Close Menu

Chris Orr comments on…. The Drive Team Concept from Brand Phoenix

Brand Phoenix has launched “The Drive Team Concept” in conjunction with Threshers.

I read recently about quite a good initiative from Brand Phoenix and Threshers. Now, anyone who has read this column in the past will know that I am not a great fan of the pricing policy that Threshers have. I don’t think I’ve made any secret of the fact that I think the discounting policy is sheer madness, but then they go and spoil all my well founded prejudices by doing something – or rather allowing a supplier to do something – that is really very positive.

Brand Phoenix has launched what it calls “The Drive Team Concept”. Essentially they’ve hired a group of sales people to travel around the Theshers and Wine Rack outlets in the UK. “The team’s function involves relationship building with all Thresher managers,” says their press release, “brand and portfolio education, POS management, pricing and marketing implementation. In addition, they will be tasked with hosting regular wine tastings and education, aimed at Thresher consumers.”

“We’re very excited with the launch of this new initiative,” comments Steve Barton of Brand Phoenix. “Thresher stores offer us a great opportunity to interact with the consumer.” And so they should be excited – they’re putting money behind influencing the people in the store that sell to consumers and the consumers who buy from them.

Apart from the fact that it’s a great thing for Threshers too – think how great it is to have someone else paying for your staff training and education, not to mention incentivising customers to come to the store for tastings – it’s a sign that some suppliers and producers are actually doing what has been traditionally lacking in the wine trade. Namely they are actively spending money, time and devoting resources to interacting with the consumer. In other words, they are communicating directly with their customers.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard agents, suppliers and retailers talk about “what their customers want” when in reality they have no idea what their customers want. They also miss the crucial point that by developing a dialogue with customers it’s not just about what they want but also how you can influence their buying decisions.

Whether it’s packaging, pricing, taste whatever, we are all – in this consumer driven age – driven by what we are told by people we have a strong relationship with. Take doctors as an example. The number of people over the centuries who have taken doctors at their word and dismissed potentially serious conditions because they ‘trust’ their GP is probably incalculable. But we all have a story about a friend or aquaintance who was told to pull their socks up and ignore a sniffle, only to find they had full blown tuberculosis or pneumonia – or some such thing.

The positive thing about such a ‘trusting’ relationship with the person that sells you your wine is that it isn’t fatal. In fact, as long as they know their stuff, it is actually positively beneficial.

What Brand Phoenix are doing is looking at how they can establish a direct form of ‘trust’ with the consumer. And that in my mind is pretty good thing. What will be even better is if they use that trust to encourage the consumer to pay a decent, fair price for a decent bottle of wine – discount and offer free.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No