This appears ready to change. Announced along with the "Bordeaux Tomorrow" plan, the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) has appointed Benjamin Anseaume (Twitter) as their social media director. A first not only for the CIVB, but also for any large organization in France.
Benjamin kindly agreed to answer some questions for me. Normally, I try to work the answers into an article format, but I thought his responses were so good they should stand on their own (my questions are in bold):
This is a highly unusual position for a French organization. How would you grade the CIVB's involvement with social media, how would you grade Bordeaux in general's participation in social media? How can you help improve the level of participation?
That's true, France is not the world champion of webmarketing, but we're working hard! I went to the Vinocamp some weeks ago, and I can ensure you there are many many people here and especially in the wine business who have great ideas, high skills, the only problem is that organizations don't realise how important it is to manage the community, the work it represents and of course the budget it requires. I'm really glad the CIVB understood that, and chose to build a strong social strategy, it's another proof that things are changing, especially in Bordeaux, and I'm really optimistic for Bordeaux's place in the world.
Bordeaux decided to activate social media in France some month ago, but in the US they have started one year ago, with the agency I work for: Creative Feed. Theresa, the social manager US, manage especially the Twitter and Facebook account BordeauxWines (Twitter). I'm trying to have the same success in France that we have in the US. It's a great help for me to have the support of this experimented agency.
For your last question, I think we need to offer more "sexy" content, contests with donations, exclusive offers all over France to buy wines cheaper, etc... That's what successful brands are doing, and that's what we're going to do soon. Once you have a great fanbase, managing content is easier, and participation rises.
What do you see as your primary responsibility as director of social media?
My first task is to provide content for the existing community. And of course, to grow this community, which is far too small currently.
This is the visible part of the job, and maybe the most important, but in order to do this properly, I spend of lot of time in conceptions, advice to the CIVB, strategies.
I also have to survey conversations, join the discussion if needed, answer questions. And of course, make reports of everything.
Finaly, I handle relationship with bloggers or others influencers, and it's one of my favorite part of the job.
But we're only in the very beginning of the work, and things are going to evolve quickly.
Do you plan to work with the Chateaux in the region to help coordinate social media efforts?
That's an important part of the global social media strategy. I can't say much more now, but we're working on some specific actions to promote the use of social media by wineries.
Obviously, in order to be able to successfully advocate for Bordeaux you need to be very familiar with the wines, what are some of your favorite Chateaux?
In fact, I'm not a wine specialist :) I'm a social media expert, but the fact I was not a specialist was interesting, because I can speak as does the general public, sort of information of interest to non-specialists. The wine environment was very compartmentalized (although this is less and less true), wineries and organizations like the CIVB must learn to speak to the consumers. That's why I'm not a specialist.
But I spent some weeks in Bordeaux before beginning my mission, to learn the basics, and I have the right contacts to ask if I need informations.
As French, I had still a little knowledge of wine, I used to drink regularly, and sometimes even some very good bottles. Now this is a little more ... Professional ;)
From an outsider's perspective it seems that Bordeaux marketing is somewhat disjointed. Are you going to be able to better coordinate the worldwide marketing effort?
You're right, but it's going to change. If we talk about webmarketing (the only marketing wich can be globalized), Creative Feed is already in charge of France and US, obviously two major markets, if not the two main markets, and our goal is to harmonize the communication by applying the operations that work on a market to another market. As I said, the wines of Bordeaux are changing significantly, and in the right direction. We have the chance to promote a product safe, friendly, pleasant, loved by people, and in addition, to represent the world capital of this product. Bordeaux is an extremely strong brand, known and loved throughout the world, and I think that webmarketing can enable it to expand its reputation and convey a strong messages, for example, that we have excellent Bordeaux wines at low prices.