Paul Englert, ’99
Vice President of Marketing, C. Mondavi & Family
Paul Englert wanted to rethink the future of the C. Mondavi & Family brand Charles Krug, the oldest winery in Napa Valley. His main objective was to make the 150-year-old brand more appealing to a younger generation of drinkers.
Englert devised a hypothesis, and he wanted a truly objective assessment. So he sponsored a project for the Booth experiential learning marketing lab course. The project was dedicated to research on the wine market, messaging to millennial drinkers, and the Charles Krug brand. Not only did the students give a thorough assessment, they delivered above expectations, exploring questions Englert hadn’t thought to ask.
In the wine industry, there are probably half a dozen agencies that companies tend to use in tackling marketing and brand changes, which means wineries tend to use similar methods of market research.
Moreover, there are plenty of case studies where marketers will come in with a predetermined hypothesis, and that bias leads the inquiry. Instead of relying on these options, we wanted to have an outside-the-industry perspective, as well as a very disciplined and objective approach. In my mind a Booth marketing lab was ideal.
What was great about the students’ research was that it approached the problem using innovative tools and unique angles, so I felt it was an intensely exhaustive market research project.
A Holistic Approach
In terms of marketing, wineries tend to be conservative, so we wondered if there was an opportunity to distinguish our brand in a way that would attract our desired target audience. We wanted to explore the idea of an in-your-face approach with part of our message, using a voice that plays well in spirits and beer but is atypical for wine.
We asked Booth students to research and answer some tough questions. Which parts of the Charles Krug story are relevant to millennial consumers? How do we go about marketing to this generation? What tone do we take? The students really took a step back and assessed the project from a holistic angle. They let the data lead the inquiry.
Relying on this approach, they formulated additional questions that were outside the original scope of the project and that I wasn’t expecting to see. Their recommendations were insightful. The showed us how we can evolve our messaging over time. For example, when the audience becomes more comfortable with the brand, we can more safely push the boundaries and expose them to edgy messaging.
Creativity Through Analytics
The biggest value added was the creativity and the passion the students brought to the analytics of the project. They were able to capture what it’s like to be in the age group we’re targeting. We still reference the findings today.
At C. Mondavi & Family, we don’t have teams of internal researchers, so having a resource like Booth that we can tap when needed is of huge value to us—we would definitely come back.