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Finding Its Soul

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When tech entrepreneurs Holly Brown and Kevin Brown decided to enter the Lake Chelan wine region by launching a destination winery and event facility that coincided with a rebranding of the Siren Song Wine Label, the couple had some concrete ideas of what they wanted to achieve.

“As part of our design and build project at the winery, we were looking for both a rebranding of our logo and wine labels, but wanted to do so within the context of a larger scope of work and vision,” Holly Brown says. “Our goal was to create an immersive branded experience at the winery.”

To accomplish this, the Browns partnered with design agency, Girvin, and local architect Jonathan Brandt of JB Architecture on the design of the new brand and vineyard estate.

The Browns hoped to reflect on their experiences in France and other European gastronomic locales; essentially, they looked to create a Mediterranean vibe and atmosphere, with sweeping water views.

The couple had previously worked with Girvin on other branding and packaging projects at other companies and knew that he had begun to do some interesting work in the area of branded experience design.

“Our vision was that the entire procession from the moment you turned up into our drive, through to walking onto the grounds of our vineyard estate, and entering our tasting room and winery, you would be immersed in a branded experience,” Holly Brown says. “The branded experience would include signage, building color and materials as well as imagery, service and various service accouterments.”

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Girvin loved this idea and his BrandQuest process seemed the perfect fit for developing a construct for thinking not just about a logo or label, but what Siren Song really stands for and what kind of an experience the Browns wanted to create for their customers and Siren Club members at the Siren Song Vineyard Estate and Winery.

 

Finding a Vision

The Browns had a fledgling wine business but knew they wanted to build this large wine making facility and their first meeting with Tim Girvin was about how they could best improve the character of the label from a start-up to this large estate they were trying to build.

“My effort with them was first to spend some time understanding what the spirit of the environment would be,” Girvin says. “When I think about the brand origination, the inspiration, our earliest meetings, our team journey into the storytelling of the brand and our first scope of work, it was really about listening to the Brown team, exploring the soulful memories and dreams of Kevin and Holly, and organizing the sensibility of the place.”

But while there was a sketch of an idea in the beginning, the spirit, the archetype of Siren and its song, logo graphical and two-dimensional work was further down the line—from that opening investigation and workshop, talking the sensational spirituality of Provence and Southern French Coastal experience design.

“It was a very personal process. Both Kevin and Holly had a lot of ideas about what that should be and the best ways to interpret that,” Girvin says. “What I was looking for was how to align the place-making experience of a brand with the ultimate outcome of an identity, labeling system and all those types of things.”

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Knowing that the final result needed to be a reflection of its proprietors, Girvin even took his staff on a field trip to the Browns’ home to get a better sense of their personality, personal style and taste.

At one point early on, Girvin drew out a sketch of what he saw the Siren being—and that became the foundation of the idea—a cut paper rendering of the figure along with this holographic spiral, which is the song.

“Then we began to look at how that character could interplay with these interior colors and finishes,” Girvin says. “The yellows, muted blues, brilliant blues, the greens of the grapes … and we began to build this room-by-room palette to help define the journey of what a guest will experience. We began to mix the colors and layer them so there was almost a (unique) texture. There was a color on a color on a color, creating this dimensional sense of light and palate that would then create an overall sense of emotion in the space.”

 

The Role of Architecture

In addition to creating a brand identity, the architectural and other design elements initiated also convey Siren Song’s primary brand message.

Brandt’s work was based on emulating a very specific design vision the Browns had in mind, and JB Architecture did the entire project by hand—that is, lead on vellum—which seemed in keeping for designing an Old World Mediterranean style winery in the New World of Chelan.

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“The building complex rises like a stone and stucco Mediterranean hill town in profile, and rests on a plateau, with stunning views of deep blue Lake Chelan surrounded by lush green hillside vineyards and the idyllic Cascade mountains beyond,” Brandt says. “Naturally, the buildings and spaces of Siren Song are organized for commanding those views.  Perhaps the pinnacle of this idea is the centrally located stone-clad tower, which at its top loft level features views of the lake, vineyards and mountains in all directions.”

Girvin worked with the architecture firm on the coloring of the building and property, as well as the interiors.

“We did a workshop with them to help them define more precisely what that was: this Southern French coastal Mediterranean-style estate with colors that not only related to the spirit of Provence, but also the views to the lake,” Girvin says. “We then started developing an interior design brand based on the dream of what the Siren Song was.”

 

Preparing Packaging

At the winery, the wine labels are the single most significant packaging item, and the packaging created also leverages off the strategy that was implemented.

“Tim helped us define a color palette, imagery, visual and textural components, and room by room thematic schemes to work with,” Holly says. “We continue to apply these brand elements in everything from bags and boxes to signage, and sculpture.”

Girvin notes that while in the process of designing the interiors, his team looked at how they could build on the packaging design in a way that related to the sense of the experience the guests would have.

 

Reaching the End

The project was completed last year and everyone was thrilled with the final result.

“Going through the BrandQuest construct helped us articulate our brand meaning in a variety of ways that we wouldn’t necessarily have thought to ask ourselves,” Holly says. “This was a big project with a lot of moving parts so it wasn’t always perfect, but Tim’s team was truly dedicated and always worked to better understand our taste, style and goals.”

Now, when new customers enter the winery, the first word the Browns hear is usually “Wow!”

“The greatest compliment we receive is when people often say, ‘you thought of every detail,’” Holly says. “To me, what they’re really saying is that they feel totally immersed in our branded experience. So, I definitely feel we achieved our goals.” 

 

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