Stormhoek Wines are a great case study about the power of blogs in action.
Hugh Macleod needs no introduction in the blogging world. His Gapingvoid cartoons are the web-geeks' illustration of choice. He's a clever guy who pushed sales of a Saville Row tailor through the roof by starting a blog. through the roof. More recently Hugh's work with Stormhoek is having the same effect.
Last year, Stormhoek gave away free samples of their Sauvignon Blanc via Hugh to bloggers in Europe, along with some information about the wine and the campaign. The bloggers, predictably, blogged about it.
The Result? Stormhoek doubled their sales in 2005.
There's a reason this strategy has worked for Hugh. His blog is popular – Technorati ranks Gapingvoid at 82 in their top 100. He positively A-list. By contrast, my blog (ranked 405,840 with a bullet) is unlikely to create quite the same tidal wave.
But my point is this – new marketing strategies, like using blogs promote your idea are working. Probably thousands of people have bought Stormhoek after hearing about the buzz online. If I saw some in the bottle shop tonight, I'd give it a try. So might you. Because we've heard the story.
Old marketing strategies apply here too. Being the first still gives you a clear advantage. If you are in the wine or tailoring business, Hugh has beaten you to it. If, however, you are lucky enough to be in an industry that hasn't tapped the potential of the blogosphere (a cringeworthy description I know), what's stopping you?
Here in the UK, the brand has also picked up distribution in retailers including Sainsburys, Asda, Oddbins, Majestic, Waitrose and Somerfield. They've also picked a major wine trade award.
This year, to support their launch in the US, Stormhoek are sponsoring a series of Geek dinners. Stormhoek will provide the wine, bloggers provided the buzz … let's keep our eye on what happens to sales this time.