Uncovering the sources of brand authenticity in the digital era: evidence from an Italian winery


  • Michela Mingione
  • Mike Bendixen
  • Russell Abratt




Brand authenticity; wine brand; digital era; brand ecosystem; sustainability; coopetition; Italy


Purpose of the paper: The purpose of this study is to explore the sources of brand authenticity of a well-known Italian vineyard through the digital age lens and an organizational perspective.

Design/methodology/approach. This study adopted a qualitative single case study design. Antonelli San Marco, an Italian brand with an estate located in Montefalco was selected. Eleven interviews with members of the family who own and manage the business, as well as their employees, were conducted. After transcribing and translating the interviews when needed, they were coded and their content analysed.

Findings. Findings confirmed the dimensions of brand authenticity of previous studies in the wine industry. This study also confirmed the objective, subjective, and existential sources of brand authenticity from previous research. Remarkably, the existential source, which was traditionally linked to integrity elements, emerged here as the result of Antonelli’s care for the brand ecosystem, including people, the terroir and the entire location. In addition, a new category of brand authenticity was found, in relation to a brand’s competitive side, to be fundamental in competing in the digital age and focused on the importance of narrating the real brand story while engaging in collaborative relationships and carefully managing eco-capabilities, technological skills, and digital capabilities.

Originality/value. The framework that is presented in this paper provides an original view on wine brand authenticity from a managerial standpoint, highlighting new challenges that must be faced to successfully compete in the digital era while maintaining brand authenticity over time and across diverse stakeholders.


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