Interview of Gregory Moulinet: Rebranding of the Chinese Wine Dynasty
Gregory Moulinet is a Consultant in Strategic Branding at Roi Brand’s company (www.roibrand.com). He has just worked on the rebranding of the Chinese wine brand Dynasty.
Zhongguo Wine: Could you first introduce yourself?
Gregory Moulinet: I am an identity designer (logo, naming, positioning, etc), 40 years old, French. My title says “strategic creative director” which means I operate on both dimensions of creating a brand: strategy+design. I worked since 2009 with the largest branding company in China, Zheng Bang and I am the COO of ROI Brand a small consultancy helping Chinese industry and institution leaders to develop their brand overseas. Before that I worked for a total of 12 years in Japan and 5 years in the USA. While ROI Brand does the creative/strategic work, Zheng Bang does the tactical work of implementation of the brand such as Visual Identity (VI) guidelines, signage and packaging.
ZW: Is this the first time you are rebranding a Wine Brand?
G.M: Yes and it was also the first time I was branding a beverage.
ZW: Why did Dynasty want to have its identity rebranded? Did it need it?
G.M: Good question. That is actually the first thing we try to determine with any company “do they need it” to gauge their level of commitment to “change”. In this case, Dynasty had been #1 in the Chinese wine market about 10 years ago. They lost their position and became #3. Not everything is due to brand image… a lot has to do with their distribution channels. But the logo needed a real refresher, the entire cultural dynamic in the company needed a boost, the construction of a castle in Tianjin provided that and they needed a real strategy beyond “we do great wine”.
ZW: Compared to other Chinese Wine Brands what would be the assets of the brand “Dynasty”?
G.M: Their name. You know it’s a Chinese wine because there is not many countries in the world referring to their historical period with the word “Dynasty”. At the same time it is an English name which everyone understand giving them the necessary “exotic” flavor (from the Chinese point of view) of a roman typeface. The name gave us the direction for the strategy. Their other assets are their relationship with Remy Martin. I have tasted their wines and XO. They probably gave me the best of what they have. I am not a wine specialist but I sincerely really liked it. I was very surprised… so I can say the quality of production of their wines is actually an asset and they showed me an absolute respect for the French wine making tradition. Dynasty is a national company. You wouldn’t guess if you tried to look for it in a Beijing supermarket… very difficult to find… but you will find it often at state and embassy dinner tables.
ZW: You have used a Pointillism style doing the label and an “Art deco-style” symbol in designing the logo. Are These your French touch or just a coincidence?
G.M: This landscape image is what we call the “visual brand expression”. It’s not a logo but it is something that remind the brand and has become (like it or not) part of the brand equity of Dynasty. We had to remake the image because they lost the original and the scan they used on labels was of terrible quality. I wanted to give them something easy to use at any size, printed on anything and of high quality which could be easily manipulated element by element. We first gave a try by “redrawing” the image using pencils, layer by layer for each color. The layer idea was good but pencil drawing quality was bad and required to be scanned at very high resolution. An intern among my designers came up with the idea of pointillism using small vector circle clusters and presented me the test result which was great. I asked her to continue and she took 5 days to recreate the image. Almost at the end of her work, her poor little iMac could not support to calculate so many clusters… I had to take over on my own computer to finish the image. Needless to say that we hired this intern… and she is Chinese not French.
Z.W: What do you think about the Brand Identity of the most famous Chinese wine brands like Changyu, Dragon Seal, Great Wall? Which one of them would have the best branding strategy?
G.M: Before we took over the strategy, Dragon Seal and Dynasty were trapped in the same strategy of price war… which is really not where you want to be when you are selling high quality wine and be known for it. Changyu is doing the opposite… very expensive with fancy labels and packagings… I hope the quality of their wine really fits their prices and label design. Greatwall positioned themselves as the Chinese wine standard with reasonable prices, not too cheap, not too high. They are currently #1 mostly helped by their huge distribution monopoly (thanks to cofco). So Greatwall as a well deserved place right now, but if Dynasty comeback to their #1 rank I hope it will be by becoming the most popular wine among Chinese families. The wine of choice for celebrating great events such as the birth of a child born the same year of a bottle of wine. I also hope it will be because of their corporate culture. As mentioned earlier, it was impressive for me to see how much respect and passion they have about the tradition of wine making… a foreign tradition. I suspect they see themselves as the heroic guardians of this tradition in the context of China.
ZW: Do you plan to work more in the wine industry in China?
G.M: Yes, there is already few things in the pipeline. If Dynasty is successful within the next couple of years, I suspect ROI Brand will start to receive a lot more requests from this particular industry.
Zhongguo Wine – Wine in China