Summit Estate Wines is one of the better known wineries in the up-and-coming Granite Belt wine region. As the northernmost winery, it benefits from being the first stop on the tourist trail for visitors entering the Granite Belt from the north, such as Brisbane, Toowoomba and Gold Coast.

Summit Estate Wines was purchased by a large group of specialist doctors as a passion project – something to provide an escape and mental stimulation away from the rigours of their high-pressure jobs. After years of stability and success, including multiple trophies, James Halliday 5-star winery designations and dozens of medals, the business went through a rough patch when their winemaker resigned at short notice.

After the business recovered from its difficulties and resumed normal operations, the board resolved to put more emphasis into developing a sound marketing strategy, to build Summit Estate into the leading winery it had the potential to be.

The task

Our task was to create and deliver a comprehensive and achievable marketing strategy to allow Summit Estate to confidently pursue their goals over the coming years.

In order to do this, we first had to become intimately familiar with every aspect of Summit Estate’s business, as well as the Granite Belt region in which they operated. The region had its own government tourism body, Southern Downs and Granite Belt Tourism, who undertook its own marketing and promotional activities on behalf of the region. Granite Belt Wine Tourism Inc, a member-funded organisation, also operated in the region specifically in promotion of the Belt as a wine destination.

Our solution

Both the region and the Summit Estate businesses had long histories and unique philosophies; it was vitally important to dig into and understand these in order to be able to conceptualise its future. We did this by reading extensively, visiting and staying in the region, and interviewing those who could shed light on its characteristics.

Once we had a thorough understanding, we set to work on creating the strategy. We started by detailing the characteristics of the industry (both wine sales and tourism), the key competitors, the basis of competition, and Summit Estate’s position within this milieu.

Using this understanding, we turned our attention first to the brand. The Summit Estate brand already had a good logo and slogan; we filled this out by adding in the non-visual aspects such as a deeper understanding of the brand’s personality, metaphors and key messages. We also created an expanded colour scheme with a mood board. We then translated this deeper understanding of the brand into a product strategy (effectively an extension of the brand), covering varietals, names, pricing and other relevant factors.

We then examined Summit Estate’s revenue streams, both in terms of making suggestions to improve the effectiveness of existing streams and suggesting new streams that may be immediately incorporated using the existing infrastructure already in place.

Finally, we turned to the central and most critical aspect of the engagement – providing a detailed roadmap of the marketing and advertising initiatives that would propel the operation forward. We detailed a range of strategies both traditional and digital, some of which were particular to the winemaking industry (attendance at wine shows and wedding expos, for example). We identified that many of Summit Estate’s competitors were yet to fully adopt a digital marketing strategy; many websites were simple and outdated, and there was almost no competition on Google Ads for some very lucrative keywords. We also identified several key industry influencers (both in the online world and the ‘real’ world) and recommended an approach to open a dialogue with them.

Key takeaways

  1. Before undertaking any engagement, and particularly a marketing strategy, it is essential to take the time to understand the business and the environment in which it operates in intricate detail.
  2. Each industry is very different; there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing (if you want it to make you money that is!)
  3. Brand, competitive environment and advertising strategy are all inextricably linked. To ignore the first two is to guarantee the failure of your advertising.

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