Did you know that one of the country’s largest wine importer/distributors is right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia? The Winebow Group is the result of a 2014 merger between The Country Vintner and Winebow, Inc. In 2015, The Winebow Group engaged COLAB to completely redesign their massive website to include their newest properties as well.
Here’s how we crushed it:
In our discovery and strategy work, it became clear that, because the new company was so new, so large, and such a recent conglomeration of so many brands and products, that The Winebow Group needed guided strategic review in order to identify, define, and prioritize their goals and central brand voice across multiple brands. As a result, the site strategy process became much more intensive than we originally anticipated.
The merger not only brought together two large companies, but also combined two major functions of the wine business under one roof – import and distribution. The Winebow Group had grown, and continues to grow, very rapidly through merger and acquisition, and combining the various entities, brands, and products under a single brand with a unified voice was a formidable challenge.
We were able to help The Winebow Group ultimately identify, define, and prioritize their goals and central brand voice across multiple brands. The new site had four major goals:
- To clearly communicate The Winebow Group story, including the corporate structure, relationships between The Winebow Group and its member companies, and the role The Winebow Group serves in the fine wine industry.To do this, we would highlight and emphasize The Winebow Group’s points of differentiation: specialization, knowledge, and education. A clear information hierarchy and a more equitable emphasis between brands would be crucial parameters in telling a complex story in a simple and elegant way.
- To create opportunities for engagement, including interactive, rich content to create an emotional connection with the users and tell the stories of the people behind The Winebow Group and its brands.
- To equip the sales team with effective digital tools and information like product information, POS materials and logos, to help them connect clients with product. Our challenge was to create relationships between data and provide offline access-optimized data formats, and
- To establish clear lines of communication, including clear, structured calls-to-action to streamline the process of contacting The Winebow Group Customer Service, distribution reps, etc., and to implement qualified lead generation areas to provide valuable, actionable information to the appropriate reps.
And finally, Winebow, Inc’s site had been originally developed by a 3rd party developer, CHCS of Seattle, WA. For the new site, COLAB would do the discovery and site strategy work, site design, and all front-end (user-facing) development, and would partner with CHCS to develop the back end.
This new site, TheWinebowGroup.com is a collaboration between COLAB, The Winebow Group, and CHCS. Spending more time up front in strategy meant a condensed timeline for design and development.
The Winebow Group challenged us on design. A big part of the design challenge was stressing the “family” element of the wine business and making sure that The Winebow Group’s core values are communicated clearly. They pushed us, and we answered the bell. We consider the result a showcase piece for COLAB, demonstrating the beauty and usability of COLAB is capable of and known for. Since the launch of the site, we’ve presented The Winebow Group’s site as an example of our design work, and have gotten audible Wows in those presentations more than once.
Developing the front end (COLAB) and back end (CHCS) simultaneously posed a new challenge, especially since two different firms were working together. We were able to collaborate and build positive and effective working relationships with CHCS across time zones. To their credit, they were knowledgeable, and professional, which made the project even more enjoyable.
“From strategy to design, the COLAB team was thoughtful in their approach and execution of The Winebow Group website. They worked under tight deadlines to produce a website that reaches numerous audiences from consumers to trade.”LaTonya Whitaker
Digital Marketing Director – The Winebow Group
We also built a repository of modules that enabled CHCS to create pages quickly and easily, and has also enabled them to do a lot of work independent of COLAB since launch, saving them time, money, and frustration along the way.
The Winebow Group is thrilled with the feedback they have received from their customers, sales reps, and other stakeholders. They see COLAB as a trusted technology advisor and partner, and we are thrilled to have such fantastic partners and collaborators as The Winebow Group.
“COLAB’s project management team worked seamlessly to meet our needs. The feedback from our sales teams, business partners, and stakeholders has been tremendous – they have a site that they are truly proud to share.”LaTonya Whitaker
Digital Marketing Director – The Winebow Group