Several years ago, presumably in a moment of weakness, the folks at Cayuse put me onto their allocation list. Not complaining, mind you – just scratching my head over it.
I love the wines and marvel at the business model – total allocation, futures sold more than a year in advance, 5-7 year wait to get on the allocation list, winery open only once a year, and so on. But the marketing is equally impressive.
A core piece is the Cayuse newsletter that hits my inbox from time to time. It’s short, brightly written, somewhat bawdy, easy to read and constantly reinforces the Cayuse story. The central character is the Frog, which alludes to winemaker Christophe Baron, a Frenchman, and to the flagship wine, the Bionic Frog.
The story of the Frog seeps into the entire Cayuse brand platform – you see him everywhere. The beauty is that it’s memorable and that it reinforces one of the key brand attributes of Cayuse – fun. As in irreverent, self-deprecating, tongue-firmly-in-cheek fun. It’s top-of-mind whenever I think about Cayuse, and bring top-of-mind is an important goal for any marketing activity.
The story of the Frog seeps into the entire Cayuse brand platform – you see him everywhere.
The lesson here: Define your story, infuse it throughout your brand and then find ways to tell the story consistently across your brand platform. Let it reinforce who you are, what you stand for and what makes you special. With more than 700 wineries in Washington State and hundreds, if not thousands of outliers competing for consumer mind-share and wallet-share, a crisp, consistent story will make you memorable in the marketplace.
Postscript: The Cayuse Web site conveys the elegant, earthy look and feel of the brand. The photos are tightly cropped and beautifully presented – a stunning representation of visual branding. As the importance of the visual Web grows, this is definitely worth a look.