The thinking behind Peter Lehmann's new brand platform and strategy

Global marketing manager shares insights into the premium wine category and the push on trustworthy brands

Seeking to address growing consumer demand for familiar, trustworthy brands by highlighting its rich history as an premium Australian winemaker has led to a new brand platform from Peter Lehmann’s parent company, Casella Family Brands.

Peter Lehmann is the priority brand among a seven-brand premium portfolio owned by Barossa producer, Casella Family Brands. Its global marketing manager, premium wines, Nicole Gardner, told CMO the decision to invest in a new brand platform and strategy for Peter Lehmann was driven by growing global interest in the premium wine category and a desire to grow the company’s local and global brand footprint.

The latest campaign anchors around the message, ‘like no other’, and visually taps into the premium cues of the brand and its rich wine-making experience including the iconic Peter Lehmann silhouette, gold colouring and bottle. It’s been devised in partnership with creative communications agency, Connecting Plots, which is responsible for creative, digital, social and media for all Casella premium wines. These also include The Magic Box Wine Collection, Brand’s Laira and Morris of Rutherglen.

The brand platform is being rolled out across global markets including Australia, the UK, Canada and Japan to activate locally. The first campaign, which debuted this month, has an emphasis on digital video and social, supported by out-of-home advertising in proximity to stores, and point-of-sale activations.

“Category trends show we’re seeing more consumers willing to spend more per bottle on wine products. It sets the scene for growth in the premium wine category, and that’s the big business motivator – we want to grow our premium portfolio offering on a global scale,” Gardner said.  

“Peter Lehmann Wines has such a distinct and rich story with a longstanding history of winemaking excellence. We identified the need for a creative springboard to communicate this to consumers around the world in a succinct and relevant way, in a category that can sometimes be quite complex and cluttered.”

According to Gardner, the push to premium is a trend that’s been emerging over several years. While there has been slight decline in wine consumption, people are spending more on product overall.

During COVID-19, wine consumption grew, with a slight shift in the early months towards the lower end of the premium market. “That’s now corrected and we’re seeing great category growth. We’re also continuing to see consumers orienting towards brands with recognised quality, and brands they trust,” Gardner continued.  

The latest brand platform was born out of the strong insight consumers are looking for more familiar brands, as well as brands they respect and trust. It was also vital to have something simple and easy to understand that reinforced familiarity.  

“There’s that sense of reassurance they’re buying something that’s quality. We took a good look into the history of the Peter Lehmann brand to develop this,” Gardner said. “Where we started was as a brand built on the promise and the person. When growers in 1979 faced a wine surplus, Peter promised to find a solution for the excess grapes. From there, this wonderful brand has been born. The growers really trusted Peter; he was seen as a humble, trustworthy, one-of-a-kind character in the Barossa. Ultimately, it was that trust which led to being willing to work with Peter and trust in what he was able to do.

“The legacy Peter left is remarkable and that unique brand story is what we wanted to convey to consumers emotionally through the campaign.”  

Gardner said the ambition is activating through the line, including out-of-home in proximity to stores, and in-store activations, with heavy emphasis on digital channels. Two big bursts of activity will occur: Leading into the festive season, then in March- May 2021.

“We have the ability with this campaign to operate both on the emotional connection above the line level, but also to drive a product, functional level through stores, highlighting our awards,” Gardner said.

Peter Lehmann’s sweet spot is consumers more highly involved in the wine category, who will spend a bit more on wines as they’re more invested in the quality products. But Gardner pointed to Casella’s diverse range and portfolio of products, from core premium offerings up to super luxury, and the Masterson range, launched in 2019 and paying homage to Peter, the man himself.

“Our plans for the premium portfolio remain unchanged despite COVID, trends indicate we’re still relevant for consumers,” Gardner said. “It was more important to be true to the brand and Peter Lehmann’s legacy and bring that to life in a real, relevant way, than jump on the bandwagon of the current times just to be topical. We needed a campaign that sets a platform for the future that will carry the brand into the future. We think the message, ‘like no other’, does that as well.”

Key measures of success for Casella include improving direct preference local and globally and generating long-term growth.

Meanwhile, work continues across the rest of the portfolio with a recent campaign, ‘Magic hour’, undertaken for the Magic Box brand. Gardner said it’s also working with Connecting Plots on refreshing and integrating the platform with its Casella Cellar online platform, aimed at bringing the cellar door to consumers.

 

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