A Zin Moment: Case Study of a Brand Advocate

The dream goal for any brand is to create – somehow – a set of brand advocates who go out, on their own initiative, and “evangelize” the company’s product or service. Nothing is more powerful than having customers who sell for you – this is marketing nirvana.

And so here is a story of brand advocacy. This case study is one I’m intimately familiar, because I’m the one out there giving free exposure to the brand.

I’ve written previously on this blog about Ravenswood Winery, and how the way they’ve promoted their brand has made me (and others) a fan. As I speak, behind me on my bookshelves is a little “No Wimpy Wines” bumper sticker from Ravenswood, and when I work out at they gym, a t-shirt with the same message is part of my regular rotation of attire.

Ravenswood makes a variety of varietals but they specialize in Zinfandels – hence the No Wimpy Wines tagline. They also happen to make a killer BBQ sauce called Ragin’ Raven, and here is where the story gets richer. You see, I like their Zins, but I absolutely love Ragin’ Raven, and I tell people about it. I give it away. In fact, I just sent 58 bottles of it to my clients and partners, even creating a marketing campaign for my consulting business around the theme of: Are you Ragin’ or Ravin’? Ragin’ Raven BBQ sauce has received tremendous exposure within a very high-income and influential group…why? Because Ravenswood has bribed me? No. Because I’m an advocate. Ravenswood doesn’t even know (I think) about their unofficial East Coast marketing arm who has probably bought more bottles of their BBQ sauce than anyone on the planet. And, of course, via blog posts, now there is exposure to an even wider audience.

The product is good, but let’s face it – there are lots of good wines and great BBQ sauces out there. But because their branding included the phrase “No Wimpy Wines” and a name like Ragin’ Raven, I’ve latched on and enjoy evangelizing them.

Are you trying market your product or services, and hoping to create the magnification effect of word-of-mouth advocates? Take a look at the fairly straightforward steps that Ravenswood has taken to distinguish themselves. Find a way to stand out in a crowded market, with a branding message that resonates. Can you make your brand rise above the others with a bit of fun, a dash of cheekiness, and a message that makes the customer feel like he found something special?

Later this week, we’ll look at a brand that has created something beyond advocacy, crossing the line into the cultivation of…well, a cult! (Here is the link – this post on the “cult” of Harley Davidson is published on the Marketing Profs Daily Fix blog!)

P.S. – here’s a review by someone who did a tasting at the Ravenswood winery…

(Image source – wine bottles)

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Brand Devotion: Ragin’? Ravin’?

Previously on this blog, I have discussed the branding of Ravenswood wines, which I think is exemplary. They specialize in Zinfandel, and their Zins are quite good…but there’s a secret sauce that not many people know about. Specifically, a very hearty BBQ Sauce.

Ravenswood produces, but doesn’t much promote, a killer BBQ sauce called Ragin’ Raven. I first discovered it when they had a big display at our local liquor store (the Ravenswood race car, etc.), and this sauce was available. Tried it, loved it, bought more. Ran out…and couldn’t find a way to get more!

Then, some months ago, the store brought out some cases that must have been in storage. Eureka! Did I care about the price? Not really…all I wanted was to have that Ragin’ Raven flavor again. So I bought 4 jars and found myself, at times, wondering why I didn’t buy more. Especially as we opened that last jar a couple weeks ago…

Today, I go down to the store, and what is there to greet me, but a small stack of Ragin’ Raven, with each jar on sale for $2.95! This time, there was no hesitation. I bought 24. And, of course, I raved about it to the guy in line behind me.

And that, my friends, is brand devotion. Where people love something so much that they are ragin’ to have more. When it’s so good, you can’t stop ravin’. Are people ragin’ and ravin’ about your brand?

(btw, it looks like you can order this nectar of the grill with the info on this page.)

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