brand awareness, perceived quality, brand associations, andother proprietary brand assets. As a measurable asset, brandequity may increase cash ﬂow to the ﬁrm (Simon andSullivan, 1993) and competitive advantages based onnonprice competition (Aaker, 1991).A consumer’s attitude towards a wine brand is also a keycomponent of brand equity. Often, brand attitude reﬂects theextent to which a ﬁrm has been able to create close emotionalbonds with the customer (Lemon
, 2001). In the wineindustry, loyalty programs such as wine clubs, specialrecognition or treatment such as invitations to member-onlyfunctions, community-building programs such as support of local schools or events, and knowledge-building programssuch as food pairing classes can build strong emotional bonds.If a winery is able to help a customer feel a strong sense of belonging and makes them feel like part of the family, then afeeling of commitment towards the relationship with thewinery starts to be cultivated. Commitment is deﬁned as aconsumer’s belief that an ongoing relationship is worthinvesting time, energy, and money in (Sharma and Patterson,2000). Hirschmann and Holbrook (1982) proposed thatextremely positive, consumption-related emotions are likely tolead to very high levels of commitment.The wine’s image is another component of brand equityand can be critical when the customer’s use of the product ishighly visible to others (Lemon
, 2001). The brandbecomes an extension of the individual, a statement theindividual can make to the world about himself or herself.Everything a winery does that the public sees can affect thebrand’s image: label design, price, ratings, advertising,customer service, community service, environmental issues,which restaurants serve it, and which celebrity drinks it.Brand equity for a winery is a competitive asset that isdeveloped over time. It is what may prompt a consumer topurchase one wine with similar attributes and price overanother. It is a combination of factors such as brand loyalty,brand awareness, perceived quality, brand image, andattitudes toward the company and its wine (Orth
,2005). Positive customer experiences should contribute topositive attitudes towards the brand and thus contributetoward building brand equity for the winery.
All businesses understand that satisfying customers isimportant for positive word-of-mouth, repeat business, andproﬁtability. However, researchers and practitioners alike havebeen proposing that merely “satisfying” customers is notenough anymore (Keiningham
, 1999). In fact, Yeung
(2002) analyzed customer satisfaction data and ﬁnancialperformance data from approximately 100 ﬁrms over a ﬁveyear period and found that there is a direct linear relationshipbetween customer satisfaction and proﬁtability. In otherwords, with increased satisfaction came increased proﬁts.Anderson
(1994) found that “high” levels of customersatisfaction are correlated with superior economic returns.Some researchers and practitioners call extremely satisﬁedcustomers “delighted” customers (Keiningham
, 1999).It has been proposed that customers have a range of satisfaction, referred to as the “tolerance zone” and withinthis range of satisfaction differences between ﬁrms does notproduce much change in customer behavior, and thereforeproﬁtability. However, it is believed that moving satisfactionscores beyond the upper threshold of this zone of tolerancecreates exceptional results. For managers, this level of customer satisfaction is commonly referred to as “customerdelight” (Keiningham
, 1999). Schlossberg (1990) alsoproposed that merely satisfying customers is not enough, thatyou really need to delight them in order to build loyalty andloyalty-driven proﬁts. Whittaker (1991) proposed the sameconcept when he said “although the elimination of defects iscritical to continuing customer satisfaction, increasedproductivity, and decreased costs, it is customer delight thatis the key to survival in today’s markets”. Jones and Sasser(1995) found that Xerox Corporation’s “totally satisﬁed”customers were six times more likely to repurchase thecompany’s products over the following 18 months thancustomers who rated themselves as merely “satisﬁed”.Roche Diagnostics Systems, a division of F. Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd health care, had rarely met its proﬁt objectives fornearly 20 years (Keiningham
, 1999). Roche conductedfocus groups with its customers to determine their weaknessesin the areas of product quality and customer service. It thenadopted a strategy focused on moving customers’ reportedlevels of satisfaction beyond “satisﬁed” to the “very satisﬁed”level by making improvements in those areas. Roche foundthat by improving the quality of customer interactions withtheir business (e.g. toll-free telephone support and orderingassistance) that the number of “very satisﬁed” customersincreased, as did sales and proﬁts (Keiningham
Richins (1997) determined that there were over 17consumption-related emotion sets. They are anger,discontent, worry, sadness, fear, shame, envy, loneliness,romantic love, love, peacefulness, contentment, optimism,joy, excitement, surprise, guilt, and pride. He developed theconsumption emotion set (CES), which identiﬁes emotionsthat are relevant to consumers. Delight is considered to be adescriptor of the “joy” cluster. Therefore, the twoconsumption-related emotion sets that may be appropriatefor a study relating to wine consumption are “joy”, which iscomprised of the descriptors of happy, pleased, and joyful and“excitement” which is described as excited, thrilled, andenthusiastic. These descriptors could easily be included insurvey questions. Other feelings that may lead to positiveemotions and which may be associated with “share of heart”are “sense of belonging”, “sense of being appreciated as acustomer”, “sense of being like family”.The customer interface during the tasting room experienceis an area in which a winery can differentiate itself from thecompetition. Successful ﬁrms “realize that every interactionwith the customer can make or break the relationship”(Brown, 2003). Customer contact employees need tounderstand that often they are the key to delighting thecustomer and creating lasting, positive memories. Tastingroom staff can never have a “bad day” or appear snooty. Notenough staff to handle a surge of customers in the tastingroom can be the kiss of death, leaving the customer with afeeling of “just being one of the crowd” and not “appreciated”by the winery. Helping a visitor feel special during the tastingroom visit may help the consumer develop a specialattachment to that particular winery (Olsen and Thach,2006). Hirschmann and Holbrook (1982) proposed thatextremely positive, consumption-related emotions are likely tolead to high levels of repurchase intentions.
Brand equity in the wine industry
Linda Nowak, Liz Thach and Janeen E. Olsen
Journal of Product & Brand Management
Volume 15 · Number 5 · 2006 · 316–323