A Refreshing Morning at the North Coast WIN Expo and Conference

by Carolyn Schwartz

“So, what exactly is a Brand Refresh?” asked Moderator, Dave Trebilcock, as he looked over to the panel of featured speakers.

Ed Rice, Affinity Creative Group’s Director of Strategy replied, “It’s a makeover, and when done well, it strengthens your connection to current customers and attracts new consumers to your brand.” Christine Lilienthal, Director of Marketing for Cline Family Cellars and past Affinity client, smiled and nodded in agreement.

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the WIN Expo, Trade Show & Conference, hosted by the Wine Industry Network, at the chilly but spacious Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. As a new addition to the Affinity Creative team, this event gave me the opportunity to see the industry from a totally new perspective. It also gave me the chance to observe audience reaction to one of Affinity’s most dramatic brand transformations.

Ed and Christine at WIN

Colleague Ed and client Christine were selected to participate in the Sales and Marketing Seminar: Keys to Successfully Refreshing Your Brand, highlighting our agency’s efforts in the refurbishment of Cline Family Cellars, Old Vine Zinfandel

Affinity Creative Group was awarded this assignment in late 2016. With creative mojo provided by the Affinity Brand Design team, Christine’s marketing turnaround plan came to fruition with dramatic results. When we started the project, the product had experienced over a -14% decline. After working with Affinity and producing a fresh new label look and feel, the brand has seen a +21% increase.

Lilienthal indicated that Cline sales and marketing teams are now using this success story to open new points of distribution and get buyers who had lost faith in their Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel to give it another try. And they are.

Additionally, from a wine quality perspective, Cline also received a Best Buy from Wine Enthusiast and 88 Points from Wine Spectator.

As Christine provided words of encouragement to other producers who might consider a brand refresh, it was a pretty amazing feel to watch a past client give such praise to Affinity’s creative prowess.

This seminar also offered guidance and inspiration to attendees pondering the pathway to a brand design update for their labeling and packaging systems. Undertaking that daunting brand ‘facelift’. In today’s competitive sales environment, projecting an image from your package that clearly reflects the quality of the product and supports the brand’s positioning is essential.

However, executing the necessary steps to get there is not always as easy as it may initially seem. Lilienthal and Rice spoke in detail about the re-branding experience, revealing pitfalls to avoid and providing guidance to achieve a highly satisfactory outcome.

As a new member of Affinity Creative Group, it was rewarding to witness first hand the audience reaction to a standout example of one of our strategic/creative client programs. I’m excited to see how my ‘client-side’ wine industry knowledge will be leveraged to help Affinity’s clients, both existing and new, refresh and rebuild their brands as successfully as the agency did for Cline Family Cellars.

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