I am beginning to feel like a consumer anthropologist, specifically a wine consumer anthropologist. Not surprised, I always wanted to dig in the dirt as a child and study past cultures. Instead, I am studying the American consumer behavior. And I discovered something last week in my attempt to get my own consumer behavior under control. I begin to understand how social media can be an extension of why we buy. It is not what you think, social media doesn’t drive people to buy (at least it cannot be manipulated to). But how we share images and content of our consumption on social media is all an attempt to express who we think we are or want others to think we are.
Marketing is Understanding the Attachment to Ego & Desire
Now if you have read my bio, you know that I am a bit of a yogi nut and with that comes quite a bit of buddhist philosophy. And from those who don’t know much about Buddhism, a primary focus of the philosophy is the relinquishment of the “ego” or our identity and of “desire.” That to let these attachment go, will bring you closer to Nirvana, i.e. peace. Maybe it is just because I run a wine marketing business – but this connection of identity and desire is what marketing is all about. It’s about using these human attachments to identity and desire to sell products. I know, isn’t this sacrilegious of me to say something like this? Maybe . . . maybe not.
So anyways, there is this connection to identity/desire and why we buy. I make this point because I have been trying for the past year to really simplify my life. To think about all my choices and how they do or do not add value to my life. This analysis applies not just to the possessions I buy, but who I choose to spend my time with and how I structure my day. I discovered, the things that I could easily discard from my life – were superficial examples of my “identity.” A great example of this are our books. Most people are really attached to their books, not because they ever read them again. But what we think they say about us, the reader (smart, witty, deep, etc). And perhaps we want our houseguests to see who we are by what we read. What is on your bookshelf?
Wine as Self Expression
So I have been reading some academic papers and articles on minimalist living. I came across an article that mentioned that social media is replacing, or maybe augmenting in my opinion, this self expression that possessions & activities elicit. Wine is a perfect example of this! So many people are now taking photos of what they are drinking and posting them in mass numbers onto their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. And the reason I think they are doing this is because what they are drinking says something about their own identity, that they feel they need to express. Sometimes the photo of a wine label, tells their friends that they have a sense humor if they are drinking Mommy Juice or it may communicate that they have expensive tastes if they are drinking Opus One.
But whatever the case, the more your brand communicates a sense of identity to the consumer, the more your wine label will be shared on social media. I think the trick is to say something meaningful about the consumer – therein lies longevity of your wine brand. The trick for social media, believe it or not, comes down to the wine label. The more it communicates a value or sense of identity, the more likely it would be shared on social media. This has always been the case off-line as well, think about how you choose what wine to bring to a dinner party. It needs to say something powerful about you in either it’s quality or it’s label design. It’s nothing new, marketing has always been social.