HELMS, VORONOV, MASSA, WANG: How to turn a brand’s friends (and detractors) into evangelists — The case of Canadian wine

Goodman School of Business faculty members Wesley Helms and Maxim Voronov co-authored a piece published in the London School of Economics Business Review about cool-climate wineries in Ontario using conversion rituals to overcome reputation for low quality. The piece was written in conjunction with Assistant Professor Felipe Massa, of the College of Business at Loyola University New Orleans, and Associate Professor Liang Wang, of the University of San Francisco.

Helms, Voronov and their co-authors write:

Organisations ranging from giants such as Apple and Amazon to small wineries and fashion boutiques regularly commit resources to persuading others to tout their innovative products. The results of these efforts are often mixed – some can build a passionate following that spreads news of how groundbreaking or remarkable a product might be, and some waste resources on customers that never fully engage. Without word-of-mouth, organisations tend to falter and stumble waiting for their ideas to catch on in crowded, fast-moving markets where chances to stoke customer devotion are few and far between.

The case of cool-climate winemaking in Ontario, Canada sheds new light on how companies might successfully and reliably work to “convert” occasional customers or industry spectators into evangelists fervently “spreading the word” about their innovations.

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