Being a powerful brand in a category as complex as wine has never been more important. Unfortunately, building that brand relationship in the consumer’s mind is getting harder.
What makes a wine brand ‘powerful’ from a consumer perspective? Building on the latest thinking in branding theory, we developed the first Global Wine Brand Power Index in 2018. This index was calculated based on the feedback on six key brand health measures from 16,000 wine consumers across 15 key global wine markets. We calculated a power rank at both a country level and a global level, with the individual market scores weighted to be reflective of each market’s size (by number of consumers).
The 2019 study brings an expanded scope and, we believe, a more complete picture of brand power in the wine category. We have advanced the index by adding an additional five markets, with the global index now representative of 390 million regular wine drinkers. Additionally, the Global Wine Brand Power Index 2019 is also tracked against last year’s study to measure how top brand performance compares with 2018. While the expansion of country scope has no impact on results at an individual country level, the weighted global wine brand power score is now based on a broader scope of countries than before, which we believe improves the quality of this measure.
In terms of what has changed, there is a consistent and overall drop in the calculated Global Wine Brand Power Index score itself from 2018 to 2019. This has been driven by one key shift: the ongoing decline in wine brand awareness amongst wine drinkers. Latest academic thinking suggests consumers are being influenced by a process called cognitive off-loading, where we rely increasingly on instant, online resources to retrieve information as and when we require it.
This leads to a reduced need to store and remember as much information in our brains, as a ‘mega-encyclopaedia’ is now available at our fingertips via our smartphones, diluting the need for us to commit less necessary or important facts and pieces of information to our memory. One empirical data point from our tracking studies bears this out: across most markets, consumers are aware of fewer wine brands than they were 10 years ago, despite a rising involvement level with the category.
For the moment, this change in consumer behaviour is not having much of an effect on the power levels of the global elite of wine brands. For the second year in a row, consumers have ranked Yellow Tail as the most powerful wine brand globally, followed by Casillero del Diablo. In general, Australian and Chilean brands continue to over-achieve in terms of wine brand power in relation to the size of wine production in these countries. Additionally, US brands continue to have a strong presence in the Global Wine Brand Power Index, accounting for six of the top 15 most powerful wine brands in 2019 across 20 key wine markets, primarily driven by strong shelf presence in their home market.
In addition, notable climbers in the index are Jacob’s Creek (up 4 places to #3=) and JP Chenet (up 3 places to #5), the latter brand benefiting from its strong position in Belgium and Netherlands, newcomers to the country scope of the Brand Power Index. Fallers include Woodbridge (down 6 places to #10) and Beringer (down 3 places to #11), both of which have been likely impacted by the expanded country scope that down weights the impact of the US market, where both brands are strongest, as well as cognitive off-loading.
One warning sign of cognitive offloading may be observed in the index scores that are required to be in the global top 15. Last year, an index score of 29 (out of a possible 100) would not have been good enough to get you into this chart; this year, it would get you 14th spot.
For more information, please see the Global Wine Brand Power Index 2019 study.
Author: Emily Carroll