In 2006, young entrepreneur Josh Hackler started Spanish Vines (SV) to import Spanish wine into the United States. In 2009 SV recorded its first sales, and it has been growing ever since. By the end of 2012, it had secured distribution in eight US states and the District of Columbia (the nation’s capital, Washington, DC), with many more states in various stages of development. The company’s home market strategy was successful and growing.
In 2012, a trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Colombia (as well as Peru) was announced that would eliminate the value added tax on European wines imported into Colombia. Hackler saw this as an opportunity to be an early mover into Colombia. One of the key strategies SV would have to develop and implement was an effective launch plan.
Specifically, how should the company generate awareness of, interest in, willingness to try and brand loyalty for SV products? And what brand, or set of brands, should SV launch in the Colombian market? While there are also important distribution and pricing issues that SV would have to tackle, this case focuses on the product, marketing communication and branding issues necessary to begin “pulling” customers toward the brand(s).
The case presents background information on the company, global and Spanish wine industries, and the Colombian economy and wine market. The case concludes with the following questions for students to ponder: Is the Colombian opportunity the right one to begin expanding SV’s international footprint? If so, should Hackler launch with house brands, partner brands or both? And what message and media could he use to tell the SV story and make his first venture into Latin America a success?
- Foreign market attractiveness, in particular the pursuit of opportunistic growth strategies
- Challenges small, entrepreneurial businesses face when building brands, generating consumer awareness and interest and gaining distribution coverage
- Strengths and limitations of export–import business models for new market entry
- Market comparisons, specifically as they pertain to customer segments, target markets and product positioning strategies
- Message and media communications challenges in launching a new brand in a new market on a limited budget