Treat your consumers like crap, some might actually like it

Why are all companies so damn polite, prudent and predictable when interacting with consumers on social media? If you don't want the rest of the world to be censured from "obscenity" and "real" feelings why do you communicate this through your brand? Isn't just "thank you so so so much for mentioning our brand!".. Just lame? Don't you think that being a bit gangsta and showing some attitude from time to time will appeal to a lot of people? Lets see now. Why do you think that the internet mainly consists of porn, racist lol-cats and angry gossip? Maybe because being nice to each other and having the right values is breathtakingly fun and interesting. Just put the vanilla milkshake and soft pillow-bullshit to the side for a while. Ok?

Warning: You will not see this blog post cited in future books about good marketing practice. It is in fact not good CRM for 99% of brand managers out there. But parts of it is at least worth a though and If you agree with any of the statements mentioned above I still encourage you to keep on reading.  

Wine consumer.png
communicate less like a parent, and more like a friend.

I remember an italian restaurant in the Gamla Stan part of Stockholm that made me think a couple of years ago. It was the only restaurant on its street that had people standing in line outside its doors every single lunch. People even came from other parts of Stockholm just to eat there. You might think that it was because the food was good, prices reasonable and the ambiance comfortable. But unfortunately this particular restaurant had non of these virtues. Its popularity - a paradox, indeed.

The restaurant was run by a proud  50+ years chef. A male italian stereotype with a large belly, often caching air outside his white sweaty T-shirt. He was the only one working the tables even during lunch hour when the pressure was high. The rumor said that he didn't trust anyone to handle his food. He spoke little Swedish and didn't care. Often you got something completely different than you ordered. And If you asked for ketchup, he would litterly through you out in the cold. The food was not very good at all. But people perceived it to be good because of his uncompromising attitude and rudeness. "It must be good, or he couldn't keep on treating his customers like this," seemed to be the general consensus.

I remember one day when I passed by, the line outside was longer than ever. The owner "Super Mario," was outside smoking a cigarette and chatting with some friends. Apparently unbothered by the people waiting in line. Just as if he was thinking "I know my food is great, and you better know that its worth waiting for"  He had a total lack of self-awareness and a lot of people loved him for it.

So what can the wine industry learn from "Super Mario?" Maybe to be a little more human when interacting with - humans. Especially in many young consumers eyes "wine" is something spontaneous and a bit crazy, not unusually leading to fun stories the next day. Why not implement the virtues of spontaneousness and uncensored authenticity in your wine brand. in short, to communicate less like a parent, and more like a friend. But lets talk about that in some future blog post. Today its all about capitalizing on treating your consumer like crap.

In general the wine industry treats its consumers like crap anyway

The wine sector today is not listening to its consumers. It is rude to dictate how consumers should enjoy their product to be accepted. It is rude to keep on nagging about stuff like terroir and regions, stuff that most normal consumers couldn't care less about. Why can no one go "all in" in this approach and actively and openly treat its consumers like crap. In general the wine industry treats its consumers like crap anyway so why not just do a full "Super Mario" on them. 

Why you should treat you consumer like crap:

Brand loyalty will inevitable be low - brand exposure and earned media, inevitable high

Brand loyalty is not going to skyrocket but the wine consumers have a low brand loyalty anyway so it doesn't really matter. Can you imagine the surprise of being treated rudely by a wine brand on the internet? Some consumers will feel slightly offended but i suspect that the brand will win some substantial followers just like "Super Mario" did. How will I be offended next time? They might curiously ask themselves. If this strategy is managed right friends will be buying your wine brand to each other and at the same time encourage to mention the brand in social media, and see what happens. Brand loyalty will inevitable be low, brand exposure and earned media, inevitable high.

Convinced? This is how you implement this strategy:

I imagine that to successfully implement this strategy you should create a new brand from scratch. And have a story that explains why the communication from the brand is so rude. Maybe the office is in Paris (Everybody knows that Parisians are rude) or maybe the owner just like the "Super Mario" example enjoys a total lack of self awareness. You make your own story. Arrogance is key. But in what way is up to you.

When you have the right story you can start interacting and building a following of people interested of what the heck you are doing. First of all. To be able to respond and interact with consumers mentioning your brand at all you need to monitor the conversations about your brand in social media. If you represent a winery I suggest you use the free services from VinTank. When a consumer mentions your brand in social media you generally should respond the same day. Maybe you say something rude at first and then schedule for an apology a couple of hours later? Try to be unpredictable and always have in mind that your objective should be to get your answers shared. 

I'd love to hear your take on this strategy, so please give me your comments. Just remember to think twice before starting to tweet obscenities to your most loyal customers. These are two hands down tips on how you can apply this strategy on for example Twitter.

Consumer tweet: "Had a super tasty wine from (insert winery) just now!"

Brand answer: "Immediately stop mentioning our brand in Social Media! As part of our strategy we do not want to be associated with you" 

Consumer tweet: "Trying to drink this terrible wine from (insert winery)"

Answer: "Thank you for your comment. You have now officially made a shame of yourself showing 340 of your followers that you know nothing about good wine"