just the Answer - Sebastian Aguirre, Concha y Toro Marketing Director for Premium Wines

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This week, editor Olly Wehring has been travelling through the winelands of Chile with the country's biggest wine producer, Concha y Toro. While there, he met Sebastian Aguirre, the company's marketing director for premium wines, to delve deeper into CyT's biggest brand, Casillero del Diablo.

Sebastian Aguirre, Concha Y Toros premium wines marketing director

Sebastian Aguirre, Concha Y Toro's premium wines marketing director

just-drinks: Where does Casillero del Diablo sit in both value and volume terms for Concha y Toro?

Sebastian Aguirre: The brand accounts for about 40% of Concha y Toro's total sales. The holding company, however, has other large volume brands such as Frontera. But, in value terms, our leader is Casillero del Diablo. It's also the company's most important brand in terms of positioning. In strategic terms, Casillero gives the company a premium image. We focus on our premium-and above offerings and Casillero is the most relevant brand in this space.

j-d: How concerning is it that Concha y Toro is beginning to look like a one-brand company?

SA: It's not that the other brands are small. For example, Trio is quite large, compared to other wine company's brands. Compared to Casillero, they just look smaller. It is true that Casillero's share is increasing a little bit: This year, we're going to increase the brand's sales by 15%. This throws up new challenges for us, because we need to keep growing. But, this is not just organic growth; we're expanding into different segments. We're not concentrating the volume and value in just one line or just one grape varietal. We have the largest premium wine range in the world here.

j-d: What is the split between domestic and export sales for Casillero?

SA: The UK is our main market: It represents 35% of Casillero's volumes. Chile represents 7%, so 93% of our sales come from exports. Outside of the UK, our volumes are very well-spread - they're not very concentrated. The US, Chile and Brazil have the same volumes.

j-d: How concerned are you about having one dominant market?

SA: It's not a problem for us. The UK is really important and it's growing really strongly. But, we're seeing the same evolution of the brand in different markets. The problem is that you get so big in some markets that the other markets look small. That's not the case for us, because we still have that spread.

j-d: Are you looking to enter new markets with Casillero?

SA: It's hard for us to find new ones, because today we're present in 137 markets. Our main objective is to consolidate and keep the growth rates in our big markets. At the same time, we're looking for aggressive growth rates in our smaller markets. In Korea, for example, we're facing huge growth rates with important volumes.

j-d: How successful have you been at encouraging consumers to trade up within the Casillero portfolio?

SA: It's hard when you start with a brand that you're selling within a certain price range to launch products above that range - that does make things complicated. But, we've been impressed with the results of The Devil's Collection and Reserva Privada, both of which are much more expensive than the regular line. The brand perception is really good: We're seen by consumers as over-delivering on quality for what you pay.

j-d: Do you think there is a price limit for the Casillero range that consumers will not go above?

SA: I think the brand still gives us a lot of place to grow. I believe that consumers trust Casillero and that means we can offer different price-points, as well as products for different kinds of occasions and for different consumers. This has been a long strategy - it's taken a long time to build this brand and today it gives us a lot.

j-d: What has been the strategy behind investing so heavily in the brand's marketing?

SA: We all know that wine is one of the toughest categories on supermarket shelves. There are more labels out there than there are brands. We are trying to create a brand in consumers' minds that will be considered for repurchases. Quality is the base, which has to be backed by distribution and by making the wine decision easier for consumers. The best way to do that is through brand-building. That's why we invest a lot. It's also how we differentiate our brand from the rest. You can have a lot of good wines, a lot of good labels, but having campaigns that try to iconise the brand makes the difference.

j-d: How is the Manchester United partnership working for you?

SA: It's very good. In Asia, we've had an amazing reception for the sponsorship. We have the opportunity to come to the market with something that can catch the consumer's attention in a different way. Wine shouldn't just be taking about quality, there needs to be something different to make consumers love your brand; something more emotional. It's also been strongly implemented in South America.

j-d: Were you fearful of alienating non-Manchester United football fans?

SA: We have been very conscious of that risk and that is why we haven't done any activation of the sponsorship in the UK. We don't want to alienate Chelsea fans by being a sponsor of Manchester United and we don't have the budget to sponsor all the football teams in the country! Outside of the UK, it's fine: You can either love or not love Manchester United, but you don't necessarily hate them. We do target fans of Manchester United in the UK, but we try not to alienate everyone.

The contract runs until mid-2016. We'll evaluate it, but we're very happy with the results so far and we still have a lot of things we would like to develop with them.

j-d: Where does the company believe Casillero sits: Is it a global brand or a wine from Chile?

It's a mix between both. We've related the brand to Chile - and to Concha y Toro - through the legend of the devil's cellar. It is a Chilean wine, and that's clear as a basis. But, we've tried to give to this Chilean product a global perception. We need consumers from different markets to feel close to the brand. Even though we're telling them a local story, we're telling it in an international way. We try to be unique with our communication - a lot of brands can show the Chilean vineyards, the mountain ranges, etc. But, for us, we show it in a different way. The devil is attractive and appealing everywhere. Everyone in the world knows about the devil. We didn't invent that! But, what we have here is uniqueness and also tradition, which is very important for a wine from the New World. Our job is to tell it in the right way to consumers.

j-d: What advice would you give for a marketer of a global brand?

SA: When communicating to consumers, I think the key point is to be clear. When you want to communicate too many things to consumers, they will get lost and they won't understand your message. It's a key element to keep your focus and to maintain your consistency: Have one concept and stick to it. You need to evolve, but don't confuse consumers. Look at Johnnie Walker's "Keep Walking". Look at L'Oreal's "Because I'm Worth It". Global brands stick to one message; there is no confusion.

Also, it's important to approach consumers not only with rational things but also with an emotional connection. You shouldn't base your message in just rationality, consumers need more than that to make a bond with your brand.

Sectors: Wine

Companies: Concha y Toro

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