A refreshed ecommerce brand that toasts to more

WineDirect is the leading provider of ecommerce and logistics services that enable wineries to sell directly to consumers. But fragmented brand architecture, a tired brand identity, and messaging that didn’t resonate with target audiences all threatened to stall its growth in a rapidly expanding sector. To help WineDirect stand out from competitors, Thinkso repositioned it as “The Winery’s Champion”—a true partner that helps wineries keep more of the “fruits” of their labor. With a new consolidated brand, website, humanized messaging, and unique visual identity, WineDirect was able to reconnect with clients and solidify its position as industry leader.

BACKGROUND

In 2012, WineDirect, a logistics company for US wineries, acquired Vin65, a software company that provides an ecommerce, wine club management, and point-of-sale platform for wineries in English-speaking countries around the world. The two brands were never merged, but each of their offerings were undisputed leaders in the marketplace.

However, with high expectations for growth and both internal and external communications challenges to overcome, the company was at a crossroads with its identity. Coupled with rising expectations of the modern consumer, the time was ripe for WineDirect to streamline its branding and messaging and take the company to the next level.

Our research revealed that WineDirect and its competitors all had very similar positioning and messages and unsophisticated brand identities. There was a great opportunity to differentiate WineDirect by making it stand for something more than a collection of tech and shipping tools that have a hardcore sales focus, as its tagline, “sell more wine,” suggested. At the same time, we learned that those heading up direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales were usually not tech-savvy and considered themselves to be more in the hospitality business than in consumer product sales.

“Thinkso’s work brings all of our company’s best attributes to life. They’ve helped us look and sound like the industry leader we’ve always been, which is essential to our business as direct-to-consumer wine sales take off.” Joe Waechter, CEO, WineDirect

Approach

First, after considering both the business and branding pros and cons of maintaining the separate brands, Thinkso recommended dissolving the Vin65 brand. The WineDirect brand was stronger and more meaningful, and a single brand allowed us to promote the company’s end-to-end solutions—something no competitor could claim or deliver.

Next, we developed a warmer, client-first positioning for WineDirect, resulting in a new tagline, “The Winery’s Champion.” From here, we wrote messaging that came from the clients’ point of view—eschewing tech and even industry jargon and instead focusing on clarity and accessibility. We also aligned WineDirect’s offering to its clients’ DTC needs by establishing a logical lifecycle spectrum. This helped clients see a place for themselves with WineDirect, whether they were just starting out in the DTC business, already at the enterprise level, or somewhere in between. Finally, we created a number of editorial tactics to support the new positioning: An editorial construct to be used throughout WineDirect’s materials (“Let’s” phrases that convey that WineDirect is “in it together” with its clients); empowering language in e-blasts and quick tips; and straightforward directives with subheads that suggest partnership in WineDirect’s thought leadership editorial.

Finally, we designed a modern, sophisticated visual identity that straddles the worlds of consumer luxury goods and hospitality. The new logotype mirrors the connection that WineDirect facilitates between wineries and their customers. In the very middle of the name, a wine glass symbol emerges simply by drawing a single line connecting the “D” and “I.” To give the brand a distinctive look and feel, we avoided burgundy (ubiquitous in the industry) and instead leveraged citron, magenta, and cobalt—fresher colors that can be found in the vineyard.

To communicate that WineDirect truly understands the challenges and joys of running a winery and selling directly to consumers, we commissioned custom photography shot at one of the company’s client wineries. The authentic, behind-the-scenes images convey both the beauty and hard work that goes into making wine (and selling it), while integrating technology where it makes sense. We also created a signature illustrative pattern for WineDirect that expresses the idea of wineries “connecting” directly to consumers.

A single line connects the two letters in the middle of the name to create the wine glass symbol. The ease and simplicity of this treatment mirrors WineDirect’s streamlined process which connects wineries directly to consumers.

Thinkso architected, designed, and wrote a website for WineDirect that embodies its new client-first positioning and immediately engage wineries. It features the “DTC Advisor,” a wizard that diagnoses what a winery needs to effectively sell directly to consumers given where they are in the winery’s development.

Thinkso designed ads that visually link WineDirect’s expertise in both technology and wine sales while making a simple statement about its end-to-end solutions.

To introduce the new branding and messaging, Thinkso created a tri-fold mailer that highlighted new and old points of WineDirect’s value proposition, while articulating the company’s commitment to its clients’ success.

By establishing clear brand guidelines and a finite, disciplined set of templates, Thinkso strengthened and streamlined WineDirect’s thought leadership production.

Thinkso appropriated the connected wineglass design in WineDirect’s new logotype to create other wine-related graphic expressions.

We designed WineDirect’s new illustrations to complement every touchpoint of the direct-to-consumer experience, from the website and business cards to giveaways and packaging products.

Updated signage affixed to WineDirect’s Napa headquarters announced that there was a new WineDirect in town.