Hob Nob – The Backstory

The marketer in me loves diving into the backstory to learn more about the brands I feature.  I like to get a feel for how the brand describes their customer, how they express their personality across all their marketing materials, and what they choose to share (or not) about the brand.  This week, as I dug deeper into HobNob, I found a number of things I would not have expected when I selected the bottle for its sophisticated, clean design.

The Un-French French Wine

The first surprise – Hob Nob is not a US wine….the winery is in France.  WJ Deutsch & Sons imports the portfolio of wines so that we can enjoy them here in the states.  From the packaging, I would have never guessed this was a French wine and I’m quite sure that is their intent.  Even the “contact us” page on their website directs you to an address in White Plains, NY.  As I read the opinions of others across the web, I realized that I wasn’t the only one to be “surprised” to find they were drinking a french wine.

Wine Accenting Experiences

As I opened the website and social media sites for Hob Nob, I found the headline on their twitter page to be very interesting:

HobNob is not just a wine, it’s a way of life which personifies a playful exuberance and a passion for music and culture.

Expanding the brand into a lifestyle beyond the drink itself is a great way to create a deeper connection with fans of the wine.  On the WJ Deutsch & Sons website, the brand philosophy was described in a bit more detail.

HobNob is a new, easy-to-drink wine that personifies a “social-style” and appeal found in today’s young adult society. Through its cool, clean and stylistic bottle design, HobNob will resonate with these next generation style-conscious consumers. These next generation consumers strive to create social-group environments and will choose HobNob to be at the center of it all.

Looking at the approach across the website and social media, I definitely saw the connection to young adult music and culture.  The Facebook and Twitter feeds in particular were full of music content.  In fact, the volume of posts might have skewed slightly stronger on the music side than on the wine side.

Split Design Styles

While I really like the brand personality of Hob Nob, I did struggle a bit with what felt like two design styles used across their brand.  The packaging carries a clean, sophisticated design style that drew me in initially at the store. That direction was repeated on the main page of the website (shown at the top of this post).  However, from there, the individual pages of the website took on a more playful, illustrated theme.

A third design style even emerged as I looked at a promotion that Hob Nob is featuring prominently on the social media sites.

 

Brand with Personality

While the design styles vary a bit, there were many things I found on the website that were interesting and fun to engage with.  I thought I would mention two of my favorites in the post.  To see more, you need to visit the website yourself.

The first section I loved is “Social Mastery”.  There were three categories – cooking, dating & parties, and crisis.  Each category had the perfect mix of advice and humor.  The example shown here is from the “crisis” section.  This page is advice for those who have the wine, but don’t have a corkscrew.  For anyone who has been in this situation (myself included), you know that this truly is a CRISIS!  They provide four different tips for opening the bottle ranging from “The MacGyver Method” to “The Boy Scout”.

 

Another section of the site that I really appreciated was the Wine Locater.  While this feature is not unique on a wine website, the approach that Hob Nob has taken is one I have not come across before.  They have two choices for location – staying in or dining out.  So, not only can they direct you to the stores where you can purchase the wine, they also let you know the restaurants in the area that carry the wine.

Summary

Overall, I think Hob Nob is a brand striving to take a different approach in the established wine industry.  Rather that focusing on the wine, they are embracing a culture and community where the wine is consumed.  I do believe there are things they could do to make their brand voice stronger and more consistent across their marketing channels.  As I move into the design phase for the jewelry, I have a bit of thinking to do on how I’ll approach (or ignore) this split design personality.  We’ll see what happens.  What do you think about the backstory and branding of Hob Nob Wines?

 

Share

Leave a Reply

About

My name is Lori Sullivan. By day I'm a Marketing Strategist and by night I'm a Jewelry Designer. I also enjoy relaxing with family and friends with a great wine or beer. This blog is the place where my passions for drinks, design, memories and marketing mix.