Consumer choice reminds us that a ‘back to basics’ approach continues to have merits when it comes to wine branding in the UK market
Our latest data, collected in late July and early August 2020 in the UK, illustrates that when it comes to driving wine brand choice, UK regular wine drinkers are primarily motivated by the ‘basics’ of taste, trust and value for money.
By asking regular UK wine drinkers which attributes they most associate with a range of wine brands and which of these brands have higher purchase levels, we can calculate the key drivers which lead to the purchase of wine brands.
This evidence reminds us that, whatever the latest marketing trend might be, we should focus on the ‘basics’ of taste, trust and value for money as these are what really drives consumer choice when it comes to wine brand purchase.
There are other important drivers which are more relevant for brands in different price segments. For instance, quality and whether consumers are proud to serve the brand are, as we would expect, more important for premium brands. By the same token, wine brands that are fun and distinctive are more important drivers for lower priced brands, where conservative attributes are less required and there is less financial and emotional cost.
Paradoxically, the attributes that are less important in driving wine brand purchase are ones which typically garner more attention from within industry circle, such as sustainability and innovation. The data suggests these attributes are less important to consumers in driving purchase – or at least, overt knowledge of these factors isn’t a major consumer motivation.
Of course, it can remain important for industry practitioners to focus on these drivers – especially when communicating with trade buyers. It also suggests that some of the best innovations and sustainability progress will tend to have a supportive effect – a small but elegant improvement in a label which makes it stand out more, a slightly lighter weight glass that shaves a bit off transport costs and allows a price to be held. While sustainability achievements in particular are hard-won and therefore tempting to make a noise about, the analysis indicates that consumers may not be paying them as much attention as we may have thought.
A key follow up question from this analysis is how can wine brand owners differentiate their brand? If every wine brand in the UK focused on taste, trust and value for money, how can a new brand stand out? Additionally, there are already many big brands that are considered by UK drinkers to be doing a good job in terms of tasting good, being trusted and believed to deliver good value for money.
When considering this question, we must remember that big brands rely less on the ‘differentiation’ game and instead play one of being recognised, easy to see, trusted and reliable – more akin to the ‘friend’ that doesn’t let you down – and consumers pay a premium for this as leading brands are rarely the cheapest.
This analysis reminds us that what’s important for us as wine trade members may not always be what is important to consumers. What excites us might not be what really drives consumer choice, so we should ensure that we are truly listening to the voice of our consumers.