Craft & Cluster

Incorporating Diversity & Inclusion Messaging into Your Marketing w/ Alisha Sommer

June 14, 2021 Heather Daenitz | Alisha Sommer Episode 23
Craft & Cluster
Incorporating Diversity & Inclusion Messaging into Your Marketing w/ Alisha Sommer
Show Notes Transcript

Today I had the privilege of talking with Alisha Sommer about incorporating diversity and inclusion messaging into your marketing. Particularly on social media. This topic is something we should be talking about regularly and all the time and revisiting often.  But it's particularly timely as this month, we will be celebrating the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth.

Alisha gives us a brief history of what Juneteenth is and talks about how to incorporated DEI messaging into your business intentionally

I also ask her if brands who haven't yet put in the work of incorporating this messaging into their marketing or even into their business should start with Juneteenth. Spoiler alert, her answer is NO.

Alisha is of the opinion that you need to put in the work internally (and really WANT to do this work) before you go sharing that messaging, and I have to agree. Now, should you choose to stay silent on this holiday, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be putting in the work: Alisha gives several awesome ideas for you to start doing this work internally and then gives ideas on how to start sharing those values publicly.

Support and follow Alisha:

*Craft & Cluster is a company founded on the belief that the wine industry should be a diverse and inclusive space.  As such, I am committed to donating 5% of my profits from 2021 to the Cal Poly Scholarship for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in Wine & Viticulture. My hope is that this scholarship will help BIPOC students (who are extremely underrepresented in the wine industry) get an education and help contribute their exceptional talent to the Wine Industry. 

If you would also like to donate to this scholarship fund, you may do so by visiting this link:
No donation is too small

Disclaimer: The information contained on this podcast and the resources available for download through the accompanying website are for educational and informational purposes only. ​ The information contained on this podcast and the resources available for download through the accompanying website is not intended as, and shall not be understood or construed as legal, financial, tax, medical, health, or any other professional advice.

Episode 23

Heather Daenitz: [00:00:00] hello and welcome to the crafted cluster podcast. A show all about marketing your wine brand in the digital age. I'm your host, Heather  of photographer and social media consultant based in Santa Barbara wine country. I help wine brands just like yours. Tell the true story of how they get their wine from grape to glass.

Today's episode is very special. I have the privilege of talking with Alicia summer, a bay area writer and photographer about how wine brands can incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into their marketing. This topic is particularly timely as this episode is being released the Monday before Juneteenth, but it's something we should be discussing often, and it should be incorporated into a sustainable business and marketing plan.

I've been wanting to host Alicia on the podcast for some time. She is an incredibly talented writer and photographer who is so intentional with everything that she does. It really shows in the work she does and how she lives her life. So without further ado, let's dive into this episode of the craft and cluster podcast with Alicia summer.

Hi, Alisha, how are you doing today? 

Alisha Sommer: [00:01:13] Doing great. Thanks, Heather. How are you?

Heather Daenitz: [00:01:15] I am wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast to talk with me about this today. I'm so excited. 

Alisha Sommer: [00:01:22] Yeah I can't wait to talk about it. 

Heather Daenitz: [00:01:24] Well, before we dive into this awesome topic, first, I want to ask you how,  How did you, what do you do?

Who are you? What do you do? Um, and why do you do it? 

Alisha Sommer: [00:01:36] Hm. Okay. So I feel like I do and am a lotof things, but I will just use the one word storyteller. So I feel like I'm a storyteller at the heart of everything. And my day job is as the director of marketing for a small wine brand in Napa valley called Trois Noix. But I also do freelance writing, freelance photography. I host writing workshops. I do creative retreats. So all underneath the realm of storytelling.  And I've been doing it for, it feels like forever. Quite honestly, 

Heather Daenitz: [00:02:09] you're a Renaissance woman. You're doing a little bit of everything. I love that.

And how long have you been in the wine industry? 

Alisha Sommer: [00:02:16] It's funny. I feel like. I feel like I've been in the industry my entire life. And I say that only because my dad worked for Anheuser-Busch. So growing up, I was around the alc-bev industry  but, my parents didn't drink around us. I think, trying to make sure that we didn't turn into drinkers.

Backfired, of course. Um, but, um, so my dad was with Anheuser-Busch my entire childhood. And then my husband, when I met him, he was managing restaurants. So that kind of really like catapulted my exposure to wine and wine education and interest. But I've only been working in the wine industry since.

December of 2018, when I first moved to California, I've always done things, kind of like tangental related, like interviewed people that were in wine, interviewed people in food and beverage. But my first wine job was at the tasting room at Wente vineyards in Livermore valley. And then I've just kind of like quickly grown into this director of marketing role.

Heather Daenitz: [00:03:14] Well, you definitely seem like you fit. Perfectly within the wine industry. I mean, it's it you've, it honestly feels like you've been in the wine industry forever. I did not know that that 2018 was your first official wine job. That's wonderful. 

Alisha Sommer: [00:03:29] Yeah, thanks!. 

Heather Daenitz: [00:03:30] I love that. 

But you've been exposed to the hospitality world,  for a long time and and the alcohol beverage industry for a long time. That's cool that your dad worked for Anheuser-Busch awesome. My husband works for a beer distributor here in Santa Barbara county and, but they, they distribute Miller Coors. So yeah,haha. Get outta here with your conflicting. Breweries!  Well today we're going to be talking about incorporating diversity and inclusion messaging into your marketing. Particularly on social media. , this topic of course, is something we should be talking about regularly and all the time and revisiting often.  But it's particularly timely. As this month, we will be celebrating the, I think it's the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. So for those who don't know, would you be able to give us a brief history of what Juneteenth is and why it's a significant holiday in the United States?

And would you be also be able to talk to if it's significant to you and why it's significant to you? 

Alisha Sommer: [00:04:41] Yeah. So I'll start with that part of the question first, because. The definition for me is so short, because to be quite honest with you even though I'm a Black woman. I was raised in predominantly white neighborhoods, my entire life.

So that means that for context,  I was always in a white school. And what we know now about history and is particularly in white, suburban areas, what you are learning in history and what your materials and the, what you have access to is not very diverse. So even though Juneteenth is something that I kind of had heard about, like reading through history, it was not anything like my family practiced or we celebrated or had traditions around and.

Because my dadworked for Anhauser- Bush, we moved around a lot. So we weren't like centrally located anywhere. I grew up all his down the east coast a little bit in the south, some in the Midwest. So I think there's also probably some regionality to that aspect as well. But. Juneteenth is a holiday. It's the celebration or the recognition of the day that slaves in Texas found out that they were free because even though Abraham Lincoln had signed an order, I think a little over two years before that nobody had told them in that particular state.

So even though technically, enslaved people were supposed to be free, not everybody had been freed. And of course this is. Not that surprising because you know, part of being enslaved is a lack of access to information. And so all of that knowledge was withheld from them and, which is actually like really sad, like these, you know, the state of Texas in particular got away with continuing to have slavery as part of their, their livelihood and in their economy.

For that many years after people had the ability to be freed or at least escape the. Same type of slave like conditions that they had been exposed to. So that's really what that is. It's like it's the day that everybody actually was freed. And it has different names, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day.

And really it's just like any other. Celebration. I, you know, I would, I don't like to use this analogy all the time, but it's like the Black people's 4th of July the United States celebrates his independence from Britain from 1776. Like this is the day that Black people celebrate their own freedom and like this idea, or at least this opportunity for them to have escaped slavery.

Heather Daenitz: [00:07:03] Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. That's a really great way to put it and to explain it. It's it's really, I mean, you, you cut, we're kind of right to the core of, of,  my own frustration and things that I'm unlearning and relearning, which is, you know, unlearning the history that I was taught in school. Of course, as a white woman, I went and I went to a private Christian elementary school.

We didn't learn you know, the whole story, the whole story of, the United States history. And I mean, recently I, I just learned, I just found out that Memorial day was actually founded as a Black holiday, which is wonderful. 

Alisha Sommer: [00:07:51] Yeah. 

Heather Daenitz: [00:07:53] I had no idea, which is so cool, which is such a beautiful piece of history that I feel.

Really jipped of, you know, that I feel like that's something that we sh everyone should know. And I, you know, and I, I, we can say this till we're blue in the face. Every single time I learn something new it's, you know, I'm like, why didn't we know this? This is so. Pivotal and interesting and, and cool. Like that's a cool piece of history that I want to know about that.

And so, yeah, this is all of this, as you know, and you not being exposed,  to this celebration because you know, it, it is, it is particularly regional as a Juneteenth, as a Texas holiday in particular. But, what it means for everybody is. Is it much deeper than that. And so that's, it's interesting to hear that one that you didn't, you also did not know that Memorial day was originally a Black holiday.

Um, I think it was called remembrance day. Yeah. And, and that Juneteenth, wasn't part of a regular celebration for, for you and your family. 

Alisha Sommer: [00:08:57] Yeah. I think that's an important. Thing for everybody to know, you know, I can't remember who was saying, who said this and I'm going to paraphrase it, but essentially it's the idea that like,   racism and white supremacy,  affects everybody. Even though I am a Black person, I inhabit a Black body and I am living in the United States. , there's still my, like, I have a history that I am also trying to unlearn and learn. And so I think we all assume that, you know, every person of Asian descent like knows everything about Asian history and everybody who is, you know, from South America, like they're,  they all fully know the south American history and like, no, actually that stripping of knowledge and that stripping of memory affects everybody.

It's white people. It affects the people whose histories we have forgotten. Like it's not, it's a lost knowledge for a lot of folks. And so I think that's also important to note is that like all of us have a different. You know, it just depends. All of us have a different level of knowledge across the board because that's actually what the system has done is like made it so that everybody forgets, 

Heather Daenitz: [00:09:59] which as you said, it hurts everybody. And  it doesn't serve anyone at all, , in the long run and yeah. And so that's, that's, I mean, that goes into,  what we're going to be talking a little bit more deeply about is, you know, why we want to be, why we want to be. Incorporating diversity inclusion messaging into our marketing. And particularly right now, as, as where we are going to be celebrating Juneteenth, , when this pop podcast released this episode released it'll be in a week.

So it'll be the Saturday after it's released, I think. Yes.  And so. So the, yeah, as, as I said, this is a particularly timely message, but something that we, we should be talking about all the time and revisiting often and just keeping at the forefront of our minds.

So speaking specifically to Juneteenth,  yeah, this podcast we talk to, we helped small wine brands market their wine.  Usually these are brands that have. They don't have a huge marketing team. They don't have a huge marketing budget. It's just them. Usually it's, it's either the winemaker or the owner or thetasting room manager  or someone, or even somebody within the tasting room who is, you know, managing, social media on top of email marketing on top of, yeah.

They're, they're, they're, you know, they're cleaning toilets, they're doing everything like it's. Yeah. Um, and so. This episode, I would really like to kind of focus on how we can help those people, those smaller wine brands. And of course, if there are some larger wine brands listening,  they should tune into this as well.

This is very important. Helping those wine brands, this small wine brands incorporate that diversity and inclusion messaging into their, into their marketing in a regular way.  But let's start with Juneteenth. how can brands,  particularly wine brands. Celebrate Juneteenth. 

Alisha Sommer: [00:11:53] Yeah, I think to me, I think the most  important part that all of us can play is education.

And so I feel like that is what I would like to see more of from all brands. Really. It's kind of like a, it's not so much like, like let's rush out and find all of the Black people that we can kind of highlight and support through our social media channels, which is. Helpful like it, that there really is a place for that.

But I think, especially with something like Juneteenth or any other holiday that has such a, significant. It's like a really significant part of history. Like we would all do better if we had more education behind it. So that, that way, at least you can provide a context for later on when you have now chosen to like highlight people of color or Black people on your, on your social media channels, like, oh, but I also know this thing about Juneteenth and because once you start doing that research, then just your overall knowledge and understanding, I think kind of deepens.

And I think that's kind of where I would like to see. Wine marketers do, and wineries do is that, you know, do some research like Google, keep learning, find random facts, like just things that are small facts or things that you think might be insignificant. Cause one of the things too, that I think we sometimes forget is that right?

Even though we think that we've seen a piece of information, a bunch of times, there's definitely a handful of people that are in our audience that have never seen it before. And people don't hold a retain things as you know, as a marketer. So they, a lot of times, like it's a lot of like scrolling through your phone or  scanning an article for an idea or information to really like set in and hit you and like be absorbed so that like, it becomes a part of your consciousness.

And I think that's the most important piece, in my opinion, it's Yes. We want to talk about people who are doing good work and Black people are doing good work, Black people who are in the industry or related to industry somehow. But I would love to see more education  brands really saying , look, I actually don't know that much about this holiday, but we're going to share what we learned as we learn it with you all.

And , now we'll all know. And then next year we'll deepen that or we'll expand it in a different way. 

Heather Daenitz: [00:13:59] Yeah, that's a great answer. I love that answer. , yeah, it's, it's just constant exposure. And, and as you said, yeah, I mean, I think the stat that I read somewhere is that someone needs to see a piece of, I mean, in this case, in this context was marketing.

Someone needs to see a, a piece of marketing, something like eight times before they'll actually take action on it. And so. Just extrapolating that and putting that into this context of, you know, people need to see, see this eight times before they're actually, it's going to sink in for them and become a regular part of their identity and H and how they perceive your brand's identity as well.

So that's a really, really great way to explain that. Okay. So, Continuing this conversation. There are a lot of brands out there who are still needing to put in the work.  But they are genuinely stumped as to where to start and how to do this in a way that's sustainable. Doesn't feel out of the blue for them.

Would you say it's appropriate for them to start on Juneteenth 

Alisha Sommer: [00:15:05] I would say. No. 

Haha Okay, so quite honestly, and this is what, I'm a big, my philosophy and all the work that I do is really based on feeling and like really, , it has to be a value. And, , an idea and a desire that you honestly inhabit. So what I don't like, and I think we've all seen this, especially over the last year, since the murder of George Floyd is people reacting because they think that they should be without actually evaluating their own reasons for doing something,  and determining whether or not isn't actually a value they hold like.

Okay, well, okay. Oh, I gotta do something about Juneteenth or like, Black History Month because it's like history, like it's Juneteenth like it's a holiday, and I've got to show that I'm paying attention by posting these things on there, but have you, and all the time in between been like, trying to educate yourself because you actually do value diversity or like you actually do want to effect change in the industry with representation, because if you don't, don't post about it on your social and like, Then let everybody know, like that's the truth like it.

And I think that's the hard part of social media in general is people want to be perceived in a certain way. And so there's a lot of posturing and a lot of show, but there's not a lot of depth. And over time it will come through in your marketing. And I think that's important for people to understand.

At least my point of view is that like, if you don't really believe it, and if it's not really a part of your values and you don't really have that desire to learn  deeply, like in your person want to do the work right. Just skip it, really, and like sit back and evaluate and interrogate yourself as to why you feel the need to go market something or put these posts out that don't resonate.

And I think there's a difference between feeling nervous about it because you're learning, but that's where I feel like there's a place for being honest about that and say like, I am on a path to learning about these things, or we are on a path of learning about these things, or we are now aware of this and we are.

Trying to learn as an organization, how to better support, you know, members in our community that are affected by racism or bias or gender bias, whatever it is.  But that has to be a part of the company values and the company culture, because what's also important too, is like, if you can, if you're posting all of these things about Juneteenth, And, you know, okay.

The wine industry. Yes. We have a D we have a issue with diversity anyway, so it may be difficult to recruit or have somebody of color on your staff. But if I don't see it represented in, on your media before Juneteenth, like if I know that, like, there are no people of color on your staff ever anywhere,  outside of farm workers,  if, if.

I, if I can't make it makes sense as to, or you haven't told me and some other messaging that. These types of things are important to you. It will not resonate and there will be a dissonance. And that I think is actually more dangerous than not posting anything at all. I would rather see people not post anything at all until they've done the, into the inside work, whether with themselves or the organization before they just jump in to creating . Marketing pieces, , because it's going to fall flat and that won't be sustainable, right?

Cause like at the end of the day, the only things that are going to be sustainable are the things that you really truly believe in. And when you're faking it, It it's gonna show people will see right through it. 

Heather Daenitz: [00:18:21] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, people's bullshit. Meters are so high and especially after the year that we just had people have been analyzing marketing for an entire year, because that's all they've had to do at home.

And so yes, 100%  our bullshit meters are so high these days. So I agree. Like. Just, and we're, and we're seeing this to take this just a little bit outside of,  this conversation about, about race, but we're seeing this right now during pride month, we're seeing brands who are doing this performative bullshit, and they're getting called out on it.

And it's, you know, it's so clear. It's, it's very clear the companies who are actually have been putting in the work internally and who are celebrating pride. Genuinely and the companies who are just like slap a rainbow flag over it and call it good, you know, like, no, that's. Yeah. I think, I think you're exactly right.

Just keeping, staying silent is, is, , until you're able to do that internal work and really build up that, that story within your company.  I hate to say story, cause that sounds Inauthentic, but, you know, building that up within your company, instead of just posting something, just because you ha you feel like you have to.

Alisha Sommer: [00:19:43] Yeah. I think people, 

and to be fair, a lot of people got in a lot of trouble for not saying anything last year. I think there's also like that anxiety on the part of the business owners and winery owners to be like, not, not be the person who gets yelled at for not having made a statement of any kind.

But again, it's like. One anyway, we should all have a little bit more grace. We should extend a little more grace to people.   That's also a very valid concern and I get it, but it's still better to say nothing at all than to throw out something that's disingenuous or like really not really rooted in who you are.

Like ultimately the, my opinion is you got to really believe it. And that'll, or, you know, start surrounding ourselves with like making an intentional effort to surround yourself with other people who do. So that you can learn, or if you have somebody like in your, as a winery owner, you're like, I'm not really, I honestly have no clue.

Is there somebody in your tasting room that you know of that talks about these issues, or like maybe you can kind of get a clue based on the type of mask they're wearing inside. Like they might be inclined to like help you with this project? I think we can also like look to other people too, within our communities, whether they're inside our jobs or not, who can give us insight on.

What to post or what to say or how to say it. And, you know, as my using myself as an example of the things that, even with like Black History Month and, around your team, thinking about what I'm going to be posting around there.  I think one of the, a really good tip is to, if you're trying to create marketing materials around this, like.

Only highlight people that you actually are in community with, or like only reference organizations that you're actually in community with. And that one will help it feel more authentic. And two it'll kind of like help you not feel as anxious about it. So like, you know, for Black History Month, I highlighted.

Maybe, I didn't know them personally, like we hadn't met face to face, but they were businesses or brands that I had already been following for a really long time. So I'm like, oh, I haven't been the sip in wine beer yet, but they're in the state. I've been following her journey in the story. And like, I want to share her message with other people, right.

Like that. Just thinking about like, oh, but who do I follow? And I've been paying attention to you. So.  That will also, I think, make it feel more authentic. If you personally do have some sort of connection, whether that's that you've noticed their work in the past and think that they're interesting, or,  it's an org, it's an organization affiliated with something else that you do support and you've done a little bit.

I haven't don't really know, but they're connected to the one thing that I do know. And so I can talk about that. I think that's another way to kind of take the pressure off of it. It's like, think about who you already follow and. Who you already know. And maybe like, and if none of those people are still in your senior circle, they'll say anything.

Heather Daenitz: [00:22:24] Yes. Oh my gosh. All of that's really, really great advice like, and the, and this is something I talk about just, I mean, again, purely from the social media marketing standpoint, social media, I say it all the time until I'm blue in the face, social media is meant to be social and. I think that's such a great low hanging fruit way of.

Easing yourself into this work that you need to do, right. Is looking to your community who you're following on social media and really, and maybe who you're not following on social media, but you've seen them pop up, you know, in, in stories of people that you've you follow and that you interact with frequently, start following them and start building a relationship with those organizations, with those companies, with those individuals.

And, and then, you know, when it feels. What's the right word when it feels good, when it feels natural and, you know, real then maybe reach out to them and ask them, you know, how to, how to start. Incorporating this kind of messaging, ask them if there, if there's anything that you can do for them to, to help them feel seen and heard and welcome in your space.

I feel like that's, that could be a good option too. For again, low-hanging fruit. Start with your community and build relationships. You know, it's such a great place to start. So I think, particularly, particularly in the United States, it's really common for businesses to capitalize on holidays with,  sales and tone deaf marketing schemes.

 So I'm thinking about Memorial day in particular, since that just passed. And we just went through that. Where, where, you know, I, I mean, I saw several brands. I mean, most brands doing some kind of barbecue promotion without actually. Acknowledging what the entire day was all about. You know, what that day off was for what that three-day weekend is intended to celebrate.

 So what are ways that we can avoid doing that to Juneteenth in particular, , and, and any other, you know, I'm, I'm also thinking about indigenous peoples day and pride month and, you know, like how can we avoid doing that to these, these culturally significant holidays and times? And truly let it just live as, as a celebration.

Alisha Sommer: [00:24:45] Yeah. I think it 

goes back to, I said earlier about like just the education piece. It's like, yeah. We have so many days of the year to sell a thing. Look, I get it. I, my husband, and also comes from the sales side and wine. Like you have to mark it, that there should be a sale on every single holiday. And I'm like this to your point.

Like not always appropriate and, or like, but why? Like, why, why are we doing that? And I think one of the ways in it, here's what, oh, One of the ways that I don't mind doing it. And I think something people can consider is that, like, if you want to run a sale, please donate some funds to then an organization or a cost related to that holiday.

Rightly think about how you can, while you're using this day to boost your own economic gain, how can you help support somebody else locally in your community through it? If that's how you're think you're going to draw attention to the issue and I, but they should go hand in hand, like you should.

So like for indigenous peoples, say for example, for us, we, our newsletter was just a list of links to indigenous winemakers websites and like organization support. Like that was it. We, we still had, you know, a quote unquote, actually we didn't even do a Thanksgiving sale, which was. Great. Well, to some people on our list, they did not like us telling them to honor indigenous people's day, but it was like a cake.

So just thinking about, you know, how else can you use your platform for good and like, use that to have a conversation. Like there are so many other days in the calendar that you can have a sale or run something, but. Use this moment to capture people's attention, to do something meaningful, meaningful, and like, if you're going to capitalize on it financially spread the wealth because like at the end of the day, that's what we need to do too.

And, you know, raising awareness for something is really important. I feel like that's, you know, if we, again, like if we have a platform, we should try to raise awareness around issues that we care about, or that are of interest to us. But just being like, you know, Juneteenth celebration, you're going to be outside having a barbecue, but you know, the, by all the sparkling to go with your fried chicken or whatever, like that's not really, that's not thoughtful.

It's almost, it's almost kind of lazy. I think, I think it's just lazy marketing. It's not being intentional. It's not having a well thought out plan. And again, I'm always not everybody does this and I, again, cause I am. Like I said, new to the wine industry and I kind of have inserted myself into marketing in a different avenue.

I'm of the opinion that if it's not well intentioned or well thought out, I would rather not do it at all than to have something that I'm I feel uncomfortable with, or I'm not sure is really makes sense with our company and our values. Right? Like if we're going to do a sale on Juneteenth, then it's.

In your newsletter, you're gonna have to read about it like a couple paragraphs, and I'm gonna send you some other links and then be like also help us support these organizations, whatever, and you can buy by buying this wine, but I'm going to do that part of educating your first two access should be my responsibility, because it's not just about, I mean, we call it a celebration or like you say Memorial day, like a holiday weekend, but what is the significance of this day of remembrance?

Which really is what a celebration is to like. All celebrations are also about honoring something. And so how do we still honor the, the history and the significance of something we can have fun. I mean, there is also an element of fun and Juneteenth, right? Like that's the whole point is that is a celebration, but it's because of this awful part of our history.

And there are people that still are affected a whole people that are still affected by the ramifications of something like this. So, yeah. It's I think it's really up to us as marketers in businesses to really just think about how we can use our positions to,  do better for everybody that's around us, you know, and not just be so dollars focused.

I know what businesses and like you have to do that. That's because if you don't have, if you're not generating sales, your business is suffering, but. There are ways I think that we can balance both and it just takes an intention and like just being a little creative and thinking outside the box of like how you can do that.

And it may not go over well, like if your audience is like, I don't want to support anything from Juneteenth. Well now, you know, like this, that seems on your newsletter list right now, and then you can adjust later. But if it's, and also like, If you start to desire to make that a thing for yourself and your organization, or like, you're trying to explain to your current audience what your belief systems are.

And this is kind of relates to your question, but it's like, you ha you can't be afraid of attrition. Like you don't have to be all have to realize, especially as, I mean, I don't know if you agree, but. People consumers, these days, our audience, they really want to know the people behind the brand. It's not any more of us just like shopping on the shelf and being like, oh, now people still do pick a wine because of the pretty label, but they also are going to go Google it and be like, who owns it?

And like, I want to know what's going on. And people connect with your values and your story. More so than they deal with the products, really the product should be great, but everyone makes great wine. Like there's a lot of great wine. So it really like what are we doing to differentiate ourselves and our story and our messaging and our values and how are we communicating that outward?

And so like, I would rather lose the wrong people and like slowly over time, get the right ones then to just be placating. Because I'm afraid, like I'm afraid to lose the sale, but that's temporary because when you're leading with your values and like you're explaining to people why you're doing something, you will get the right people and those right people are the people that will stick with you.

So I'm all over, you know, well, quality over quantity. Yeah. I think that's is super important. You can, you can do both. You just have to work at it and be intentional about it, you know, and be creative. 

Heather Daenitz: [00:30:27] Yes, absolutely. I've been nodding my head vigorously throughout this entire conversation because yeah, everything you just said.

I mean, first intentional be intentional. Every everything that you do in your company should be intentional. You should never be doing something just. For the shits and giggles, you know, like you should be doing it because you have an intention behind it. And that's, that speaks for every single part of your business, but especially with your marketing, because again, and this is just purely for, for those who are like, let me see the numbers, let me see the practicality behind it.

 I can be that way sometimes. It's like, well, If you're, if you're intentional, then your post or whatever is going to perform really well, which is gonna help you grow your audience, which is gonna help you make more sales. But if you're not really intentional, again, people's bullshit. Meters are super high.

They don't give two shits about, you know, what national wine day, whatever that. If you don't have intention behind it, Simonne post is going to suffer. You're going to lose sales. So, I mean, just purely, and this is something that I talked with,  SImonne Mitchelson about,  in a previous conversation is, is that part of one part, part of sustainability in overall

I mean, is people prosperity planet, but the big part of is if you're leading with your values, as you said, That's actually going to affect your bottom line, you know, and, and Simonne. And I were kind of like laughing about that, just like, you know, it's, it's such a harsh,  blunt way to say it, but if some people that's the language that they speak and you really just need to say it loud and clear for them that like, if you lead with your values, that is actually going to help you make more sales.

I mean, quite simply, I mean, there's. a company Pategonia. I feel like I talk about Patagonia a lot on this podcast. 

Alisha Sommer: [00:32:20] I mean, they're really great example of lead and communicate their values. 

Heather Daenitz: [00:32:25] Exactly. They're great. Exactly. They're a great example of this. And so Patagonia, they, you know, they do lead with their values of environmental prism and part of, and, and Ben and Jerry's as well.

Ben and Jerry's has always communicated their values. Yeah. Yeah, they are. Yeah. And they've always been really honest about their values and, forthright with them. And, and so, you know, when they, when they make these what to, some companies might feel like bold statements, their audience knows that that's what they like.

They are, they're prepared. They're already there for that. and so. 

Alisha Sommer: [00:33:03] You know what they do is sell a whole lot more ice cream and a lot of pints a whole lot, 

Heather Daenitz: [00:33:11] a whole lot! I mean, I remember completely sold out of this one ice cream that they made last year. I went to the store just like out of curiosity, just to see completely sold out. Like, I mean, and not just that one ice cream, I mean, All of their ice cream was gone. I like, you know, there's like one, a couple of like tubs of, you know, whatever their version of Rocky road is.

But like, yeah, it was like, there's nothing, there's no ice cream left. So yes, yes. Mean with your values, it's going to affect your bottom line and, and, and also just the, the more comfortable yeah. You get with it too. The more often you do this, the more often you communicate your values. The more comfortable your audience is going to get with hearing about it.

And so when shit hits the fan and you need to make a statement about something they're like, yeah, that's totally, I'm not surprised by that one bit, you know, you'll, you'll get, you know, I mean, I feel like with any, any post you're going to get a little bit of flack, but. That, that 1% of people, they don't mean anything.

And it's that 99% of your community that you've been carefully building and creating relationships with, that are going to care about you and sustain you. So, yes. Sorry. I totally went off on a tangent about that, but yes, everything you said. I totally agree.  Okay, so let's, let's talk small actionable tips so I was like to make sure that we, we leave these episodes with something actual, that that brands can do this week to,  implement what they've learned here. So what kind of content or posts can wine brands make that would be appropriate? , for Juneteenth, if they've been doing the work ahead of time, that's, we'll make that very clear.

If you've been already doing the work. What kind of posts, or content blog posts, , emails, can wine brands make that would be appropriate for Juneteenth? 

Alisha Sommer: [00:35:12] One of the things I really love outside of just facts, I always just love like, Factual information for things like this.  I think one of the other great things you can do is share community events because at the end of the day, one food and wine and culture, like all of that goes together.

Like I think the big umbrella of wine culture, it's also about like gathering with people. So look to see, cause especially these days now that things are kind of opening up as well. Another post COVID not, we're not post COVID.  We're just opening up 

Heather Daenitz: [00:35:39] so close to it though! 

Alisha Sommer: [00:35:43] But sharing, finding out what local events in your, in your community are happening and spread the word about those.

I think that's super important. One to just continue to build community and build connections with people so that other people know what you're doing. And again, like I said, not everybody gets their information from the same place. So you might be able to share something new with your audience that they weren't and aware of.

Find other. Black owned businesses who may be doing a special. Now, if they want to sell wine for a co, like we can promote, let them make some money to find out. If there are other Black-owned wine brands that maybe have an event going on or a special sale and promote them, , Think about how you think about who else in your community you can highlight.

And I think that's the biggest piece. Like this is a time for everybody and anybody to think about like, like de-centering ourselves for a minute. And let us think about what good we can do for issues related to this, or just for highlighting or educating, , other people in our audience about these things.

So, yeah. Education just facts.  A couple of bullet points. Wikipedia has a very nice page of sufficient information for you. Like Google is your friend and you can just pull out a couple of facts, pick the ones that are most interesting to you. Like make it fun for yourself. Like it doesn't have to be like a full page of all of this.

You don't have to write a book report, right. Or like three or five things that like were new to you or that you want to share with people or that you think were really interesting. Yeah, highlighting community events and then finding other black owned businesses who may be doing something else around this, this holiday as well.

And then two, I think to your point, you talked about this is, it may not be outwardly, but maybe reaching out to other people or businesses that you haven't been connected to and say, Hey , is there anything that you're doing or is there anything else I can help support you with? Cause not just today, but like moving forward, right?

Like that's the thing it's this is not a one-time thing. And I don't think we should look at any type of, or at least for me when I am made aware of new information and I was like, okay, well I've got to do this thing. So I'll say like, AAPI month, like that was just last may not a lot of history that I was again aware of.

I was learning a lot of things and so. It was like, it was a reminder to me as I'm trying to learn and digest and find who I'm connected to, and like also find random connections for other things, but it's like, okay, now I know like, One, I have a solid information that I can carry on throughout the year, because it turns out, you know, Black people are, still women they're gay, they're bisexual, transgender they maybe play guitar on the weekends.

Like you then deepen your ability to access,  more connections for even more content in the future. You're like, oh no, I know. What else I can share moving forward. So it's like this one holiday that you can be intentional about as well, but it also is going to deepen your community and your sense of community and help it come with other content, like in the future.

Like it actually is going to help you in the longterm. So just about that too, it's like, if you're not going to share anything outwardly today, by simply doing the work to educate yourself and then figure out what you are connected to, and you are still going to help yourself create more diverse content throughout the year, moving forward.

Heather Daenitz: [00:38:45] Yeah, it totally did. Yes. You totally answered the question.  So, okay. Well, I mean, if we're talking internally, so let's,  let's kind of dial it away from, from the outward.  And so for the brands who are they, they haven't done anything yet. They know that they want to, right. They, it feels good to them.

They want to incorporate one I mean, just in general diversity inclusion.  But they also want to just build on their own company culture before they start bringing those values public.  What's something that small brands can do this week to incorporate. I mean, this is Juneteenth celebrations into their company culture, but also again, diversity and inclusion into their company culture and make that a regular thing for them.

Alisha Sommer: [00:39:32] Yeah. So one thing which we have all been advocating for as Black people anyway, is to have Juneteenth as off as a holiday, one, give them and encourage them to then go spend that to kind of like maybe learn something, right? Like there's that like having Juneteenth off as a holiday, recognizing it actually as a holiday and not a marketing event because not everything that's on our marketing calendar is actually a legitimate holiday.

And like, this is, you know, It's not federally, is it? It's not a federally recognized holiday.

I don't know if the banks are closed that day. Well, that's a Saturday, so I guess this week is a Saturday. But,  so when, and I think to actually before we, before an organization, if like they're, they really are new and entering into the space, kind of for the first time in trying to learn things themselves. Again, maybe not so much focused on Juneteenth versus just like a general overview of like what racism bias the history is like kind of looked at.

And there are a lot of people. Number one, Google's your friend. There's probably a lot of recorded webinars. You can find to like, as a team watch for an hour, there's all kinds of D and I diversity equity inclusion.  Workshops that your team can take 11 are for free. A lot of them, maybe you have to pay for it, but you should invest, go hire a person of color to help you understand about diversity, equity and inclusion.

Read a book, have, you know, in an email, you know, one of our things, things in our company is we have an internal newsletter that goes out every Monday. Use that internal communication to share the facts. Like if you guys have a team meeting,  whatever irritates you have your own, you gotta be open on Saturday.

You're you're open on Juneteenth. That is what is a weekend. Okay. Well, and your pre-shift be like, Hey, just want to tell you guys a little bit about this. Like, here are some things about Juneteenth in case anybody comes and asks you better talking about it or whatever. Like, just so you know, this is a holiday, right?

We can discuss a few of these things here. I think that's like, again, it doesn't have to be hard. Like you don't have to make it this big, heavy thing.  I don't, maybe not everywinery does preshifts we did them at Wente but every year, like we have times where we're all together, whether that's through an email or like we communicate.

That could be through email that could be in-person on a preshift it could be the glass of wine. You guys have that the end of the tasting room closing that you guys can have conversation, or you can share something with your team, as an employer that you're learning or want to learn or want to get input.

I mean, I think that's also the other interesting thing about trying to create that culture internally is like, get a good gauge on like who's already in your organization and whether or not they are in alignment with those values. Cause here's here's the thing it's going to be hard to push that on employees if they don't actually also have that value system.

So again, be prepared to make some hard decisions or have uncomfortable conversations so that you can help guide your team and your organization and your company to start embodying those values that you want to aspire to. Like they may not, again I think we also have to I'm, like I said, I'm big on grace, but like remembering that everybody's on a journey and we're not all going to travel at the same rate, but we do have a responsibility to still try to learn and grow.

And so like all four, like just take it easy. Like what's the one thing it's the week print out the Wikipedia page and read that. Start there. That's fine. Can't handle the whole book. Got it. But find an article, find one article, read it, start there, get some ideas. Formulating, have a discussion with a person about it.

You know, like thoughts about topics, some ideas.  But it can be easy. It's supposed to be hard. It doesn't have to be all done right away. Like you should, if you are really intentional about it, take your time. So that you, like I said, are questioning yourself about your motive, like are aware of what your real motives are and not, and it shouldn't be about.

 Looking good. It should really be about like, I desire to grow in this way and I want to bring my organization and my team members along with me. And so how has, how can I share this with them? You know? 

Heather Daenitz: [00:43:20] Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I love that. I love all of that. That's and yeah, it's taking me back to when I worked in tasting rooms.

It's like, yeah. You know, we did, we did have pre-shift meetings especially on Saturdays or, or anticipated busy days. , and we did have, every, every Friday at one winery that I worked at, we had a managers meeting where we sat down for an hour and just talked. Like, you know, we, we learned what was going on in each department.

We learned, you know, we had a fun segment called nature sightings, cause we were out in the, out in the rural area. And so, you know, so that was a really fun where we could all go around and say, oh, this is the cool piece of nature that I saw this week, you know? Oh, there's the rattlesnakes are out, watch out, you know, like that could easily be a part of that, that weekly conversation have, have a diversity equity and inclusion.

Section of your weekly meeting or, gear, you know, just like you have at your current, what is it? Who, who do you work with again? So you have an internal newsletter that goes out every week. That could easily be a thing that's included, included every single week. Like, Hey, this is what we're learning this week.

This is what we're highlighting this week. And of course, yes. Make, make sure it's genuine. Make sure this is a thing that you really want to, you know, Put your stamp of approval on because once you, once you do it, you can't, you can't stop doing it. This is something that you have to continue doing forever.

So,  yeah, all of that wonderful tips, just everything, everything you said.

Wow. So I am, I'm so happy that I got to talk with you today. How can our audience stay connected with you? Learn from you. And most importantly, work with you. 

Thanks. Instagram is where I hang out most of the time.  @alisha_sommer is my Instagram handle summer with an oh yeah.  Do not DM me, anything that you really want me to pay attention to though, because I will forget it in my email.

That's at So pretty easy to remember, but yeah, I, so working with me, I love to do all kinds of things, whether that's Anything artsy, anything Craftsy anything wine related, photography you need writing, you need just to brainstorm ideas. I like to do little strategy sessions with people too.

And mostly what that means for me is like, I listened to you talk and then I just ask you questions and then I help you figure out your own answers. We typically already know what we just have to have somebody pull it out of us. So I'm really good at that, but that's where you can find me is just on Instagram.

I like to hang out there and that's where I build my community right now. So. Yeah, let me know. No host short tasting. 

Yes. Yes. I'm going to put all of that information into the show notes. So you will very easily be able to find all the information that you need about Alisha it's going to be wonderful.

You're going to love it. So. Alisha. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to educate me, to educate the audience. I really appreciate you. I'm so, and I'm hopeful that we will get you back on the podcast soon to just talk about marketing and creativity. And I, you know, the, the word of the day is intentionality and I would love to dive into that.

Marketing with intention. Yeah, that'd be a good, let's do it. Yeah, let's do it. Penciling it in right now. Thank you again. I appreciate you. 

Alisha Sommer: [00:46:56] Thank you. Thanks for having me. It was great. 

Heather Daenitz: [00:46:59] All right. That's it. For this episode of the craft and cluster podcast, you can head to the show notes for any resources mentioned in this episode, and to learn more about our awesome guests.

If you found this show super valuable, please rate and review it. And don't forget to connect with me on Instagram@craftandcluster. And to make sure you never miss an episode, be sure to follow the show on apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen. I'll see you next Monday. Bye.