Cultural heritage and branding of family firms in the French wine industry : A case of Burgundian wineries
Abstract: Background: The wine industry is often linked to family business, due to the tradition of some long-standing family winery. Scholars agree that, the family elements are a factor of success in this industry. A reason for this success can be found in the branding of wineries. While the literature in branding is extensive, the link between wine family firms and their cultural heritage in the branding and the brand identity is poorly tackled. Given the wine history in a country like France, cultural heritage is a key point and its effect on wineries is a subject that deserve further research.Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the branding of wine family firms. The focus is set on exploring how and why family wineries are using their cultural heritage in branding, and how it affects the brand identity of wineries. By explaining the use of cultural heritage, we wish to understand the reason of the success in turning their personal background into the main asset of their branding strategy.Method: This research is qualitative and based on an interpretivist paradigm. Research method is following the Grounded Theory approach. Primary data are collected via open-ended interviews and all participants are family wineries with significant business seniority in Burgundy, France, as well as wine experts.Conclusion: The results show that family wineries use cultural heritage within their branding for three reasons: (1) Terroir gives the components of the product and directly influence the product positioning, (2) Customers behaviour and expectations is influenced by winery cultural heritage, (3) Industry requires higher reputation and singularity, brought by innovation and tradition. The leverage of their cultural heritage in branding and its outcomes on brand identity is done though (4) Storytelling of wineries cultural heritage which plays on the pleasure, emotional and cultural aspect of wine.
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