FRED & CO is 100 percent devoted to wine marketing. It’s more than our focus, more than a category we simply have a lot of experience with. It’s our obsession. Clients seem to dig it. They get better work and a better working relationship because of it.
Most wineries tend to need the same handful of marketing tools: packaging, a website and some collateral. Basic, indispensable, line of business items. We’ve been making these things for many years now and each time we sit down to make another, the challenge is always new, even if the problem is not.
What keeps things fresh is the need to differentiate. The Wine Institute tell us there are 4,285 wineries in California with 475 of those in Napa Valley alone. The need to differentiate couldn’t be more glaring. Or more difficult. That’s because it requires sacrifice and sacrifice requires guts.
But first you gotta have an idea. When we can, we like to start with positioning – understanding the consumer drivers for a particular market segment and using them to differentiate our clients from everyone else. Positioning is the platform for ideas.
Another service we provide is naming. Fresh, powerful, authentic names require insight, discipline, creativity and fearlessness. That’s what we bring to the table. Because you only get one chance to do it right. A name is not tweak-able.
To create identity systems, packaging and graphics, we partner with several accomplished design firms. For any given project, we choose the one whose style, fees and availability meet our client’s strategic, budget and deadline constraints. The same process holds true for website development.
In addition to writing every kind of marketing material a client might need, we also provide strategic counsel on wine clubs, loyalty programs, social media, tasting rooms, PR and events. We’ve had the benefit of working with many terrific wineries over the years and have learned a great deal from those engagements.
I’ve spend my entire working life in marketing. I’ve served as a creative director for several blue-chip advertising agencies including Foote Cone & Belding, J. Walter Thompson and Ammirati & Puris. I’ve worked on a wide range of businesses including Citibank, Compaq, Labatt, Levi’s, MasterCard, Microsoft, Pacific Bell, Seagram’s, Sun and UPS. I’ve also worked on start-ups like Amazon and Hotmail. Yes, I was there at the start.
In 1996, before hardly anyone knew what “www” stood for, I started an interactive agency with some friends. In 2002 we sold it to WPP, a large holding company run by a little man whom the Queen calls Sir. No kidding.
In 2004 I started Fred & Co. The company consists of me and my network of designers, programmers and producers. Why wine? Because I love everything about it: its history, its geography, farming, culture and people. I also like drinking it.
We operate under the Hollywood model where teams are assembled for specific projects. Teams that have a track record of collaborating and creating at the highest levels. These are the folks I count on.