Reinterpreting a luxury wine brand in a modern digital world
When talking about world-class luxury wines and wine experiences, regions like Napa Valley and Bordeaux tend to dominate the conversation. British Columbia? Decidedly less so. Even though wine consumption by Canadians has grown over the past decade, and sales of Canadian wine are increasing 4.7 percent annually, consumers of high-end wine (more than $60 per bottle) prefer imports. With the wines of the Okanagan Valley gaining critical acclaim globally for their quality and unique features, the Mark Anthony Group, one of the largest luxury vineyard owners in the valley, is building an immersive wine experience on par with that offered by any great wine region. This architecturally significant and cutting-edge experience is aptly named “Iconic Wineries of British Columbia” (IWoBC) and is set to open in Kelowna in 2020.
Despite its breathtaking natural beauty and its proven track record for the production of award-winning and terroir-centric wines, British Columbia’s viticulture enjoys only modest recognition at home and abroad. Restaurants across Canada that cater to high-end wine lovers see less than 25 percent of their sales going to domestic wine producers, and less than 10 percent of those wine lovers have visited the Okanagan region to enjoy its amazing varietals. With a 100 percent Canadian pedigree, the family-owned Mark Anthony Group (MAG) partnered with Astound to help educate wine lovers about the singular beauty of the Okanagan, as both a wine destination and a producer of award-winning world-class wines. To achieve that vision, Astound had to design an experience-driven commerce ecosystem that would enhance visitor experiences in the Okanagan as well as empower compelling brand value at distance.
Our strategists, marketers, and engineers completed an intensive discovery exercise to map MAG’s unique digital ecosystem, which included brand positioning, digital marketing, customer experience, and technology—uniting all consumer touchpoints, both online and offline. We developed an umbrella marketing approach that could bring the story of the uniqueness of the Okanagan to life, while supporting each winery’s place in the narrative. A singular platform is being designed and implemented to easily incorporate all the wineries, as well as the Kelowna-based “Iconic Wineries of British Columbia” (IWoBC) experience. To deliver an online modern luxury wine experience that could match the attractiveness of the wineries, our CX team designed a next-generation wine interface that will bring all of these stories to life in a compelling and frictionless way.
The digital marketing strategy employs a multipronged approach, utilizing demand and lead generation, consumer segmentation, and data analytics to acquire and engage the right audience for the MAG brands—including wine lovers from Montreal to Vancouver. Our digital marketing team is also leveraging the IWoBC brand platform in a multifaceted social media program that endeavors to cultivate awareness and encourage consumers to discover Okanagan and all it has to offer.
Armed with marketing data and insights, our experience design specialists are developing rich and flexible customer journeys that embody a modern approach to the sale of luxury wines, and building them on a single commerce platform that encompasses all of the MAG business units, including winery restaurants, tasting rooms, wine clubs, and D2C sales.
In order to compete in the complex world of luxury wines, we are reinterpreting what it means to be a luxury wine brand in a modern digital world. Our goal is to give IWoBC a pivotal role in establishing the Okanagan as a world-class wine destination producing iconic luxury wines. MAG has pledged to be the most “customer-centric” wine brand in Canada, which demands a robust set of solutions in this highly competitive marketplace. The early results are very promising and we are proud to partner with the company as it blazes this unique trail in Canadian soil.