Digital and social media offer new opportunities for communication for brands, producers, and their stakeholders, especially for local producers with limited access to multiple industry-related marketing and communication resources. This study examines the digital brand management practices presented on the websites of Kentucky wine producers. The study analyzed all available Kentucky wine websites during the length of the study (2013-2015) with emphasis on the use of culture in the brand messaging. Cultural symbols were identified as the primary associations adopted by Kentucky wine brands for differentiation and recognition. Kentucky wine producers employ a combination of local, unique, international wine community, and cultural consumption symbols to create distinct brand messages. Not only did brand management strategies encourage wine purchases, but also winery visits for wine tasting and on-site purchases, interpreted as cultural rituals (practices that create and/or reinforce meanings associated with specific cultural symbols) for this report. The study extends research on the use of culture in digital brand management, the employment of cultural rituals for brand messaging, and the use of digital communication channels for small organizations in competitive creative, crafts, and cultural industries (industries where value is derived from the product’s cultural importance rather than economic benefit).


Digital Qualitative Research, Digital Culture, Wine Research, Brand Management, Textual Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Benjamin J. Triana is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. He researches the way media, brand management, and culture "fold into one another" as Angela McRobbie puts it. Most common subject matter includes the agricultural, craft, and creative industries at the local level. He employs qualitative methods and his perspective is influenced by cultural studies and social theory. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: ben.triana0515@gmail.com.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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