“Spreading the wealth sharing luxury Champagne, wine, and spirits with influential consumers”

 

Seth Hillstrom:

We’re excited to be chatting with Seth Box of Moët Hennessy today about his role sharing some of the world’s finest Champagne, wine, and spirits with high-value corporate and private clients.
This discussion is a part of our eBev Global Interview Series (archive here: https://lnkd.in/eSApwsq). Please feel free to chime in, and don’t forget to join us all in Las Vegas for eBev October 24-26th (message me if you need info).
Seth, thanks so much for being with us today!

Delighted to join you!

Hillstrom:

Seth, as we’re so often speaking to folks who’ve come up on the marketing side of the business, it’s really a treat to speak with someone so knowledgeable about what’s in the bottle (and how to share it with the world!). Can you tell us a little about your background producing wine and Champagne, and how that’s put you on a path to your current role as Private Client Director for Moët Hennessy USA?

Box:

I was fortunate to get involved in wine production at a relatively early stage. First NAPA, then New Zealand and finally Piedmont, Italy. The one common thread was a high leave of quality and craftsmanship. This has been the dominant theme. Throughout my career, whether in production, marketing or sales.

Hillstrom:

So, tell us what it means to be responsible for developing the corporate and private client side of the business. Does your work tie back primarily to brand education and evangelism, or are you focused on driving direct sales amongst clients as well?

Box:

I believe if done correctly, the line between the two should be relatively thin. We don’t hard sell, and rely heavily on experiential education to convey the brand message. It also helps tremendously that the liquid inside the bottle, whether Dom Perignon, Krug or Clicquot, is world class.

Hillstrom:

You’ve orchestrated some incredible partnerships and events on behalf of Moët Hennessy USA. What are your top priorities in creating such memorable experiences for some of your most valuable and influential customers?

Box:

We all seek unique experiences. The more affluent the client, the more access they tend to have. By understanding the underlying curiously or desire of our individual and business clients, we are able to focus on what’s important to them. Never loosing sight of who and what our priorities are, and putting the client first provides a foundation of trust and continuity from which all of our creativity stems.

Hillstrom:

I really like your customer/client-centric approach.  It allows you to stay true to your brands and your customers simultaneously.

When you think about sharing luxury Champagne, wine, and spirits with corporate and private clients, what is it you most want folks to learn or takeaway from the high-touch engagements (such as events)?

Box:

Unlike watches, jewelry or cars, a bottle of Champagne or wine will be consumed. We have 750ml to impress and elicit an emotion which is significant enough to compel our clients to open another bottle. The most important thing therefore is to create that connection and have it be memorable. It’s about pleasure ultimately, and how we enjoy what we sip and savor. It must always be special and never pretentious.

Hillstrom:

I really like that way of looking at it, and what a pull-quote:  “We have 750ml to impress and elicit an emotion which is significant enough to compel our clients to open another bottle”

Finally, I can only imagine just how well you have your fingers on the pulse of the market for luxury alcohol of all kinds. Can you give us three major trends or shifts that you believe will be most impactful to the wine and Champagne markets over the next few years?

Box:

Collectible wines continue to post significant growth. I expect wine investing in the US to evolve and wine funds to develop in order to service this market.

Champagne is increasingly popular, and is finally being recognized at the top as a category which can stand the test of time. It still provides incredible value when compared to Burgundy or Bordeaux, both from an investment and enjoyment perspective. It takes over 20 years to make Krug Grande Cuvee, which at $150 is still a relative bargain. I expect more people globally to realize this in the next 5 years.

Finally, with regards to fine wine, the Baby Boomers are aging and drinking less. Luxury producers will need to be nimble engaging the next generation of clients and may have to rethink how they approach this younger audience. I also believe professional women have not received the attention they deserve from fine wine companies and that there is a significant opportunity if approached genuinely.

Hillstrom:

I’d say all 3 are right in line with what we’re seeing at BMA.  Seth, thanks so much for sharing such a wealth of insights today, and we look forward to seeing what’s next for you and Moët Hennessy!

Box:

My pleasure. Thanks for the interest.

 

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