, paid celebrity endorsements, and social media ‘noise’, a consistently reliable way to rise above the chatter is by sharing real stories that others can relate to.
Smart brands have learned quickly that storytelling, as well as transparently connecting that story narrative to their ideal demographic, will positively affect sales and deplete inventory, and can prove highly beneficial to generating brand loyalty. Tito’s Vodka is a perfect example of this, and their loyal following and demand show no signs of slowing down. Naked Wines has seen much success in using transparency and stories to sell their wines, while Wine Sisterhood has for many years curated visual narratives to attract a loyal, heavily female consumer following.
When brands lack a heavily staffed marketing department, a multi-million dollar ad budget, or simply choose to seek a more innovative way to drive brand awareness and demand, sharing the origin and history behind a product can be a rewarding and reliable way to reach buyers’ hearts and wallets.
By developing an emotional connection with their customers, brands provide value and relatability that can impact a consumer very early in the decision making process. Science has long proven that early, positive exposure to a brand early during the customer buying cycle can substantially enhance the likelihood of purchase, and also plants the seeds for consumers to share your story through word of mouth with friends, family, and their circle of influence.
As a product category, the US and international wine markets are ideally positioned to take advantage of this uptick in demand for authenticity and narrative based content. However, if you’re not in the business of selling wine, fear not-there are still opportunities to be had. Whether you’re in the snacks business, selling a tequila, a whiskey/whisky, a peanut butter or an RTD, the challenges you face are similar, but can be overcome.
First, focus on communicating your story in 1) a way that they can relate to, and 2) ensuring you stand out as different or unique from your competition. The third step is consistency-remaining top of mind, and visible, wherever (on social media, at a local restaurant, in an airport shop, or in corner store retailer), and whenever the purchase may potentially happen.
When wine marketing to Millennials, remember to position your product as a solution to their needs, in a way that is unique and helpful. These efforts will go a long way toward the success of marketing your product or brand. Choices are abundant, and effective stories and narrative marketing will not only help to educate the consumer on what your product or brand is about, but also what the appeal is, and why they should choose you.
If you want to achieve campaign success in wine marketing to Millennials, ask yourself, “What story am I telling? To whom am I telling it, and why should they care?” Your long-term success will very well rest in the answers that follow.