Does the Label influence your choice?
Posted on April 11, 2018
The short, answer to this is - of course it does! – for the most of us at least. But as human beings, and therefore being inclined to do things the way we do, we are undoubtedly influenced by what we see - and very much so. On a daily basis we are consciously and (mostly) sub-consciously, bombarded with influences, whether they be of a visual nature, by way of so many social media platforms (which let’s face it, we allow ourselves to engage with frequently), or often also from what we see others doing. By the way, why do we almost always desire what others have? That remains a mystery to me - but not the topic for today. Today we’re playing a game of “truth, dare or command”, and the truth question here is whether a wine label has much influence on your choice – and if so, just HOW much?
If I must give my personal take on this, I would have to admit that I am very often persuaded by the label, in fact on most occasions I can be well and truly seduced by a label! (more so when I don’t already know the brand or the wine). I’m only slightly selective about the cultivar or blend – as I can always find “the right occasion” for almost any style of wine. (show me a wine-lover who can’t do that…) But truth be told, I definitely DO shop on the look of a label. If I know that I want a certain bottle of wine, or I’m in a hurry, then I’ll go and get the usual (one of my many favourites) that I already know and can safely expect something that I am familiar with. However, in a case like that, I do not shop with the label in mind, (it’s about a quick-retrieve) and I then shop with only the wine in mind.
But, inevitably, there comes a time that you want to go out and buy a bottle (or a case) of wine, but don’t really know what you’re going for. You might have a vague guideline or preference such and red or white, summery day or candle-lit romance - or perhaps even a little more categorised, when you’re driven by the idea of what you intend to serve it with. Whichever it may be, if you’re not going for a quick-retrieve, then you are most certainly headed for an influential one…
There are two aspects involved in the visual appeal of a label. The first is the power that a label has to convince the consumer to buy the bottle, with no other concerns (other than the obvious preferences that may exist) and secondly is to convince the consumer to buy the bottle of wine, regardless of the price. (the latter being something I should receive counselling for…)
Let’s be honest. We all realise that companies and their marketing departments are (vehemently) aware of our consumer desires, our weaknesses (or shortcomings in some) and therefore go about their marketing strategies (linked to outrageous expenses) to accomplish the best results in terms of competition, demand, trends and bottom line. This theory – or (conniving) practice in fact, exists in everything - and it’s not something that’s about to change any time soon. If you wish to exist undisrupted by it, then you better go and buy that isolated little log cabin in a remote forest somewhere, where you can fish for food and live off the resources that nature provides you. For the rest of us, suck it up buttercup!
In an article by Science Daily, with reference to information received from the Carnegie Mellon University, they explained how the visual perception system unconsciously affects our preferences! Now I like to think I’m pretty conscious of these things but get this. “New research shows that the brain's visual perception system automatically and unconsciously guides decision-making through valence perception. The findings offer important insights into consumer behaviour in ways that traditional consumer marketing focus groups cannot address. For example, asking individuals to react to package designs, ads or logos is ineffective. Instead, companies can use this type of brain science to more effectively assess how unconscious visual valence perception contributes to consumer behaviour.”
Scary isn’t it? (But at least there’s nothing scary about wine - except the lack of it)
Now for those who are less familiar with wine brands, the task of searching for a suitable bottle of wine (for whichever occasion) can be a daunting one. I mean no one thinks it strange or unusual for you to stand in front of a bookshelf in a bookshop for ages trying to make up your mind, but when it comes to standing in front of the wines in a wine shop, the dynamics are somewhat different, aren’t they? As soon as it’s been a little while longer than a few minutes, we fear that standing there too long may make us appear like either amateur consumers, clue-less on wine, or perhaps that we’re taking forever trying to find the “good-tasting” cheapies! And God forbid that striking connoisseur who appears from no-where, sways straight into your line of sight and grabs the most expensive bottle from right in front of you! – within a snobby little “s’cuse-me”. Whatever… Be un-fazed by this, not everyone has tact, so you just enjoy your perusal further!
The idea of being influenced by the label – be it the design, the visual or emotional appeal it has on you, needn’t be viewed as a negative aspect of consumerism. More often than not, the label IS a healthy indication of what’s in the bottle, so you’re not wrong there. The label – if designed well – is intended to serve as an ambassador to the brand, and if it isn’t appealing to you, then it’s not doing its job right either!
Labels are our way of getting to know the face and personality of a brand. Sometimes we initially choose it for its appearance but ask yourself this: What would make you buy the same bottle again? – exactly, not the label, but your actual experience of the wine itself! There you go – you ARE in control!
Cheers, and may you have delightful label-encounters!