Shannon Harbert was recently named marketing and communications coordinator for the Lodi Winegrape Commission.
The Linden native returned to her home county when she started working for the commission in July. A graduate of the University of California, San Diego, Harbert has worked for advertising agencies and as a marketing consultant. Besides coordinating events, Harbert is also responsible for using social networking to expand the commission's online influence. In a lightly edited interview, Harbert talked about her vision for the region and what can be done to build on the momentum of the last few years:
Q: What are your job responsibilities?
A: I am responsible for promoting our four events — Wine and Chocolate, Zinfest, Treasure Island WineFest and First Sip — and developing a relationship with media groups and trade organizations. I'm also responsible for managing our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and growing sites like Foursquare. A large part of my job is also promoting Lodi as a whole. The goal is to get more people to Lodi and to discover the area.
Q: What are some ways the commission is working to attract more visitors?
A: We are working with MeringCarson, an advertising agency in Sacramento, on a re-branding campaign that will be launched in the middle of next year. It will be centered around print, online and possibly radio ads. The concept will be highlighting Lodi as an authentic destination where people can meet with the vineyard's owners and winemakers when they go in to taste. People want that experience when they go winetasting, and Lodi has it. We will be targeting the markets in Sacramento and San Francisco because they are nearest and have large populations, but we will also look to branch out to areas like San Diego.
Q: What areas of marketing will you build on?
A: The commission laid a good foundation with social media and I want to take it and run with it. We have been using Facebook ads more and I like them because you can really cherry-pick your audience. I can set the ads to appear to people who say they are fans of "Cabernet" "Winetasting" or even "Lodi." It allows us to target our audience and focus the message.
For First Sip we've been posting trivia questions on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ lodiwine and offering free tickets to the event as a prize. We've seen an overwhelming response from people offering answers for the tickets.
Q: Are there any plans for any more wine events?
A: We don't have anything concrete right now, but we have talked about an event in San Diego similar to the Treasure Island WineFest. If the commission were to take on another event, it would likely be in an outside market.