I feel like I’m repeating myself. Over and over again. But the same issues and challenges keep popping up like my niece’s annoying jack-in-the-box.

Almost two years ago to the day, I wrote about the need for brands to put a stake in the ground, to stand out, and ways in which they could do so via marketing.

Politically, I’m disheartened that I was right. But the crux of the issue for beverage alcohol marketers remains the same:

“Many alcohol beverage brands…want to cast their nets far and wide to capture anyone and everyone that might possibly buy their product…As a marketer, I challenge brands that want to be universally appealing to ask themselves one question: ‘How am I to build a meaningful dialogue with consumers when my brand personality is watered down and, frankly, boring?’…“It’s time to commit to a point of view, carve out space and let your brand personality shine.”

It’s time to commit to a point of view, carve out space and let your brand personality shine.Click To Tweet

Yet brands, big and small, are still struggling with this. In a recent new business meeting, I was told that the prospective client’s brand differentiator is “unique” and their unique brand values are “tradition, wisdom, creativity, elegance, discovery, and inspiration.”

Can you name that brand? Would you know it was a wine brand? I wouldn’t be able to identify it either – to me, it sounds just like everyone else. And there’s a lot of everything else out there to choose from – not just wine, but beer, cider, cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages…the list goes on.

Maybe it’s because wine brands (and regions) are chasing millennials and, in their desire to connect with what researchers describe as the millennial zest for experience and discovery, marketers are missing the mark.

My colleague Matt Brehony explores this subject in his post about brand story and experience strategy. Well-worth a read.

He’s dead-on when he says that “millennial consumers can be fiercely loyal, they just don’t settle easy (this is as true in brand loyalty as it is with employment and even marriage). And while great brands in almost every sector have cracked this code, the wine industry, by and large, has not.”

To me, it boils down to this: Tell me why I should spend my time and money with you (Wine X) versus him (Wine Y). Do I even know the difference? Should I just give up on trying something new and hang out with my regular friends (Cocktail and/or Beer Z)?

But that requires a lot of energy and work. It requires a deep understanding of the common DNA amongst the family of wines, the wine region, or the country. It needs to be defined: What makes me different than my wine neighbor? And it requires being able to answer the question for a consumer: Why would I want to engage with that wine (or place) over anyone else?

Whoever is willing to do that work will break through the clutter and the noise to meaningfully connect with their audience.