Tag: South Australia

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Combining his background in marketing and graphic design with a fast-growing passion for wine, Daniel Hill is on favourable ground at Seabrook Wines in the Barossa Valley. The Tasting Room & Wine Club Specialist, who says he fell into a career in the wine industry, is using his skills to help grow the brand. Daniel’s approach includes exceptional end-to-end customer service that begins when customers enter the cellar door, and extends beyond their visit.

The family-owned Barossa Valley winery is run by Hamish and Jo Seabrook. Hamish is a first generation winemaker, but comes from a family of wine merchants and educators with deep roots in the industry. It’s a rich and unique story – and one Daniel says is worth telling.

We asked Daniel to share more about his background, Seabrook’s approach to telling their story, and how the brand is elevating their customers’ experience.

What’s your role at Seabrook and how long have you been with them?
Technically my role is ‘Tasting Room & Wine Club Specialist’, but my position within the company is multi-faceted so in addition to the day-to-day workings of the tasting room, I manage the website, social, digital and print media, investigate new marketing and sales opportunities, and look after local trade accounts for the Barossa region.

Seabrook Wines’ story is an interesting one. How do you articulate the family’s story about the shift from wine merchants to makers?
There’s definitely a wonderful history behind the brand and why we do what we do. Seabrook is a first generation producer and Hamish is the first winemaker in his family, and the first to be making wines under his own label. However, the wine merchant business dates back to 1878.

Hamish’s dad was the last to run that business, but due to the evolving market he decided to conclude that business in the late 1970s and move to the Barossa.

In your storytelling how much do you focus on this history?
We’re up-front about the fact that we’re a young producer and a new kid on the block despite that history. The brand is still quite unknown to today’s younger market, with a lot of the older generation familiar with the W.J. Seabrook & Sons releases.

How is the wine industry changing?
From my point of view, there’s been a cultural shift in the way people consume alcohol. The focus has shifted to quality over quantity, with more people enjoying better wine, spirits and beers.

How do you set yourself apart in a very busy market?
Our Tasting Room offers gorgeous views from our deck, where guests can take in the surrounds of our estate vineyard. Guests that visit Seabrook are welcomed, and provided with a relaxed, fun, and informative wine discovery experience. We want people to slow down, take in the surrounds, enjoy our products, hear our stories, and be entertained with our company; all in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Making guests feel at home is key to what we do.

The three most important factors to the Seabrook customer experience are the product, the experience, and the service. If any of these falls short of exceptional, we would have failed to create a memorable and life-lasting experience.

How do you elevate customers’ experience at cellar door?
The customer experience begins the moment they walk through our doors. Visitors are welcomed with a warm greeting, a handshake, an introduction to our tasting room, and most importantly a glass of Riesling! From there, we seat the customer like you would in a restaurant; seat them, pour water, ask them questions about themselves and their journey, and explain to them how the experience will run.

Each visitor is treated like family, with the hope that they feel welcomed into our extended family, and begin a lifelong relationship with Seabrook as people and a brand. This doesn’t change after they’ve left our Tasting Room either. Personalised emails, phone calls, and invites to offsite events allow us to strengthen the wonderful relationships that we forge in our Barossa Valley home.

We also continue that personalised service once they’ve left. I usually grab their order form and jot down their names so I make sure that I don’t forget. We place a card with a photo of our winery and a handwritten thank you note into their box; it doesn’t matter if they’ve bought one bottle or 10 bottles. We want our customers to feel appreciated, and that reciprocity and personalisation is key.

Why is it important to go the extra mile for your customers?
I remember when I began visiting cellar doors on a journey to learn more about wine. The overall experience was quite daunting and left me questioning whether wine was for me.

When I sat with Hamish to discuss how we could create a unique and tailored tasting experience here at Seabrook, I needed to ensure it was welcoming, relaxing, and fun overall. I don’t want anyone to walk out of our doors and feel the way I did many years ago.

Wine IS for everyone. It shouldn’t feel pretentious or exclusive, and people shouldn’t feel daunted by it.

Visitors to Seabrook should leave with a lasting and positive impression of their time with us – and then be transported back to that moment every time they open a Seabrook wine.

The idea for thank you cards was conceived by owner Jo Seabrook at one of Kiikstart’s customer experience workshops. To find out about future sessions, or to work with Kiikstart, visit email enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Christian Van Niekerk is passionate about business innovation. The Grant Thornton director – who commenced with the company in 2003 and quickly worked his way up the ranks – has recently been recognised as a Performance Inspiring Awards finalist by the company for his work on a reporting model he created.

Christian says his work with Kiikstart led to the development of reporting templates that are changing the way the company presents to its private advisory clients across Australia. We asked him to share more about his journey to a Grant Thornton directorship, and his views on leadership.

Kiikstart: Congratulations on your award nomination for creating a new approach to reporting at Grant Thornton. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt about leadership during your career?
Christian: Thank you. Probably that true leaders need to stand up and make tough decisions. You don’t get into a leadership position because you’re friends with everybody. Sometimes difficult things need to be done and said. I’ve had to make a few tough decisions along the way. If you don’t make them, you can’t truly be a leader.

And the other lesson is around the importance of looking after yourself. Leaders tend to just go on and on and not stop and look after themselves – and we should. You need to have your own time and preserve your own mental and physical wellbeing in order to be an effective leader. I have three children under five at home, so balancing it all is important.

Did you always aspire to a leadership role or end up here by chance?
I like to think I’m your traditional introvert who doesn’t go looking for attention. At school I was the kid who’d rather get an F than stand up and do an oral presentation. Having said that, I ended up being school captain in year 12 and chose accounting because I thought I could be in the corner and do numbers and not interact with people. I didn’t go looking for a leadership role, but as I got more responsibility and started training the junior guys, I kind of fell into leadership.

What do you love most about your role?
I enjoy the responsibility that it brings; and feeling like you’re making a difference to people’s lives – whether it’s the client you’re looking after, or your staff. I’ve trained and mentored so many staff through the CA program. You become a go-to person to give them advice about where their careers end up going. I enjoy the challenge of helping them through that.

Who do you look up to in business?
Leaders who inspire me include Richard Branson. I’m inspired by where he came from, how he built his empire, and the way he views life. His philosophy around caring for your employees because they look after your customers is so true. I really align myself with that thinking.

How important is it to be passionate about what you do? And how do you maintain that enthusiasm for your work?
If you’re not passionate about what you do, then you shouldn’t be doing it. I think people can see through you if you don’t believe in what you’re delivering.  At times it can be difficult to maintain your enthusiasm. I’ve often found my enthusiasm rejuvenated by the younger people coming through; their passion tends to rub off on you. It’s fantastic sitting down with them to discuss their own career trajectory, and how I can support them in that journey.

In the last five years I’ve been given more free reign in terms of what I want to do, and how I want to do it – including interacting with clients at a different level, and presenting to them differently. I’m extremely passionate about innovation.

How has Kiikstart supported your work at Grant Thornton?
I engaged Ali personally one year ago in an informal mentoring role. We went through a 10-week one-on-one training program, which pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I’m so glad I went through it.

From there, we developed a program called GT Grow in Adelaide to help our staff understand what it is to have a career and grow it. Ali has been a key part of that. Her sessions around owning your career and what that means are designed to stop people from expecting their employer to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to their training and development. The underlying premise is that your learning journey belongs to you.

What are some of the key takeaways from your work with Kiikstart?
The work I’ve done with Ali has been amazing, and resulted in some great changes. One of the key takeaways for me is around doing things differently for clients. Working with Ali challenged me to consider how tax results delivery should change for the client. The reporting model we’ve moved to as a result ensures that we don’t get bogged down in technical language. We used to deliver results to our clients by going through financials page by page, and pulling up detailed excel spreadsheets. Now, we explain the outcomes, and don’t get so caught up looking at the financials. It’s very visually driven. We started by rolling this out in the Adelaide office, and it’s since been rolled out nationally.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I think I’ll still be a partner in an accounting firm, continuing to focus on self-improvement, and looking at the ways we develop and deliver results to our clients, ensuring we’re continuing to innovate. For me, a focus on work/life balance and family is key. At the start of my career it was all about the corporate tree, and I never really appreciated having a family, and that’s certainly changed in the last few years. I want to make sure that balance is maintained.

Dave Willson knows the Clare Valley. Having lived in the region all his life, five years ago he turned his knowledge of Clare into a business.

Clare Valley Tours was born from his passion for his home’s natural beauty, history and hospitality.

Mr Willson has been working with Kiikstart over the last few months to grow his tour business, and says that director Ali Uren’s “progressive and creative” approach has been very beneficial.

“Ali will drag you by the jock straps when you’re slacking off,” he says with a laugh. “She’ll initiate change in your thought process and your business culture.”

Sharing Clare’s gastronomic, historical and natural wonders comes naturally to Dave, who says it’s a discovery experience for him too.

“I’m sharing the love and creating feel-good experiences for people,” he says. “The more I do it, the more I love it!”

We asked the Clare local to share seven of his favourite spots in the region to explore this winter – and it’s not all fires and romance, although there’s plenty of that to be had!

1. Sevenhill Cellars

Find them at: 111C College Rd, Sevenhill SA

What makes them special: Their story and the history of building St Aloysius Church. The winery was established by two Jesuit priests in 1851 to produce sacramental wine, while the church is home to the only crypt below a parish church in Australia. Many of the early pioneering Jesuits still lay in the crypt.

Winter drawcard: Enjoy a glass of red by the fire, and pat the local winery cat.

Fun fact: Sevenhill Cellars still supplies 95 per cent of Australian altar wine.

2. Spring Gully Conservation Park

Find it at: Sawmill Rd, Sevenhill SA

What makes it special: The picturesque conservation park offers great walking trails and lookout spots that overlook the Adelaide Plains. The view is fantastic! On a good day, you can see the head of St Vincent’s Gulf and beyond.

Winter drawcard: While the park is particularly renowned for its beautiful patchwork quilt of colours in spring, winter has its own charms, including a stunning seasonal waterfall.

Insider tip: Listen for frogs near the creeks, especially after local rains.

3. Burra

What makes it special: Located on the edge of the Outback, the historic mining town is a unique township that was once home to the largest metals mine in Australia.

Winter drawcard: Discover the town’s quaint hospitality, including the local pubs and fantastic antique shops.

Fun fact: The town was once home to Diprotodon – Australia’s largest marsupial and a species of megafauna.

4. Hill River Estate

Find them at: Quarry Rd, Polish Hill River SA

What makes it special: A cellar door with a difference, this is a story of farmers-turned-winemakers who run their farm alongside the winery.

Winter drawcard: Buy a bottle of wine, sit by the fire and sip away on a winter’s day.

5. Skillogalee Winery, Restaurant & Accommodation

Find them at: 23 Trevarrick Rd, Sevenhill SA

What makes it special: Set on 60 hectares, “Skilly” – as Dave calls it – is home to an iconic cottage restaurant nestled into the side of the hill with beautiful vineyard views.

Winter drawcard: This is a long lunch destination. Sit by the fire, sip on a muscat, and enjoy their fantastic hand crafted wines before, during or after lunch.

Insider tip: Skillogalee also offers B&B cottage-style accommodation.

6. Bungaree Station

Find it at: 431 Bungaree Rd, Bungaree SA

What makes it special: Settled in 1841, the site has been home to six generations of the Hawker family. The magnificent 1860s heritage buildings have been transformed into local accommodation. Stay overnight, or visit for a walk through farming history.

Winter drawcard: Unique country accommodation for a cosy winter break.

7. Destination Clare

What makes it special: The region of Clare is packed with natural beauty, history and hospitality, so much so that Dave says it’s impossible not to mention the region as a whole. It’s also quaint and relatively uncommercialised.

Winter drawcard: It’s the perfect time of year for a little indulgence. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to cosy accommodation, and fine food and wine experiences – well-suited to those relaxed winter hemlines and layers!

Fun fact: Clare Valley makes up just 1.5 per cent of the national crush, but wins more than 20 per cent of national wine awards.

Visit www.clarevalleytours.com or contact Dave on 0418 832 812 to book a tour. Group and bespoke tour options are available.

To find out more about working with Kiikstart to benefit your business, visit www.kiikstart.com.

Head to any successful mainstreet throughout the state and you’ll find it bustling with people. There’s the rich aroma of coffee in the air, people walking laden with bags filled with produce and other local goodies, and possibly even a few art galleries or cultural centres in the mix.

Mainstreet SA describes our mainstreets as “the beating heart of our communities”. They’re where locals and visitors alike come together at the pub or bakery, and where local products are showcased and sold.

But how can we ensure that our mainstreets are sustainable into the future? And, in a regional context, how do we innovate visitor experience and servicing to capitalise on infrastructure growth and other local advancements?

Next week I’ll be speaking at the Mainstreet SA conference in Port Pirie from May 10-11, addressing these key questions.

Co-presenting with Port Pirie Regional Council, I’ll be speaking about innovation in visitor servicing – and its role in future-proofing regional mainstreets.

My experience within the mainstreet space was largely shaped by my 13 years of leading retailing practice in Australia, Canada and Ireland. I’m  driven by smart, cost effective but visionary approaches to the places, people and product underpinning modern mainstreets.

Ahead of next week’s talk, I wanted to share a few little nuggets of wisdom to get you thinking about the future of regional mainstreets.

 

1. Infrastructure is only part of the equation

New infrastructure really is only part of the equation when it comes to creating a successful and sustainable mainstreet. Visitor servicing is equally, if not more, important. When the two work together, you’ll get the best result. A study by Walker – a customer intelligence consulting firm in the US – noted that by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator.

2. Generic product and service delivery won’t cut it

So we know that generic product and service delivery simply won’t cut it with discerning shoppers in 2018. But how can we avoid the generic? My presentation will highlight many ways to do so, but these include authenticity and storytelling. Increasingly, customers are favouring quality, but they’re also seeking products and experiences that are authentic and unique to the region they’re visiting. Therefore, interaction with the product or service and its maker will be key. Deliver a high-quality product or service in an interesting and authentic way, and you’re on to a winner. Mainstreets need to be curating the opportunities that showcase the new and emerging artists and talent of a region.

3. Think big

On the day, I’ll be encouraging businesses and communities to think big. It’ll be about overcoming a scarcity mindset, or a mindset where, if I’m paying my bills, I’m doing okay. Thinking bigger and executing a plan that celebrates unique, artisan product, and experiences that are intimate and local, presents both a challenge and an opportunity for our mainstreets and local businesses.

 

We’ll be considering how to best capitalise on your region’s infrastructure, and delivering a modern, innovative service experience that will position your business and mainstreet for great success both now and into the future.

You can find out more about the Mainstreet SA State Conference and view the full program here. I hope to see you there!