A company survives and grows due to sales and the loyalty of customers and staff. Sales are based on price, value, dependability, integrity, availability and perception. The basis of perception is image, networking, and more recently, the transparency of the producer.

Transparency is what the brand stands for, its authenticity, its identification with higher values, and the actions it takes to demonstrate those values.

When companies subscribe to a higher order of value, beyond the products they sell, they have an advantage in today’s marketplace. Employees excel, and tend to stay with these companies, providing long-term relationships with retail buyers, customers and complementary organizations.


 The Culture of Customer Service

At the time Barefoot Wine was founded, the business model was considered radical. The founders viewed it as more of a “service” rather than merely a product. At Barefoot’s price point, which we termed the “velocity price point”, it was clear that it could not survive without becoming “America’s Personal House Wine”. From the beginning, it was understood that it had to sell massive quantities to stay in business.

“Personal House Wine” was defined as the wine one serves in one’s own house as a staple: “Tuesday night wine, picnic wine, beach wine”. It was the wine to always keep on hand. It was the brand you discovered that consistently delivered the quality and value you had come to expect from your own “personal house wine”.

The company knew that customers (“foot fans”) would be loyal to the brand as long as the price remained stable (at the velocity price point), the taste profile was consistent (delicious), and it was available and easy to buy (in stock).

The original Barefoot culture wa based on the most comprehensive definition of customer service. Imagine a company that, through worthy cause promotions, encouraged customers to go into specific retail establishments to buy their brand. Imagine a company that viewed its displays as retail entertainment, adding color, fun, and theme sets for the enjoyment of its customers! This is the ultimate in customer service to your retailer, your end-user, and to your community.

The Culture of Acknowledgement

People are motivated by goal achievement, but also by public recognition. It not only validates their creativity, but it send a message to the rest of the troops that this type of behavior is not only appreciated, but also identified and exemplified.

Appreciation goes a long way toward building team spirit and encouraging everyone on the team to be creative in a productive and fun way. They know that top management and their teammates will recognize their achievement and are not afraid to speak up about it. They are encouraged to create imaginative promotions and fun events.

Public acknowledgement, especially in written form, circulated to all staff, is validation. Employees want to know that they are contributing, and that their efforts are being appreciated. Third party validation from managers, peers, customers, associates and non-profits builds confidence to go out and do more of the same, or better! It also give your people an appreciation of what their team mates are doing to improve everybody’s circumstances.

Positive company culture is the foundation of company success. It reduces turnover, improves morale, cooperation and overall team spirit, all of which result in increased imagination and productivity.  Next time we will examine the culture of Common Causes.

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Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.