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E. & J. Gallo Winery social media case study — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Evan Perkins of Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

4:30 —’s Lauren Clevenger introduces E. & J. Gallo Winery’s Marketing Manager of Global Digital & CRM at Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Elizabeth Windram.

4:31 — Elizabeth: Barefoot is the nation’s leading wine brand in revenue. Elizabeth is discussing how they are changing their content to develop a “brand newsroom.”

4:33 — Elizabeth mentions that the wine aisle is a problem for most consumers. “There are a ton of bottles, they all look very similar, and it can get very intimidating. 50% of U.S. households never buy wine. This is partly because we are historically not a wine culture, but also because of this intimidation.”

4:35 — Barefoot distinguishes themselves by being fun, accessible, and out-of-the-box. They are all about having fun, and they want to bring that fun to social.

4:37 — Elizabeth: 400K Facebook fans, 11K Twitter followers, and 100K monthly website visits. They know that engagement drives revenue. People spend 28% post-liking content on Facebook.

4:38 –They began looking at their content to ask, “How can we do better?” They target the popular wine segment (e.g. “Moscato Monday” or “Wine Wednesday”). They had to ask the questions, “Is this content shareable?” and “How can we get brand advocates to spread the word?”

4:39 — Elizabath: Our team went to Red Bull for some tips. Red Bull is a lifestyle fueled by a product. People visit Red Bull channels for the content. But Elizabeth says she doesn’t have that kind of budget.

4:40 — So she saw a big opportunity to capitalize on fun. Over 54% of adult internet users are going online to have fun.

4:41 — Elizabeth: How do they get content that is more relevant to their audience? Enter the Barefoot Newsroom. They want to produce entertaining content to give fans a reason to engage and share online. Thus, they need a flexible and nimble content machine that is ready to react to cultural happenings in real time. They need to create a steady stream of shareable, stackable, and searchable content that touched all Barefoot sub-brands. They also want to focus on breaking news, shower and long lead content. They also decided that, when they failed, they would fail fast and move on.

4:43 — Elizabeth: A theme of putting good money after good ideas. If something works organically and they see a spark, they put more dollars behind that effort.

4:45 — Barefoot works with a ton of agencies and departments: graphics, legal, tools, etc. So how does their newsroom work? They began with cultural happenings. They met once per week to present ideas and get them approved in timely matter. Ideas from a Wednesday AM meeting could be acted on by Wednesday PM.

4:46 – Elizabeth says Legal must be a friend, so they invited legal to the newsroom meetings. It was also informative to have legal there for some guidelines (e.g. what can we never do, what can we do, what is middle ground?) that they could share with their agencies.

4:48 — In summary:

  • Barefoot asked their agencies to shift in their structure. They ask them to be more nimble, fast, and to work well with other agencies, and also to be comfortable testing and learning.
  • Serialized content pillars: Barefoot created some buckets to help tag/store/categorize ideas.
  • Lastly, Barefoot did some structural redesigns: a fresh-looking blog/content hub and they created an Editor position.

4:50 – Current campaign: The idea of ugly sweaters came up. It’s culturally relevant, shareable, it makes life more fun so it meets their criteria. Also see their “Radiant Orchid” content. It’s a work in progress, but it is going well so far and they are excited to see where it leads.

Q & A:

Q: Beyond the specific things you’ve cited here, do you have additional content/PR initiatives that you are also supporting?

A: We have broader initiatives (e.g. our beach-cleaning program) and we also know that our local “Barefooters” are sharing about us in their local markets. We also use the newsroom to capitalize on sharing those opportunities.

Q: Can you accomplish all this in your 8-hour day? How can you remain nimble?

A: We can do things like a Facebook post very quickly (within an 8-hour day). Some things require more lead time, but we are challenging everyone on the team to get a good variety of content. Some can be longer and some shorter, but we don’t it all the same. This is also a good reason to get legal involved. Legal review takes so much time, so having the guidelines ahead of time speeds things up.

Q: You mentioned throwing money on things that are sparking organically. We spend money on things that are under-performing. Have you seen any success there?

A: We have done it in the past, but we haven’t seen a ton of success in it. For example, we created a hero program that did not resonate. Even though there wasn’t a spark, we put money behind it to try and force it. Ultimately, it was not very worthwhile. Our audience wasn’t interested and we feel that it wasn’t the best use of resources.

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