The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2018

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Page 36 of 112

36  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2018 PUBLIC RELATIONS W hen Gino Colangelo founded public relations agency Colangelo & Partners in 2006, he had just left marketing behemoth Dentsu Communications after a decade-long career there. While the move represented a major profes- sional shift, the guiding principles that first led Colangelo to the PR industry haven't wavered over the years. "I got into this business because of my love for the stories behind the wines and spirits: the families, winemakers, distillers, and their communities," he tells The Tasting Panel. With 52 employees and offices in New York and San Francisco, Colangelo & Partners focuses entirely on food-, wine-, and spirits-related clients, including Napa Valley Vintners, Diplomático Rum, Frescobaldi, Vinitaly, Vintage Wine Estates, Wines of Spain, and many others. The agency offers four basic services, according to Colangelo: press relations, or "keeping clients in the news across all media"; events coordination for both "trade and consumer"; digital communica- tions, including social media creation and development, direct marketing, and sponsored content curation; and relationship building and outreach with "somms and bartenders who carry a brand's story to consumers." Colangelo says he's "always looking for ways to create value for our clients" ("I never ever take anybody's business for granted," he adds), but how is that "value" actually measured by his agency? In 2018, it should come as no surprise that online analytics play a dominant role. "With digital, we can measure web traffic generation, and if the client has e-commerce measure- ment, that can then be related directly to sales," he explains. "It's the same with social media and online direct marketing: We can quantify fan/fol- lower acquisition and engagement." In such a tenuous media environ- ment, however, things can change quickly. "There is a huge convergence in media right now," Colangelo says. "The lines between paid and unpaid media are breaking down more and more, and digital media presents new opportunities. Our number-one task is to create great written content and videos and disseminate that across diverse platforms, whether they're owned (e.g. LinkedIn, a company blog, or Instagram), earned ('tradi- tional' press), or paid (advertising/ editorial content)." Despite the constantly-evolving nature of the business, Colangelo says his firm consistently applies the same philosophy to their relations with all clients: that "speed is a strategy." "We believe in moving fast and creating value with integrated services," he explains, adding that rather than paying for overly-thorough planning and forecasting, clients want to pay for results: press hits, social media growth, and successful trade events where they can engage directly with buyers. "Regardless of the media platform, cli- ents want validation of their brand by colleagues, critics, and fans," Colangelo continues. "Influence within market- ing is becoming a much bigger deal, because now you have micro-targeted influencers" as consumers gain more access to information. In Colangelo's mind, that trend can only continue to spur industry growth: "We're very optimistic about the future," he says. Speed is a Strategy at Colangelo & Partners Gino Colangelo, Founder of Colangelo & Partners. by Michael Cervin PHOTO: RAEANN SERRA

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