Intriguing: does Social Media make for better wine?

What does the article examine?
Does Social Media influence not just overall company strategies? But does it also carry through into improved product strategies? This is the central question of the article which examines how exposure of wines on social media has let to changes in strategies.

Which concepts are discussed in the article?
The article focuses mostly on CRM strategies as a product improvement strategy, there are no obvious theoretical frameworks being used to guide the analysis.

Where is the data from and what methodology is being used?
The authors, in my view astonishingly, dismiss the use of most qualitative data – and rely mostly on quantitative data derived from a websurvey of 280 wineries in Italy – complemented by officially available statistics. The questionnaire used apparently had open ended questions, though sadly the authors don’t report any of the results (I hope there is another paper coming?).

What are the main outcomes?
The results show that wine entrepreneurs who embrace social media are more likely to implement product improvement strategies, while companies who are more established are likely not to improve their products. Interestingly, wine clubs don’t appear to influence products much at all.

wine entrepreneurs who embrace social media more likely to use product improvement strategies Click To Tweet
What are the implications and why should you read it?
There is a lot of improvement that can follow from the paper: both in terms of the actual results (e.g. It isn’t clear how product improvement is actually defined, which strategies the wine makers adopt etc) and I find it sad that none of the qualitative data is being analysed to bring greater clarity to the findings.

The paper is interesting in that it shows some links between social media usage by companies and product improvement strategies – though at the same time it raises questions why this link occurs, and if it is really a direct link. E.g. could it not be that more entrepreneurial and younger wine makers are both more open to new technology (hence use social media) and product improvements independently? Sadly the authors don’t give us the answer to that.
Fiore, M., Vrontis, D., Silvestri, R., & Contò, F. (2016). Social Media and Societal Marketing: A Path for a Better Wine? Journal of Promotion Management, 22(2), 268–279. http://doi.org/10.1080/10496491.2016.1121755

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