Yesterday was the official launch of the Boutari Social Media Project 2010. Boutari is one of the largest and best-known Greek wine producers, and the decision to engage in social media is a very important milestone for this industry.
The Boutari Social Media Project 2010 was set up thanks to a European Union grant to promote awareness of Greek wines in North America. The timing of this announcement might seem unfortunate, but I endorse the fact that the funding was openly communicated.
The move comes with another interesting twist, as it involves the American Jeremy Parzen, author of the well-established US based Do Bianchi site. Jeremy has been assigned as Webmaster of the Boutari blog and in addition has created and will now administer the group’s Facebook page, its Twitter feed, and a Cork’d fan page. The set-up therefore may be summarised as follows: the financing takes place via third party funds and the implementation of the project as well as its daily activities are being outsourced.
Social media is the way to communicate with the world, opening up, providing output about oneself and receiving input and feedback. It’s about sharing your identity and engaging with your audience. Credible brands utilize it to reach customers and to build or maintain reputation.
The value of exactly that has been widely recognised as invaluable. Boutari is following the trend, albeit not with own resources. They are of course not alone with this philosophy. Politicians and celebrities often don’t engage personally, but have whole teams doing just that. So I would like to pose the following questions: Is outsourcing social media communication controversial? Where does that leave concepts such as authenticity? Does outsourcing create a distance in the communication that makes reaching out to “your” audience ineffective?