How we helped Aveleda raise a glass to the Internet
The story of how one of the most well-known wine producers in Portugal conquered the digital frontier.
“Like every good thing in life, it happened by accident”, says Beatriz Santos. She’s answering our call from the Aveleda offices, and she’s more than pleased to tell us how their relationship with Untile began.
Aveleda aren’t just a customer for Untile, nor are we just contractors to them. The two companies have been working together for over four years now, and both cherish the relationship and rapport that have been achieved in the meantime.
“Untile, which was called NQDA at the time, was one of the first big decisions I made when I joined the company”, says Beatriz, affectionately known as Bia. “We had this horrifying digital plan, with a series of websites that didn’t even have a UX component to them. We needed to change drastically, that much was clear.”
Aveleda had to find the right partner
When you are running a wine company in Portugal, there are a few things you surely understand. Wine is not just a product in this country. It’s a deeply connected element of the culture. It is part of the way people and families relate to each other. It’s impossible to have success in the business if you don’t respect that it is more than a business. Bia knew she needed partners that understood that.
“We wanted a local company, and we wanted a company that would open their doors to us so we could get to know the people behind it” she says. The first thing Aveleda did was set up a tour.
Untile goes on tour: to the vineyards
One of the first steps of this process was to bring in the Untile team. Everyone got in the car and went to the Aveleda facilities, where the Untile team could understand the product and the brand from a first hand perspective. This, to Bia, was key.
“They were really friendly and amenable, but they were also highly professional. They immediately started thinking about how to move the project forward. They found problems we didn’t even know we had.”
Changing the way Aveleda saw the Internet
Aveleda had a splendid product but they didn’t really understand how people consume information on the Internet. From Bia’s point of view, here are some of the aspects where Untile’s expertise fundamentally changed what they were doing:
Making the brand consistent: “We didn’t have a brand manual, we didn’t have dedicated copywriting, we didn’t sync all the pictures across the board. That changed.”
One website was enough: “We had two. One for corporate and another for the brand. They showed us how users consume information, and so we morphed the two websites into one, until we got the chance to create a new corporate website.”
Creating a user journey: “We weren’t doing it at all. They showed us how to guide the customer.”
A little drama gets in the way
Full transparency. We asked Bia directly: what can Untile improve?
“I don’t know about improvement. We really do like working with them. I’d have to think about it.”
We insisted. If we are making these testimonials, we want to know the bad bits as well. For every reason. Because it’s how you learn and because it’s part of being transparent.
“Well, I wouldn’t say it’s something you can improve on, but there was one moment where things did go a little wrong. A couple of years ago, a few people left Untile, and they were the ones in charge of our project. I felt a little abandoned.”
“But let me tell you, the way the problem was handled when I let them know how we were feeling was remarkable. The team nominated a new point person for our project, and she got in touch immediately. She asked me for one week to get up to date, and she did. It never happened again either.”
While personal relations were always very important to Aveleda, and they were impressed with the way Untile approached work with them, results will always be the defining factor of a business partnership.
Aveleda’s results have entirely changed since partnering with Untile, but Bia likes to mention a specific use case she feels is paradigmatic of the way this partnership has helped Aveleda grow in ways that were unexpected even to them.
Canada is a difficult market for wine, particularly when you’re operating with a specialty product that a lot of people aren’t aware of. Aveleda was keen on marketing their vinho verde in Canada. Vinho verde is a special kind of wine that you can only find in the Minho region of Northern Portugal. It can come in red, white or rosé varieties, and even sparkling wine.
This was the challenge presented to Untile.
Creating more with less
Untile was handed the project thus: Four weeks, and a limited budget. That was what was available to market an unknown product in a difficult market.
It was time to bring in a new partner. Happyfact are experts in growth hacking and, incidentally, really good friends of the Untile team. They helped devise a digital strategy that would allow Aveleda to deepen their mark in the Great White North. The combination of Aveleda’s remarkable products, Happyfact’s growth expertise and Untile’s rigorous execution would prove as effective as everyone wished.
The project would be a great success.
“In every long relationship there needs to be a little drama”, says Bia. “We knew this was a wickedly ambitious thing to try, but we knew if we got it right it would be massive. In six months, we completely dominated the words ‘vinho verde’ in the whole of Canada.”
Aveleda is proud to report that the Canadian market continues to grow, with brand awareness being higher than ever. In the year of 2021, pandemic notwithstanding, the company had already surpassed their sales goal for the entire year.
This relationship is already four years long, and yet… It’s only getting started.