The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2017

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Page 89 of 128

september 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  85 IN THE BIZ "O ur clients' success is the yardstick by which I measure my agency's success," Linda Parker Sanpei tells me as we sit over drinks at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles, California. The mark of any great PR person is comfort behind the scenes––and that is the epitome of Parker Sanpei. She started her career 20 years ago launching Seven Peaks Winery, a joint venture between Southcorp Wines of Australia and the Niven Family, serving as National Sales and Marketing Manager and stewarding brand growth from zero to 70,000 cases in three years. After spearheading marketing and sales efforts for multinational com- panies such as Pacific Wine Partners and Constellation Brands, her natural passion for storytelling led her to public relations. But maintaining attention on a brand is not easy. "Wine and spirits is tougher than ever before, so the story has to be personal; it's about what affects us emotionally and draws us in. It's a complicated wheel, but it all equals public relations," Parker Sanpei says. One of the biggest challenges she faces is helping clients understand that PR isn't a faucet that can be turned on and off; it's a sustained effort with short- and long-term goals. "When we work with our client partners, we very much see ourselves as part of their team and enjoy knowing we are having a meaningful and positive impact on their success," she explains. In the end, she believes it's a win when a client tells her their sales have grown 25 percent over the previous year. One challenge these days is capital- izing on the fractured media landscape, with its range of slow, traditional outlets and immediate social media. "It takes a certain personality to be in PR and marketing, someone who can connect the dots and seize opportuni- ties," she says, seeing herself as a catalyst. "Continually being a resource for journalists and quickly finding the common denominator between what journalists are seeking and what our clients have to offer often results in exposure in varied media they would not have otherwise received." Ultimately, a decade after starting her own agency, Parker Sanpei still loves her job and is once again work- ing with the Niven Family brands. Her portfolio focuses on wine and spirits, restaurants and resorts. "I feel suc- cessful when my client-partners are successful." Bottom line? "It's relation- ships that work." "It's a complicated wheel, but it all equals public relations." Getting the Word Out LINDA PARKER SANPEI: A LONGTIME FORCE IN HOSPITALITY PUBLICITY story and photo by Michael Cervin PR maven Linda Parker Sanpei

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