Grow Your Brand by Telling Your Story

You know you need to tell the story of your brand, but do you know why? For one, it can't be stolen Lisa Prince of Wieden + Kennedy told a room full of Oregon winery owners and their employees. Her argument is solid. No one else owns your unique story. If you can dig it out and tell it in a compelling way that connects emotionally with your customers, you're well on your way to building brand loyalty in a very crowded marketplace. But how do you find it?

"Great wine will keep you there but the story brings them to you." 
Sara Schneider, Sunset Magazine

How to Find Your Story

Start acting like a sleuth to sniff out your own story. By that, you try asking yourself or people on your team some questions. Panelists from the "What's the Story? Differentiating Your Brand Through Storytelling" panel suggested these questions to help you uncover your great brand story:

Look in past

How did you get started and why?
What did you do on that first day in business?
What was your first big success?

Look in the present

If we took away all the money, why would you still do this?
What type of people are drawn to work with you?
When you're firing on all cylinders, what are you like?

Look in the future
If money was no object, what would your future like?
What businesses do you admire and why?
What does your winery look like 10 years from now?

How Big Table Farm Found their Brand

Oregon winemaker Clare Carver says for her winery, Big Table Farm, a lot of it came from asking the question: What is in your heart?  At Big Table Farm in Gaston, OR, they don't have a tasting room. Instead, they do tastings in their home.

"I think actually telling the story is the easy part. The hard part is defining what your story is."

Uncovering her brand story, started by finding a name. Clare explains they have a big table where they do pretty much everything. To hear more about turning a table into a brand, click here: 


Making wine since 2006, Big Table Farm has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Wine Spectator, among others. Clare's best advice to others trying to find a brand and develop a story is three fold: 

1. Follow Your Heart: Advice that could also be read as "follow your gut." If it doesn't feel right, Clare says she doesn't do it.

2. Be Flexible: At Big Table Farm there's no business plan. She and her husband sit down at their kitchen table occasionally and write down their goals, but like true artists, their business is simply unfolding.

3. Connect with your Community: An avid user of social media, Clare connects with her customers, her neighbors, her peers and her influencers through platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

Be Authentic

Once you've uncovered your story, there's one more word of advice on brand building from Michael Dorf, founder of City Winery. He started a combined music and winery venue in New York City, which has opened locations from coast to coast. Michael says to build a successful brand, a winery needs to be authentic.

"People care about where their products come from. Here in Oregon, you have intangible authenticity in spades ... from the terroir to the deep concern for the farming processes that go along with it."

With more than 600 wineries in the state, you might be looking at your neighbors as competition. But your Oregon roots could truly be a competitive advantage. Just remember, you can't just make great wine. You have to be yourself and deliver an authentic experience.