As Casillero del Diablo launches its latest campaign, Simon Doyle, Concha y Toro’s general manager for the UK, discusses the importance of communicating directly with consumers, and how the company is navigating the challenges of inflation and duty hikes
With brands such as Casillero del Diablo and Trivento under its umbrella, Concha y Toro has a strong presence in the UK off-trade, including listings in major supermarkets and convenience stores.
Having held his current role at Concha y Toro for around 13 years, Simon Doyle has seen quite a few changes in the UK wine industry.
The biggest change during this time? According to Doyle, it has been “moving from being suppliers of wine to the industry, to being consumer-centric brands”.
“That’s taken a bit of time,” he says. “But it’s been a really, really important journey for the wine trade. So what we do now when we’re branding is to reach the end consumer rather than the trade.”
Consumer-facing campaigns are a key part of Concha y Toro’s operations, with the Casillero del Diablo ‘Devilishly Refreshing’ white wine campaign already underway for summer.
When it comes to executing a successful campaign, Doyle emphasises a few factors: “It’s about keeping consumer awareness up, but it’s also important to have good visibility and price promotions. If you can connect all of these aspects, then you can get some really positive outcomes from the activity.”
As Concha y Toro looks to continue connecting with consumers through its campaigns, Doyle said that having a wide appeal is one of the most crucial points in maintaining existing consumer relationships while also recruiting new wine drinkers.
“We need to make sure that our proposition is relevant to consumers – for example, our current campaign is all about temperature and refreshment, so it draws on summer drinking occasions.
“Casillero has that mainstream appeal amongst wine drinkers, but then we’ve also got our Diablo brand that we look to target a younger audience of drinkers with.”
Behind Concha y Toro’s consumer-facing brand activity, upcoming duty changes, coupled with the ongoing pressures of inflation, present new challenges for the wine industry.
As a result of upcoming duty hikes, which are dependent on alcohol strength, many producers are working to lower the abvs of their wines so as to prevent drastic price rises.
Doyle says that while Casillero del Diablo’s wines will remain unchanged, Concha y Toro will be “doing some work to see what we can do to bring the abv down in more value-led wines so that we can keep retail prices down”.
And as the cost of living crisis takes its toll on consumers, Doyle criticises the government’s new taxation system for further affecting wine drinkers.
“It’s going to penalise those on lower incomes, it’s not going to help retailers – overall it’s just bad policy,” he says. “And it’s not necessary to achieve more revenue which I think is probably the industry’s frustration.
“However, we are responsible for responding to these policies and working to ensure that we don’t expose consumers to the impact too much. So where we can, we will modify our alcohol level.”
Doyle also says that Concha y Toro will continue its strategy of consistent investment into its brands despite inflationary pressures: “As a company, we’ve been around for 20 years, and our team is always finding ways to mitigate the challenges we face as an industry.
“We’ve always invested in the good times and the bad times which is so important in keeping up relationships with consumers.”
Elsewhere, research has suggested that some consumers are beginning to favour value over sustainability as costs continue to increase.
Doyle explains that while sustainability credentials may impact price point when it comes to organic, low yield wines, adopting other sustainable practices, such as reducing glass weight and bottling in the UK, can be financially beneficial for wine brands that are looking to reduce costs.
“Making your products more sustainable doesn’t necessarily lead to price rises for either the brand or consumer,” Doyle explains.
“For example, packaging wines in the UK rather than overseas is a very effective way of reducing your carbon footprint while also reducing transport costs.”
Looking ahead, Doyle adds that Concha y Toro is working to reduce the weight of its glass bottles across multiple brands.
“There’s a lot of work to be done across the wine industry when it comes to sustainability, and packaging is a huge part of that.
“It’s in everybody’s interest to bring glass weights down – both in terms of cost benefits and environmental benefits.”
Concha y Toro is also a certified B Corp – a marker of the company’s commitments to social and environmental sustainability.
Although B Corp might be one of the biggest sustainability buzzwords amongst the drinks industry, Doyle said that there is more to be done when it comes to engaging consumers with the B Corp ethos.
“We can’t expect consumers to latch onto it instantly, so we have to clearly explain the benefits and keep communicating the aspects of B Corp that will motivate consumers,” he says.
And as a consumer-focused company, bringing shoppers into conversations around sustainability is vital for Concha y Toro as Doyle and his team continue to build on their B Corp certification.
“All these things can be quite complex subjects, so you’ve really got to drill down and find out what resonates with consumers.”