When Francis Ford Coppola Winery's Lillian Nickelson asked attendees of our Brand Insider Summit D2C, "How many of you have heard about the fires in Sonoma County?," everyone raised a hand. Her work in customer relationship management is underway.
She assured the crowd that the winery -- and the wine -- are unaffected. "It's a matter of perception," she said, about people's concern. "The fires were really rural. There was a loss of homes and structures but it impacted less than 10% of the county."
Using texting and radio, she is sending out the message to the brand's local loyalists that the winery is open.
That's just the latest in a series of CRM messages the winery sends. For locals, it texts as a way to connect with customers, sending news of upcoming events. When FFCW gets a poor review on Yelp or TripAdvisor, she picks up the phone and calls the person to invite them back. The winery also has "Grazie" cards with space at the bottom for a staff member to write a quick note. These are mailed to recipients to bridge the digital and physical worlds.
"The idea," Nickelson said, "is that when you have a big database, you can make a personal connection and follow up with surprise and delight."
Long a place for tastings, wineries like FFCW have opened up as destinations for the experience-hungry. There is swimming, bocce, and dinners in the vineyards. The latter involves building a kitchen there and installing a dance floor.
Every guest gets a vine tag, which is attached to one's adopted vine. "You can visit your vine, you can talk to it," she said. "It's a way to impact 150 guests in an incredible way."
Her 60-person team involves everyone from lifeguards to reservationists for events to tasting associates. "We focus a lot on the culture of the company, the team and the guests. If you have a happy team and a happy culture, you're going to have happy guests."
Also on the panel, above, were moderator Jordan Cohen, CMO, North 6th Agency, Inc., left, and Keith Peterson, Global Director of Brand Marketing, iFLY Indoor Skydiving.