Social media communication in agriculture: case study of croatian wine market


The wine market forms a significant part of the total world agricultural market that expands, and marketing changes are needed to adapt to globalization and technology development. Croatia is a country with a long tradition of grape and wine production. In the last five years, there has been an increase in the agricultural areas under vineyards and increased wine production. Despite this, Croatia has continued to increase wine imports, most from neighboring countries. In the meantime, market liberalization will encourage the Croatian wine export, where the main disadvantages are inadequate branding, insufficient Internet promotion, and small production. Information technologies nowadays are completely changed techniqueso f planning and implementation of e-marketing in the wine industry. The new way of doing business is called “social media marketing” as a process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. 

On the other hand, the actual business benefits of this relatively new form of communication have hardly been investigated, particularly within the wine industry in Croatia. Therefore, in our case study, we wished to determine the use of social media by Croatian wine producers in branding (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, etc.); and identify wine consumer behavior on the Internet via Google Trends and Google Correlate tool. We focused on a new brand concept and architecture (Fig. 1) of “Vina Croatia-Vina Mosaica”, which Wine Cooperative of Croatia created to put Croatia on the map as a reputable source of distinctive, high-quality wines. Vina Croatia evokes a new brand of Croatian enterprise, harnessing indigenous strengths within, to compete on the world stage, and heralding a new identity to unify the Croatian mosaic with key brand words (for example, Dalmatia: World Heritage Wines; Istria: The Rite of Spring; Slavonia and the Croatian Danube. Pure Gold. The Croatian Uplands: Hillside Wines). The chosen visual identity should represent the brand Vina Croatia with an emphasis on diversity (regional, national and international) and make Vina Croatia effective ambassadors of a new national wine identity, especially in conjunction with the interests of Croatian tourism and in the context of the Internet market. When we analyzed competitive positioning, it was possible to conclude that brand Vina Croatia will stand out from New World wines on heritage, from Old World on simplicity, from other emergent wine sources on accessibility.

Meanwhile, the research of wine consumer behavior in the context of the Internet and time of interest via the Google Trend tool showed us that consumer interest for Croatian wines and brands appears seasonally in the year (Fig. 2). Web visits are related to summer and winter when Google toll indicates the most considerable search by terms: Croatia/wine/brand. Therefore, before the growth curve of interest, it is necessary to start a brand campaign of wineries and cooperatives, which refers to May and November.

Our preliminary study provided only a snapshot of the whole Croatian wine market and branding and will serve as a platform for further researches in the future.

Figure 1. Wine brand architecture of Vina Croatia as the unique “alphabet” of design elements which directly and subliminally communicate Croatia wine region values and personality through compelling imagery and design style. (Source: Marketing department of the Wine Cooperative of Croatia)
Figure 2. Wine consumer behavior on Internet. Source:, 20.01.2015.

Authors: Berislav Andrlić, Đuro Horvat


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