Walking into Freixenet, the smell of aging French oak barrels caressed air, welcoming visitors to this family run corporation nestled in the Penedes wine region of Catalunya. Professor Jaime Romeu organized an industrial visit to this global leader in cava production on February 23rd as a part of his Luxury Sector Analysis class in the Master in Fashion and Luxury Business Management program at GBSB.
Students were excited to take the 50-km trek by train to this special region known for its exceptional sparkling wine production. The company itself does have a diverse collection of still wines, but 75% of sales come from sparkling wine making it a leader in Spain.
What can be attributed to the success of Freixenet, a company that has been exporting wines since 1861?
As Joan, a manager from Freixenet’s Global Marketing Department explained, Freixenet is "more than vineyards and grapes, we are here to celebrate small and large moments". This statement was used as the prelude to explaining the User Life Cycle of sparkling wine. Joan asked students to identify the following flow chart identifying the narrowest market to what the overarching brand philosophy is.
It explains how they arrived at the marketing tagline, "Celebration Makes Life Better". He made a great parallel in the way they market their product. Cava, though it is an alcoholic beverage, it facilitates enjoyable life experiences and memories, very similar to how Lego® brands itself as a toy company that helps the builders of tomorrow.
Freixenet is not your ordinary wine company. It is a family business rooted in 150 years of experience that has put innovation front and center as a key to their success. Most notable are these six innovations that set them apart from the competition.
- Freixenent opened its first office in New Jersey, USA in 1929. Today it is the most international business in Spanish wine with 18 cellars in 7 countries on 3 continents.
- In 1941, Freixenet unveiled its iconic frosted white cava bottle, a recognizable symbol of premium cava.
- Again, in 1971, the frosted black bottle hit retail shelves.
- The company prides itself in being a pioneer in advertising with prominent posters and branding tracing back through the decades.
- The company implemented automatic riddling, a mechanism that allows wine makers to process a high volume of bottles with minimum labor and space.
- Freixenet is committed to its business partners worldwide, and this network has been an essential part to its continued success.
The presentation that lasted over an hour looked at two recent campaigns Freixenet launched. The Freixenet Ice campaign marked the product as "Deliciously Refreshing", with a fun-loving, summery beach theme. While the Mia campaign, a far larger endeavor looked at wine with a woman’s touch, focusing on Mia’s winemaker Gloria Collell, and the expansive offerings they created to fit a modern market with a youthful spirit.
When launching these two campaigns that target nearly the same audience, Freixenet used these processes to create the overall campaign, that they would confidently take to market.
1. Detecting Opportunity: Consumer and Business
This requires insight. The acronym BEMI often questions if there is big enough marketing insight? Is the demand enough that it warrants the product? Also, from the business perspective, the business needs to have the consumer’s permission to enter the market. For example, Mia wines highlight a handful of select still wines, something Freixenet has little recognition in producing. In turn, the company had to query the market to see if they could be admitted into the still wine industry as a major sparkling wine producer.
2. Concept Development and Naming (Testing)
What does a great brand stand for? This section requires some critical thinking, analyzing what the company’s objective is, and what will sell. It is a balancing act that can easily fail. The team at Freixenet produced five story boards to present to the consumer as research to see if what the marketing team created was on target with the demand in the market or if they need to go back to the drawing board to more fully understand and meet their demand.
3. Packaging and Production Development (Testing)
The marketing team must analyze how to bring the concept to life, tying the whole family of wines together, white, rosé and red varietals. It is also important that the new line is coherent with the founding brand and doesn’t stray too far from the original messaging.
4. Launch Communications
It is simple. All the materials produced for the product from the bottle labels to television campaign ads, the message needs to be clear, concise, and cohesive across all platforms.
5. Results Review and Adjustment Actions
It doesn’t stop here. The company is constantly evaluating the market to measure success. How has this line extension impacted the mother brand, and what can be done differently to further enhance the success in the future?
This general overview of the Global Marketing Team and their objectives at Freixenet was meant to give insight into the world of sparkling wine as a luxury brand. Cava is not Champagne, but it is made using the same exact method of production. The major varying factors are location, grape varietals, terroir, and weather. These factors make an entirely different product, one that is no less value in regards to quality, but it is the marketing that effects its notoriety to the consumer.
Students at GBSB Global Business School in Barcelona are provided with these insights into various businesses through guided industrial visits to give them applicable, real-life experiences. They are meant to guide students in their future careers, providing them with a wide variety of opportunities to reflect upon. Utilizing this information to analyze what direction they want to direct their professional careers after graduation.