CHERRY CROSSES: IDENTICAL TO US, DIFFERENT TO THE BREEDER
“If you build it, they will come." Kevin Costner’s character turns a cornfield into a ball diamond, and magically, people show up and the financial problems of his small business are solved.
The Okanagan Valley has some grandiose projects that make customers appear out of thin air, but for the most part, building your dream won't suffice.
I remember learning this the easy way and the hard way.
The easy way happened at one of the first wine industry conferences I attended, during a presentation on marketing.
The expert began by asking a few questions to the owners in the crowd.
“Who here markets themselves as a local, family run winery?”
Hands go up.
“Who advertises themselves as small lot?”
Hands stay up.
“Who emphasizes quality as part of their story?”
By this point we knew what was going on. Marketing guy was pointing out that we were exactly the same. Despite our own narratives telling us that we were unique brands.
Hands sheepishly retreated. We drank peppermint tea and ate mini cherry turnovers during break, but didn’t talk about the elephant in the room.
What was to talk about? Those who had learned the hard way knew it was too late to turn back. And those who had the newcomer glow (like me) had already forgotten the marketing lesson, and were on the path to learning the hard way.
Launching your small business isn’t like landing a plane in a cornfield, but when you’re crippled in the early years because of multiplied miscalculations, it feels like you’re the author of an accident scene and the best you can do is reassemble the pieces. Or gratefully accept the peppermint tea and turnovers at the conference and chat about budburst in Osoyoos.
How do you avoid the hard landing?
The workaround relates to last week’s idea: build on the spark of inspiration instead of relying on a marketing image. Unless you happend to build a 50 million dollar monument, or you've got Kevin Costner on the marketing team.
Even then, when something like a pandemic scrambles your carefully honed script, it’s the ability to gather up the pieces and start anew that matters.
Like the cherry plants above, unique traits eventually surface and with luck they'll be sought after. It just takes years to get there.
See you next Friday,
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Keep up to date on the latest wine releases, events, and industry news.