Academic award toasts SFU branding research

Apr 28, 2012

New marketing research from SFU professor Leyland Pitt, focused on the relationship between luxury wine branding and social media, has been awarded the Outstanding Paper prize for 2012 by the Emerald Literati Network.

The article, entitled “Luxury wine brand visibility in social media:  An exploratory study” and published in International Journal of Wine Business Research, garnered the top billing as part of the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2012.

Pitt, a professor of marketing at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, co-authored the paper with Mignon Reynecke, a PhD student at the Lulea University of Technology in Sweden, and Pierre Berthon of Bentley University in Boston. The article was chosen following consultation amongst the journal’s editorial team, made up of eminent academics and industry leaders. According to Emerald Group Publishing, it was selected as “one of the most impressive pieces of work the team has seen throughout 2011.”

In the paper, Pitt and his colleagues set out to address the visibility of luxury wine brands in the social media environment, in particular the Bordeaux first growth brands. They explained that the Bordeaux wines were used because, given their retail price, reputation and rarity, they “epitomize not only luxury wine brands, but also luxury brands in general… they are the kinds of brands that legends are made of.”

They gathered social media data on the five Bordeaux first growths from the website How Sociable, comparing overall visibility scores and  visibilities in 32 different forms of social media. Ultimately, they focused on the brands’ visibility and intersection with “the most important and most relevant social media” such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ning and Digg.

Perhaps surprisingly, they found that that some of the luxury brands considered did not, at the time the data were gathered, have a clearly defined social media strategy.

That lack of focus in the social media environment may not last for long, however. According to the researchers, there are opportunities moving forward for luxury wine brand managers to use social media as a tool in their marketing strategies. They note that some threats may exist to these brands should they take a laissez faire approach to social media, particularly given the rise of social media’s influence and credibility among consumers.

“Social media are now as influential, if not more so than, conventional media,” they said. “This has a massive impact on brands.”

To this end, luxury marketers in the wine space will need to give serious consideration to every social media tool at their disposal.

“Astute wine brand managers will define the social media that they care most about,” say the researchers. “Brands can take directions in social media that would have been unlikely if not impossible just five years ago. Brand managers will not fully be able to control the destinies of these brands, but at least they should still be part of, and ideally, direct the conversations that occur around their brands.”

In addition to the Outstanding Paper Award, the article was also selected as the best paper of the year in International Journal of Wine Business Research.

Further information about the research can be viewed at

For more information about the Emerald Literati Network’s Awards for Excellence, visit

About Developer Marketing
This is bio!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,