The Power of Authenticity in Rebranding


Even when companies know it’s time to rebrand, they drag their feet—and who can blame them? Rebranding is expensive and time consuming, and if done poorly, it risks losing loyal followers. But the risks of not rebranding can be even greater—being left behind, becoming obsolete.

When I worked with Mendocino Wine Company to rebrand the Parducci small lot portfolio, it was an enormous undertaking, both from a creative and a practical standpoint. Sometimes rebranding can be an evolutionary process, updating small but important elements over time. In this case, however, the wine label needed a revolutionary new look.

I worked with Senior Brand Manager Chase Thornhill to clearly define the elements that make Parducci so popular, focusing on Parducci’s unique history and heritage. They’ve been making wine in Mendocino County for more than 80 years—that’s a long freaking time! And for decades, their customers have relied on Parducci’s consistent quality, year after year.

When you spend time with the folks at Mendocino Wine Company like I have, you get a sense of how deeply they connect to the land and how invested they are in making great wine. They are not the least bit interested in marketing gimmicks or trendy, here-today-gone-tomorrow promotional ideas. They demand authenticity, especially in their branding. It’s part of why I love working with them, and frankly, I believe it’s part of why they consistently outperform so many competitors.

When you think about it, a brand is a promise. It’s an honest reflection of everyone and everything in your company in good times or bad. In Parducci’s case, it means this:

WE SIDE WITH CHARACTER OVER FASHION, think timelessness is underrated and find that wines are enjoyed best when they’re folded into daily life.

WE LOVE HONEST VARIETAL FLAVORS AND NUANCED AGING and temper refinement with true grit.

WE’RE FANS OF IMPROMPTU ENTERTAINING and think everything’s right when something’s left
just a little imperfect.

WE PAIR REDS WITH FARM-GROWN VEGGIES, white wines with a great cut of meat and sustainable foods with sustainably made bevs.

WE DON’T BELIEVE THERE’S SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH HOSPITABLITY—and we don’t forget to say “Hi” whether in our tasting room or online.

WE’RE AN AMERICAN BRAND, but we celebrate our origins with varietals from around the Old World, too: Petite Sirah, Sauvignon (Cabernet / Blanc), and Pinot Noir.

WE DON’T BELIEVE THERE’S JUST ONE WAY TO ENJOY A WINE, but we do have a few ideas on how to pull a pairing together. FOR US, THE MAGIC IS IN THE MIX.

I had a great time collaborating with Chase, from the first discussions about the rebrand through the final production checks. Chase was very sweet when he described our six-month rebranding project. He said, “It was a collaborative process on multiple fronts, not just working together on design, but with all the ancillary agencies, from consumer research to press checks for the labels to inspecting the capsules to the glass shippers. Karen was there to ensure the brand was consistently implemented start to finish.”

And you know the best news of all? The new design is being very well received!

Chase said, “Early reads are very positive. Our distributors, buyers, and people who come in to the tasting room all remark on how much better the brand looks, what an improvement it is.”

Yay! Mission accomplished.

If you’re considering a re-brand, be sure to set aside some time to really explore your values, who you are as a company. Don’t choose your tagline, your color scheme, or your imagery based on what’s popular. Base it on who you are. If you buck the trend, so be it. You may just stand out from the crowd in the most wonderful way. Parducci sure does.