The 2nd ingredient: Differentiation
It is disastrous for a brand to copy another brand and there is nothing as annoying as a copycat, whether a person or a brand. But what if your story and your associations are so strong that copying the brand would be perceived as impossible. What do Nike and adidas have in common? The product, not the brand. The weirdest part of branding is that you can easier copy the product than the brand story.
Be different but not just different, different in a relevant way. For instance, a green fingered, nature and scent loving person would not have a favorite brand if it weren’t for Body Shop. However, if you add to these characteristics a very ecological person, this person will sooner turn to Lush than Body Shop. The two brands are different from each other in a relevant way to the target group.
Differentiating a brand of wine
Wines in Croatia, just like in other countries of the world need to come from well known wine regions and have a long heritage.
While working on a brand of Istrian wine, one thing I noticed so poignantly – the power of the unique Istrian white soil. The white soil is the reason this wine is fresher, more mineral and feels like fresh breeze on a warm spring afternoon. The wine is the blue skies above raining fresh rain or the yellow sun beaming its rays on rich vineyards, and deer skipping to and fro and the rich grapes hanging on willowy vines. All of this is Bastian, wine named after the saint of the medieval town of Buje. Buje has been keeping a watchful eye over Istria for centuries. Since the Middle Ages, the town has been known as the “Guardian of Istria”, protecting the endless vineyards and olive groves, and thus the lives of the locals. The view from Buje stretches from green Istria, to the blue Adriatic, and extends all the way to the white capped Alps. This God-given position protects people from danger, because Istria has long been the target of invasion, precisely because of its valuable land. Over the course of time, these various invaders tried to usurp the local’s ownership of this beautiful region.
Here, everyone, from the ancient Greeks, Histrians, Romans, Italians and Croats, was engaged in the cultivation of grapes in Istria. As a result this place has rightly been considered the best for growing grapes and making wine. Many people have come to know Buje’s special position, the peculiarity of its white soil, its height, clean air, and resolute, deep roots that search for water, and the alternating sun and rain, all of which result in wines with a refreshing taste. These wines are reminiscent of a fragrant spring morning after a rainy night. The notes of each wine are cleaner, fresher, more mineral, and have richer aromas.
Standing on the slopes and tops of these vineyards, or in the old town walls, we get the impression of freedom that inspires, making us leave the everyday. We preserve what is important and valuable and work devotedly on the white soil that rewards us with top quality wines.
Inspiration from stone
Another wine brand we worked on didn’t come from the famous wine region or from a long time ago. It was a new wine, from the island that was two centuries ago a great place for producing wine. But if you ask me, this was a very poor beginning for a brand consultant. The most important part for us was that the wine was truly excellent owing to the excellent climate, soil, position, weather conditions and the expert enologist.
We needed the point of differentiation that would help our client with international distribution. Their aim was to be distributed in Europe, USA, Canada, even Japan. Our question was how to break through the ever increasing and highly competitive international market in the high-medium price range. The answer was easy. Find one distinguishable mark that sets this wine apart from the rest of the wines in the market.
We started reading; we did quite a lot of research about the island called Brač. It was such an inspiring task to find amidst the beauty of this island the reason why anyone would want to buy this bottle of wine. Croats are really spoiled that way, we pick and choose excellent wine from islands that seem like the most beautiful thing you have ever seen until you hop onto the next one.
Research of Brač brought us to the conclusion that this island is unique and well-known owing to its white stone and its artists. Brač is the birthplace of many famous Croatian poets, novelists, sculptors, and painters.
The stone is the source of inspiration because of its beauty, but it is also the symbol of everyday hardship involved in cultivating wine by working in a field full of stone. Therefore, the name Stina meaning stone was chosen because it is one of the symbols of the island.
We created a way of combining the two unique elements, the white stone and the artists, into one story.
Our brand story is about inspiration. Stina is an inspiration. Stina awakens the creative spark that sculpts from a block of stone, paints on canvas or writes poetry on paper. It takes an artist to create a wine of opulent flavor from a field of stones. Stina is Brač. Brač is Stina.
The Stina label represents a block of stone inviting the sculptor to sculpt, it is an empty canvas inviting the painter to paint, it is a piece of paper inspiring the poet, writer or musician to write a poem, a story, or compose music.
The blank label inspired consumers with curiosity at wine fairs or at shops resulting in people taking the bottle and reading the story at the back of the label. The story explained the philosophy of the brand. Our client was satisfied because their point of differentiation was so blatantly obvious and the reason they started exporting to 9 countries (even more than planned at first). The winery became well known in the wine circles globally and featured in Michelin starred restaurants.