This is the latest in a series of posts that explore how we help wine brands differentiate themselves in the most competitive wine market on the planet.

Tchotchkes, swag, call them what you will. To create a memorable and visual experience for a wine brand, promotional tools at the point of sale are essential.

However, consumer giveaways tend to be cheap throwaway pieces to fill giftbags and use as event displays. POS has everything to do with how a brand is remembered. Conceptualizing point of sale materials should be done thoughtfully and can yield great results for a wine brand.

Over the past decade I’ve worked on the design and development of dozens POS items – from BBQ sets to recipe books and custom cartography — and plotted the distribution of thousands of POS materials across the U.S. They’ve even wound up for auction on e-bay!  Below are a few essential factors to keep in mind for an effective POS program.

To create a memorable and visual experience for a wine brand, promotional tools at the point of sale are essential.Click To Tweet

Quality

Well designed and high-quality POS is worth the investment. The wine trade love it because they cannot usually invest in pricey materials for point-of-purchase promotions. Being provided with beautiful maps, fun store signage, kitchen tools or giveaways for tastings represent an added value for their customers and helps the on/off-premise differentiate themselves from their competitors. Don’t be the brand that gives away yet another 25-cent corkscrew that breaks after three uses. The quality of your brand’s take-home items should reflect that quality of your brand itself.

Planning ahead

Designing POS materials takes time, and a lot of input from a large team. There are a lot of factors to consider and some of them can cause serious snags. You’ll want a production timeline of, at minimum, six months to give yourself vendor and supplier options. Purchasing larges volumes of POS in China, for example, can save you thousands of dollars but also requires three-month shipping timeframes and two-month delays around Chinese New Year when factories are shut down. Likewise, creativity is difficult to produce on demand. You’ll want to give ample time to designers that you work with to find inspiration and noodle on the look and feel of a new POS piece. This is not the time to rush. Even though it’s only February, now is the time to think about any holiday-themed pieces you might need come November and December.

POS should make sense for your brand

It’s easy to wind up with a warehouse full of items that are hard to use. All your POS items should ladder up to your brand’s key messages and objectives. If you work with a wine brand that is food-centric, then think about POS that ties back to the kitchen and encourages wine lovers to buy a bottle for a quiet weeknight dinner at home.

Make your POS items easy to use. If you are running a multi-market tasting program with various chain retailers, then remember that your POS should be easy to package, ship and display (shipping heavy materials will add thousands to your budget) and absolutely easy to assemble (if you send store signage accompanied by lengthy instructions, it will never leave the box! Store managers don’t have time for that).

Invest the time and budget in customizing POS for trade channels rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. If sommeliers are a key audience for your programs, take the time to find POS that they’d find useful (a TSA-approved corkscrew that can go in carry-on luggage for example). Each POS items’ connection to your brand’s purpose should be crystal clear. A cohesive strategy will save you money and time in the long run.

How many branded corkscrews to you have at home? I’d love to see them via @colombiana.eats.

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