When Wine Future last took place in Hong Kong 2011 you had to be there to hear what was said. This week the 2021 revamped online version of the four day conference is available to us all from the comfort of our own homes. Here Gonzalez Byass’ global marketing director, Eugeni Brotons, explains some of the branding and marketing challenges that he will be covering during today’s digital and social media session.
Gonzalez Byass’ Eugeni Protons is one of over 90 speakers who are taking part in this week’s Wine Future online conference covering the big issues facing the global wine industry.
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into the drinks industry?
I got into the drinks industry from the very first moment after my studies. Once I had finished my business school in Barcelona, ESADE, I joined Martini Rossi, that eventually became Bacardi-Martini. From there I went to work first for Diageo, Miguel Torres wines after and today in González Byass, where I recently I have passed my 10 year anniversary.
So I have been working mainly in the drinks world in Barcelona, London and Madrid, except for some moments in between in which I touched other industries such as electronic, retail or consultancy. I decided I wanted to go into a career in marketing when I specialised my MBA in marketing. My personal skills, concerns or senses matches pretty much with what a brand must mean for a consumer.
You have enjoyed a number of senior marketing roles both in wine and spirits – other than budgets are there any key differences to how you go about marketing a wine brand vs a spirit brand?
Absolutely. I am really proud of my experience in both areas. In the end, spirits and wines are pretty the same, they are brands that can be supported by great liquids that must trigger a positive emotion on consumers. There are, though, big differences but these are more related to the essence of each industry. Spirits has always been very consumer-oriented and enjoys big budgets whilst wine used to be very endogamic and therefore very product-oriented, and has less money for advertising and promotion.
Do you think having worked with major spirits brands like Bacardi has given you an advantage working in wine and now sherry – if so how?
Yes, I had the opportunity to focus on the final consumer much more than what was the norm at that time. As wine is so much more product-oriented, the families that own the brands are more interested in the winemaking. They produce wines and the launch them into the market in the hope the consumer will understand and appreciate the wines in the same way that they see them. I am exaggerating a bit, but over the last 20 years ago the picture has been very different to how the industry is today.
How has your role at Gonzalez Byass and demands on marketing developed over the last 10 years?
My role has developed form marketing director to global marketing director as the company moved to a more matrixial organisation. This means more international interaction and more strategic responsibilities.
What role does digital play and is that the key area of marketing you have to get right now and invest your time and money?
Digital was key before Covid, and it’s even more vital now. I really believe in digital, but at the same time I also understand it as just part of the marketing mix. You must understand your consumer, know your brands and how you can can make them meet each other. I believe marketers are like a “dating app” between brand and consumers. Digital is now a more data-based way to promote this “dating” opportunity to the right consumer.
How do you go about truly understanding what your target consumer wants, thinks and is relevant to them?
Well, segmentation is key. This is what digital allow you to do on a massive scale. You need to look at how you can be creative both sides of the “dating” relationship: a brand that surprises consumers, understands exactly what they need (using all the data and analytical tools in your reach) and find new ways to touch them with a creative message that gets them exited and on board.
Outside of drinks industry what examples of brand marketing has really stood out for you in recent years and why?
Well there is Steve Jobs or Elon Musk that have created such renown brands that are still on everyone’s lips today and I really love. Dove from Unilever with their real beauty campaign changed something in the marketing world because they were able to bring their brand proposition to life in a very creative way.
More recently Gillette’s #MeToo activism campaign when they updated its old slogan “The Best a Man Can Get” to “The Best Men Can Be” was very powerful.
Which industry sectors do you most look at for inspiration?
There are four: beauty, gaming, cars, and whatever Apple is doing.
Why are you taking part in Wine Future?
It is a well renown wine forum and we need this kind of event to move the wine industry forward from a business and sustainable point of view. I am proud to be able to make my little contribution. My talk will be looking at how consumers habits have shifted during the pandemic and what long term impact there could be.
What are your overall hopes for 2021
Let’s look all for a better world “because there is not a planet B” as an EcoAlf”clothing brand slogan says (another good marketing example).
You can hear Eugenie Brotons talk today during Wine Future at 3.45pm GMT in a session looking at digital and social media trends along with Ben Salisbury (US), founder of Salisbury Creative Group and Michael Wangbickler (US), president, Balzac Communications & Marketing. Moderated by Luis Torres (US), chief executive, Go-Wine.
You can find out more about what is happening on Wine Future that runs online to the end of February 26.