Partnerships and Personas of the Wine Industry, with Brittany Gibson

Episode 142:

Brittany Gibson is the Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Her experience with wine began as Advertising Director and Wine Club Manager at Fulkerson Winery, a position she held for 10 years. In her previous capacity at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, Brittany was responsible for promoting Schuyler County’s tourism industry by creating and implementing tourism marketing and public relations programs. She was also responsible for developing and implementing programs to increase the visibility and credibility of the Chamber.

Brittany serves on the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council Board of Directors, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance Marketing Committee, the Schuyler County Planning Board, and the Community Development Corporation Board of Directors. She volunteers her time serving as the coordinator of her family’s charity organization, Team Charlie.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Brittany about the importance of partnership and “co-opetition” in promoting your destinations. Brittany explains how she sorts through the noise and keeps people coming back to Seneca Lake Wine Trail day after day.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Brittany’s experience of sorting through the noise and reaching the consumer as a travel marketer in the wine industry
  • The power of partnership and co-opetition in Brittany’s marketing strategies for wine and tourism
  • Why knowing your target audience and how to market to them is pivotal to your brand, with examples of Brittany’s “wine personas”
  • Leveraging state and private partnerships to advance your brand
  • Getting people engaged in your winery destinations, keeping them coming back, and growing your audience
  • Brittany’s best practices on helping partnerships function well and how to take charge in cooperative situations

Sorting Through the Noise

As destination marketers, Brittany and I are both very familiar with the noise that surrounds what we do and how it can hurt the connection between us and the consumer. For Brittany, it was important to realize that the brand and its mission were about the consumer and reaching them in a simplistic and user-friendly way.

Since starting her new job, Brittany and her team have staged a large-scale digital media buy to significantly increase Seneca Lake’s exposure to the public. In addition, Brittany has helped to launch a new website for the wine trail, giving consumers the opportunity to explore the wines and locations they’d like to try out.

In focusing her marketing efforts, Brittany has zeroed in on three distinct “wine personas” in Seneca Lake’s target audience. The first persona, the next-generation or millennial wine drinker, is the future of the wine tasting business. The second, the “wine is life” persona, covers 35- to 50-year-old women who love immersive wine experiences as much as the wines themselves. The third persona, the fine vintage wine drinkers, are baby boomers who know their wines inside and out.

The Power of Partnership

Market research, media buys, and web development aren’t easy to do alone. For Brittany, one of the most valuable assets to making all these works is the partnership network Seneca Lake has created. In growing Seneca Lake Wine Trail as a destination, Brittany has partnered with our very own Break the Ice Media to craft Seneca Lake’s message through social media and website content.

Alongside our partnership, Brittany has built connections with restaurants, tourist attractions, and chambers of commerce all around Seneca Lake. Brittany believes that by leveraging co-opetition with public and private partners, she and her team have helped turn Seneca Lake into a true tourist destination, not just a series of wineries.

Brittany’s network of partners collaborates extremely well. To form and maintain such strong partnerships and cooperation, Brittany tells our audience to take charge, trust their instincts, and have confidence in their experience to be successful. If you’re never afraid to learn and ask questions, your partnerships and business will flourish.


Episode Transcript

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