An enduring heritage is a great way to claim authenticity when it comes to branding. And in a country as young as Australia if you can claim a 150 year heritage you have something worth celebrating from a brand perspective. And this is precisely what Victorian winery Tahbilk has been doing throughout 2010, celebrating an esteemed history that dates back to 1860. There have been many activities here in Australia and overseas markets and it was a great pleasure a couple of weeks ago to be invited, along with 300 other guests, to a magnificent birthday dinner at the glorious Regent Theatre ballroom. It was a graceful and passionate event, very in keeping with the character of the brand. Best of all it treated us to the delights of the brand with superbly matched food and wine combination’s. The 2002 Tahbilk Marsanne compared to the 2009 Tahbilk Marsanne. A 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon compared with a 2004. Factor in a couple of different styles of Shiraz and hopeful you get a little of the picture. There is nothing quite like sitting down at a table and finding enough glassware for ten people being solely your responsibility for the evening. It was an evening of celebration and storytelling wrapped up in the ultimate sensory brand journey.
The evening was immensely personal with the Purbrick family front centre. It was their story, and it was rich storytelling. They were able to unlock powerful emotional chords that the big multi-national wine brands simply cannot. Think what it would be like if Foster’s were running a similar event for its Treasury Wine Estates. Much of the authenticity and romance of the brands in their portfolio has been poured down the drain. In a category where we have been willingly seduced for years by the blood, sweat and tears stories of founding wine makers, huge corporate structures struggle. Through their quest for scale, each additional brand acquired serves to make their brand storytelling that little bit more removed and diminished. As the authenticity and romance fades, all you are left with is the wine. Yes important, but only part of a brand’s positioning. Always think through the emotional hooks you are using, and if you have a rich heritage, protect it and consciously bring it alive in your brand storytelling.