Do you judge wines by their labels? An adventure task…

While we are all taught not to judge a book by its cover, let’s get real. I’ve bought books, magazines, scented lotions, household cleaners (how can you resist Method’s packaging?) and yes, wine based solely on how the label looks.

I’m a marketing groupie. I admit it. I’m a sucker for cute, clever or crisp packaging.

As a former wine writer and still-active wine lover, I know that some gems are hidden in the ugliest bottles and even price does not necessarily guarantee “bottled poetry” But I’ve fallen in love with cheeky, well-designed wine labels over the years which enticed me to buy and try the product.

Nothing conveys a brand personality – and hints at the quality and delight of the wine experience bottled inside – like a wine label. And there are many diverse ones out there, all trying to communicate why they are good, how they are different and to stand out from the hundreds of options out there.

Your business needs to ensure its “wine label” stands out from the crowd. Can prospects tell what kind of product, service, or quality you offer right off the bat? If you don’t think visual identity or your website quality and design matters (“I offer amazing products/services. That is enough to convey my brain.”)  – think again. One stat suggests that in less than 10 seconds, you have the opportunity to lose or gain a valuable customer – just based on your website’s layout and visual appearance.

Your Slice of Adventure, should you choose to accept it:

Peruse the racks at a local wine shop or the wine aisle of your favorite supermarket.  Pick three vastly different wines based on their labels – don’t look at the price!! Just from the label, colors, font, copy – even the shape and size of the bottle – ask yourself four questions:

1) For what occasion would this wine be a good fit?
2) How does the wine taste?
3) Who is the winery’s ideal customer? Age, personality, lifestyle?
4) How much does the wine cost?

You will soon see in action how our immediate responses to visual cues tell a whole story that words never could. This is how people are judging your business: by your website, storefront, signage, product design. This is a powerful lesson in making sure all of your communication channels convey the right clear, consistent message that you intend.

And enjoy your wine. You didn’t think I’d skip the actual taste/experience test, did you? That’s the fun part.

PS, I’m also in love with unique wine/winery names, especially saucy ones. Here are some for your amusement:

Bonking Frog
Fat Bastard Wine
Spoiled Dog Winery
Kung Fu Girl, Boom Boom and The Velvet Devil from Charles Smith Wines

Please report back your findings below in the Comments – and of course tell us if you recommend the wine! Any faves you already have that you can share? Please do…

Brand Gap: What’s in a name?

More from Marty Neumeier’s great book The Brand Gap: What makes a good company name?

I love this, as I get asked this question all the time. By no means a naming “expert”, I still have put on my branding and creative writing hat for clients on this – for example, coming up with the name for Betsy Talbot’s lifestyle and travel blog Married with Luggage (plug: check out her new series on how they saved up $75,000 for their planned trip around the world.). But Marty outlines some great points on how to choose a good name. With full credit to him on this (why reinvent the wheel on great advice?), here’s the 7 criteria for a good name:

1) Distinctiveness: Does it stand out from the crowd? He says the best names have the “presence” of a noun.
2) Bevity: Is it short enough to be easily recalled and used? Or will it result it being abbreviated into a meaningless acronym?
3) Appropriateness: Does it reasonably fit the business purpose?
4) Easy spelling and pronuniciation: Tech companies in the late 90’s/early 2000’s bit it on this one. Will most people be able to spell the name after hearing it spoken at an event or in an ad (or more importantly, via word of mouth?). Marty says a name should not be a spelling test, nor should it make people feel ignorant.
5) Likability: Sorry, can’t help but think about the Drinkability ads for beer on this one…Will people enjoy using it (How much do I love saying “Bing!” now? Ask my husband…), does it have a good “mouth feel” or does it stimulate the senses/mind? If not, it should….
6) Extendability: Can you use it in different places creatively or interpretively? Does it suggest an image or visual? This will greatly help you extend the name brand in wordplay and imagery. One of my clients has the name CareerBranches and I love it as we build out her brand, logo and imagery. So much with which to play.
7) Protectability: Can it be trademarked? Is the domain available? Consult with trademark lawyer before any final selection and at last make sure the name is defendable, even if someone else is using it in a completely different industry.

Given this, I ‘m very happy with having selected Red Slice…..!