The report presents the findings of a three-year project investigating the use of on-line of live-streaming video technology as a consumer-engagement strategy. Demonstrated in the three on-line wine communities developed for this project, it was found that use of this technology and similar engagement strategies may exert an important positive influence on consumers’ engagement, brand attachment, word of mouth, and willingness to pay more for wines. However, and despite this opportunity, the research also indicates that the Australian wine industry currently lacks the critical foundations (including effective websites and expertise) to enable interaction, with consumers, through the on-line engagement strategies used in this project.
Data indicates a general awareness of the importance of on-line based engagement with consumers. However, their brand web presence was not perceived to be as important as a good Facebook page and there was little to be gained by investing in it instead. Generally, respondents agreed that social media is a powerful tool, although most did not have criteria for success stipulated in their marketing planning. The other theme that was consistent and alarming was the perception that marketing expertise was ‘expensive’ and it was better (because it’s low risk) to use free tools and just see what happens. Overall, the analysis suggests an interest, but perhaps not broad-based preparedness for the implementation of interactive on-line consumer engagement in the Australian wine industry. The attitudes exhibited by the ‘Brave’ show that there is a segment in the industry that may embrace it if they are given good direction and support. With one segment of the wine industry involved in these types of strategies and reaping benefits, other segments should follow. Hence, reluctance to invest in brand websites and communities within their own controlled domains may be overcome with evidence of its benefits and advice as to how to go about developing on-line marketing plans, the resources and expertise needed for success.