by Elizabeth Slater
Jordan Winery is quite an amazing place with its French-style chateau and 1,200-acre estate. Beginning with its 1976 vintage, Jordan has dedicated almost four decades to producing top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which has kept them on lists in the best restaurants and in the cellars of wine aficionados.
Originally owned by Tom Jordan, his son, John, took over in 2005. As well as following in his father’s footsteps by maintaining the quality of Jordan wines, John Jordan has also put his own mark on the winery.
With the help of a very capable staff, John has introduced unique by-appointment consumer tastings and tours where guest are given an extensive 3 hour tour of different parts of the estate and undergo an exquisite tasting of some of Jordan’s best vintages paired with food specially created by Todd Knoll, Jordan’s executive chef.
In addition to the delightful on site experiences, the folks at Jordan are not letting any grass grow under their feet when it comes to adopting all the latest technology that can be used to promote the winery and winery.
Creative Communications Strategies
Lisa Mattson, who heads up Communications, is–along with her team– the amazingly creative force behind the vast library of Jordan videos, including the highly popular music videos, Gangnam Style in Wine Country and a parody of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, entitled Blurred Vines–storyline by Marketing Manager Lori Green. Both of these videos have thousands of views on YouTube. In addition to the music videos there is a large library of videos relating to many crafted practices at Jordan, from cooking demonstration and grapevine grafting to building a wood-fired oven, making floral arrangements and night-harvesting grapes.
The great thing is that Jordan is not resting on its laurels. John has a wicked and eclectic sense of humor and encourages his staff to push things to the edge and come up with new ideas. He is a fan of the latest technology and is always willing to listen to new ideas and consider them before he makes his decision.
Lisa Mattson was a reporter before she became a PR person, so she is also thinking about the story. Her philosophy is to think like a publisher and journalist and most importantly think like a storyteller. She understands that these days there are lots of different ways to tell the stories. To promote Jordan, Lisa looks at all the different ways to get the messages out.
A key element is the value of the content. When you are creating stories to present the different aspects of the brand, you have to understand the identity, the look and feel that promotes the image and magnifies the messages.
Fresh Storytelling Angles
At Jordan there are many stories to tell, and these stories are told from different perspectives and different angles. For example, stories about the kitchen and the chef not only focus on food, they also focus on kitchen gadgets that Todd (the chef) likes to use and why. A great help to any foodies watching the videos.
Lisa also believes in looking at the content of blogs, videos, etc. strategically. If it’s all about the wine, even your most ardent admirers may get bored, so at Jordan they mix things up, stretching past wine to other things food, hospitality and family related. Some of my favorites are in the storytelling series, in which the videos talk about the stories of Jordan through the decades, with Sally Jordan telling the story of the first Thanksgiving at the winery as one example.
It’s interesting that Jordan has never been score focused but has always been story telling focused. They have used that to their advantage throughout the years and Jordan is still recognized as a premium and highly prized brand.
These stories bring people into the family and create the connections between the winery, the wines, the people and the viewers, which as we all know, make the wine drinking experience much more personal and meaningful.
Of course there are also stories about the wine, the vineyards, harvest, events in the Cellar and much more all of which add to the Jordan brand and bring the history of Jordan to those who watch or read them.
As Lisa sees it, the strategy is very important, especially in an established brand such as Jordan. Diversity is also important, not only diversity in the messages but also in how the messages get out and the platforms used. As Lisa says:
When a brand has been around for a long time you have to be willing to incorporate new and interesting things. Traditional media is important, but many journalists don’t want to write about a winery that has made the same two wines in the same package for decades. If you are a mature brand you need to diversify your media outlets and create your own platforms.”
Another part of Lisa’s planning is to use unexpected things in some of the videos. Things that will make people ask questions. For example in the music videos they always use something from Star Wars as well as other things that will get people thinking about the video and the wine.
Understanding the importance of keeping the audience interested and creating content for new audiences and a new generation is all part of the plan at Jordan. And they are implementing the plan very successfully.