Tim McDonald is a cool cat. Spend a few hours with Tim discussing the current state of Public Relations and you’ll sense that you just attended a post doctoral course in wine business communications. Part Leo Burnett and part Ernest Gallo, Tim is focused on the pragmatic outcomes of his brands’ PR efforts. While his focus seems to always be on the end-game, Tim spends an incredible amount of energy on the 100’s of little steps that it takes to build effective marcom campaigns. Taking part in multiple trade and consumer events and judging in more wine and beverage competitions than most of us knew existed, Tim is out and about shaking hands and developing relationships with our industry’s movers and influencers. The efforts that Tim puts into pushing vintner messaging forward seem to reflect the words of the legendary marketer, David Ogilvy, ““If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”
Traditional CPG best marketing practices carry the day without regard to the communications medium utilized. To be effective in your social media or traditional media interactions it’s still important to always be interesting, consistent, honest, transparent, and personable. The feedback from those in the know is, that while the platforms for sharing information have continued to evolve, the rules of engagement remain the same. It’s still a conversation, and there must be an objective beyond brand awareness. It has to be about managing your wineco’s brand reputation, and facilitating commerce.
Wine Spoken Here
When I’m able to meet and talk wine business sales, marketing and/or PR issues with Tim, I feel a little bit like Grasshopper listening to the lessons of Master Po. And I relish these moments. Often the shared wisdom of others is just a reminder of what we all already know, and sometimes these discussions show the best route down the path of enlightenment. Here are a few on-point tips re. wine business Public Relations best practices shared by Tim during our last meeting:
- be honest, available and authentic
- be a resource for journalists
- tell a good story
- tell them something new and brand own-able
- return calls and emails…
- never send unsolicited samples
- always ask the question is this a good time? what are you working on? got a deadline?
- how can I help?