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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Wine Business Research, Volume 26, Issue 3
This special issue with Barry Babin (Max P. Watson Jr. Professor of Business at Louisiana Tech University) as Guest Editor represents a significant step in the association between the Academy of Marketing Science (AMS), the International Journal of Wine Business Research and the wine research community overall. The first three papers in this issue are from the AMS Annual Conference, whereas the fourth was originally destined for publication in a later regular issue of IJWBR. Overall, these papers fit nicely together to contribute to greater understanding of wine marketing and consumer behaviour in general.
The AMS has a long history of featuring and recognizing wine-related marketing research at its annual conference. In 2013, the conference took place in Monterey, California. Regular attendees of the AMS Conference know that each year since 1996 the conference has included a plenary wine marketing session. Although the session is interactive, meaning tasting is part of the event, each session also includes a research presentation and very often a research demonstration of some sort. The wine marketing session intends to stimulate interest into how wine research is relevant to marketing in general and can be used in one’s own research and teaching efforts. Over the years, sessions have featured research on many topics including how price and image affect perceptions of a wine’s taste, the impact of a wine’s region of origin on image and taste perception, the effect of ethnocentricity on wine preference, and most recently (2013), research examining label presentations (such as casual versus technical presentations of information) and the impact of third-party endorsements, such as those from the Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate on willingness to pay and taste perceptions.
In 2013, Ulrich Orth (former Editor) invited track presenters to submit papers to be considered for a special issue of IJWBR. Thus, the following three papers presented here represent research presented initially to the AMS audience. Each survived a rigorous review process in IJWBR involving multiple rounds of revision. These papers each offer meaningful contributions to theory and practice. The papers also show how wine research has much to offer to marketing and consumer behaviour research. These papers have the potential to lend insights into phenomena that go beyond the wine realm. The useful input of the new IJWBR Editor, Johan Bruwer, is also much appreciated, and we look forward to his continued contribution.
Beninger, Parent, Pitt and Chan present a content analysis of wine blogs. The research acknowledges the potential for the blogosphere to serve as a source for expert opinion and recommendations. However, like the rest of the Internet, the consumer needs to beware, as not all blog opinions are equally expert. The content analysis points to the importance of conveying the sensory experience to consumers as a means of generating and maintaining traffic to the site. Visitors to the blog want to know the stories of the wines more than they wish to know its attributes. Further, research suggests that bloggers throw in substantial self-promotion into their content as a way of providing a general marketing tool that goes beyond the site.
Pelet and Lecat provide a timely exploration of how Gen-Y consumers use their smartphones in a wine context. The empirical examination includes a regression model predicting frequency of wine purchase with a host of predictors tied to respondents’ smartphone habits. Results point to more frequent wine purchasing among smartphone users. These users connect to the Internet with their phone and particularly appreciate the ready ability to find not just quantity of content about wine but also the richness of that content. In this sense, the results are consistent with those of Beninger et al. noted above. Interestingly, the research points to negative relationships among Gen-Y consumers between both Internet purchasing in general (beyond wine) and social media usage and frequency of wine purchase. Perhaps social networking online diminishes opportunities for face-to-face social networking that might involve a glass of wine. Whatever the case, these issues are ripe for future research.
Rinaldo, Duhon, Trela, Dodd and Velikova offer keen insight into what goes on in the mind of the wine consumer. Their research uses fNIR brain imaging technology to map what goes on in the brain as respondents evaluate and taste wine. The results are fascinating and cross brain activity with subjective wine knowledge and wine involvement. Although those rating themselves as experts show brain activity that verifies increased neural processing when tasting but not smelling dry wine, those with high involvement show an opposite pattern. The difference in reaction to a dry versus sweet wine may be consistent with preference patterns of frequent wine drinkers. This innovative research offers behavioural insights into wine evaluation among consumers of different levels of knowledge and involvement. Also, they tie back to what goes on in the sensory experience of consumption.
Last, but not least, Spielmann, Jolly and Parisot explored the use of the word terroir by print media in France. This (regular issue destined) paper contributes to the growing body of research that seeks to understand the value of terroir as a marketing attribute. The results show that although it is not a frequently used descriptor/word, terroir in tasting notes leads to significantly higher scores and prices for wines than when terroir is not included in the note. Among the practical implications of the research is that wine managers should often use the word terroir in their press releases and communication pieces. Moreover, the dimension of terroir that brand managers put forward in their communication pieces will influence the way in which the media frame their product.
Johan Bruwer and Barry J. Babin