Commentary

Building The Coppola Brand Experience

Francis Ford Coppola Winery today announced the opening of a new winery, Domaine de Broglie, in Willamette Valley, Oregon. It’s not every day breaking news happens at MediaPost events. But this morning, Janiene Ullrich, EVP, direct to consumer at the winery, told the Brand Insider Summit D2C audience about it.

”Francis has an appreciation for the sciences,” she explained, and named it after Louis de Broglie, who won a Nobel Prize. “Francis had wanted to be a scientist as a child.”

MediaPost’s Steve Smith noted this is ”not your typical wine marketing. In fact, it’s the opposite of everything being done today, letting the consumer tell you where to go.” Instead, FFC Winery is bringing consumers to places they didn’t know they want to go, he added.

“Our D2C Club is at the core of what we do,” Ullrich said. There are clubs at each winery and at FFC Winery, there is a pool, restaurants, a pavilion for events and even bocce ball courts. The brand’s main point of contact with consumers is the winery in Sonoma County, California. More than half the club’s members live in The Golden State. Following that, emails reach the rest of their consumers.

FFC Winery collects data through its tasting room, ecommerce, the club and layers on points of sale and reservations for the pool. “A good thing about being in a highly regulated industry is that we have to get a birth date. From there, we can get purchase behavior.” 

With the help of an agency, the winery did an audit of its data sources, KPIs and methodology. It found that D2C, which it has always been, was the most profitable and learned it needs to get people to come to the property and to build awareness.

One of its chief acquisition channels is a rewards program launched last year that gives buyers points and gives the winery more data.

The brand’s most important element is family. It’s at the heart of everything the famous movie director does, Ullrich said, talking about the resorts he has opened in Belize, Guatemala, Buenos Aires and his family’s hometown, Bernalda, Italy.

Smith then asked, rhetorically, “So no ‘Godfather’ theme park with Fredo boat rides?”

An illuminating story Ullrich told involved Corey Beck, the former head of winemaking at FFC. When the eponymous owner wanted to put wine in a can, he asked his winemakers to make it happen. They sent him an email outlining why it would not be possible. And received a one-sentence response: “Don’t be the roadblock to great creativity.” Wine was produced in a can, and Beck is now the CEO of FFC Winery.

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