Published on agosto 8th, 2009 | by admin0
Brand Failure From The Vine.
In 1996 the Australian government’s wine authority set an ambitious 30-year sales target. Imagine its delight when that goal was reached a full two decades ahead of schedule. Between 1996 and 2007 Australian wine forced its way into markets in a way rarely witnessed in any export industry. Nowhere was this more evident than in the UK, the biggest single market for Australian wine.
However, trouble is now brewing. Australian wine production is three times the level of 15 years ago, but global demand for it is tanking. In the UK, it dropped by 18% last year, in the US by 26%. According to Aussie wine critic Jeremy Oliver: ‘The industry is in crisis – anything less than that is avoiding reality. It is interesting that nobody really saw this coming.’
Not quite true, Mr Oliver. Your humble BSI blogger predicted these problems in an article I wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007. In it I stated that Australian winemakers were ‘on the verge of an almighty strategic blunder’. Next year is shaping up to be disastrous for Australian wine and it’s not too soon to learn some lessons.
First, don’t rely exclusively on sales data to plan your strategy. Booming sales of huge fruity Shirazs and oaky Chardonnays were the prime drivers of Australian success. Many wineries looked at the figures, extrapolated their growth and made more of the same.
Unfortunately, sales data is a poor predictor of future consumer tastes. There is no replacement for recurrent qualitative and quantitative research, and without these insights, Australian winemakers have found themselves producing wine that many consumers simply do not want.