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Digital Engagement: Developing Character to Build Real Connections

Digital marketing agency, Groove, uses the basics of storytelling to engage wineries with their target audience

“It’s about developing character,” says Sean Dunn, CEO of the Sausalito based digital and social marketing agency Groove. Groove uses digital engagement  to help wineries find and form a connection with their target audience. The word “audience” is key, as Dunn approaches his work very much like a writer develops a story. He explains that a brand  must be authentic, just as a character must be believable, well rounded, and true to their image. “I spend a lot of time looking at a brand and asking if they are being authentic to the character that they have created,” says Dunn. He urges his clients to ask themselves, “What is the promise of who I am and am I living it?”


Dunn says that wineries in particular need to take this kind of intimate approach, due to the nature of the product. Producers cannot expect to appeal to the masses, and therefore should not be targeting them. “Wine has a finite audience,” Dunn reminds us. “There is a finite number of bottles and cases available, so we must tell very focused niche stories.”


Wineries also cannot rely on the quality of their product alone. “Quality is almost a given,” says Dunn. “Especially in Northern California.” So, Dunn searches for that specific demographic of current and potential customers and engages them.


"We try to work directly with consumers to try to figure out what the connection is with the brand and then we communicate that out to distributors, trade marketers, sommeliers and restaurateurs," Dunn says.


Wineries using Digital Engagement can expect to find a better, more loyal consumer base by reaching further than the tasting rooms, mailing lists, and wine clubs. They can also find the tools to keep those consumers active, with Wingman, a tablet-based, "comprehensive, completely customizable digital sales book," according to Groove's website. You might call Wingman a continuation of Groove's focus on storytelling, as sales representatives can use it to pick and choose from tasting notes, accolades, and even winemakers' videos, to convey a customized brand image. "You pull in what you think you need to tell that particular story for that particular account," says Dunn.


Dunn says that, through Groove, "wineries have seen a 10X increase in online purchases, increased tasting room traffic and more consumers attending winery events." This reinforces the "connective tissue" between the brand and its audience and strengthens the authenticity that is crucial to consumer relationships as well as the character of the winery.




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