INTOUCH – Integral Innovation

The key to success is to drive innovation as an integral part of business – not to sideline it off into its own team or department. So says Ross Brown, chief executive of Australia’s Brown Brothers wine company.
In New Zealand last month to launch sparkling pink Zibibbo Rosa, the vineyard’s newest offering and nod to the statistics which show sparkling wine is the fastest growing category here and across the ditch, Brown is passionate about the need for innovation saying “it’s integral to the success of the business”.
“Being innovative is not an annual event and is of little value until it becomes an enduring company culture.”
Wine tastes go in cycles, with varieties coming in and out of favour every 10 years. How then do you keep vineyard productive when it takes four to five years to bring new vines into production, meaning you have to work at least five years ahead of changing tastes?
Brown Brothers’ solution has been to introduce research and development – aka the driver of innovation – across all aspects of its production. One example is the vineyard ‘kindergarten’ it runs, where different grape varieties are tried and experimented with and new ideas are fast-tracked. This in-house work supplemented with bought industry research on drinking and taste trends has meant Brown Brothers is able to continually produce wine which is in demand.
Brown explains that around 100,000 people visit the vineyard – in north-east New South Wales – each year and this provides another research avenue. As visitors taste and purchase wine, Brown Brothers staff pay close attention to their comments and feedback.
“We’ve never had dud,” Brown says, referring to the 100 percent hit rate of products received well at the cellar door when they hit the open market.
Building relationships is also extremely important, Brown says. “We want our customers to feel they have relationship with us and the brand and we want to win customer for life.”
“Co-opertition” is another Brown favourite – meaning that he’s keen to work in with other businesses in the region to promote total visitor number growth, but they shouldn’t forget that once the bodies reach NSW then he will compete vigorously for them to visit his premises rather than others.

Visited 9 times, 1 visit(s) today
Close Search Window