Allegrini 2018

Gino Colangelo: this is how communication at the service of wine brands supports the wine trade

At WineNews, the point of view, from the USA in lockdown, of the founder of Colangelo & Partners, between emergency and change
Gino Colangelo

After China, Italy and Europe, the Covid-19 epidemic hits the USA, a vital market for Italian wine exports. Which, beyond the commercial aspects, the most urgent ones, will also have to rethink its communication and promotional strategies - in a context in which public health is obviously in the foreground - in order to reach the wine lovers in this period of lockdown, in which the “filter” of restaurants and bars is zeroed, but also to be ready, as companies and institutions, at the moment of the restart. At WineNews, we talked about this with Gino Colangelo (Colangelo & Partners Public Relations), one of the reference agencies for the communication and marketing of wine in the United States.
“To talk directly with consumers - says Gino Colangelo - we use all the most advanced tools and technologies: social media (Facebook Live, Instagram Live), video platforms (Zoom, Google Teams, Skype) and database marketing. A very important thing: we are working a lot with retailers, both traditional and online, like wine.com, to keep them in touch with their consumers, and help them in communicating brand messages and wine sales. In order to communicate and sell directly to consumers, there are several marketplaces, such as Vivino, Minibar, Drizly, platforms with which we are engaged in activities concerning the sale and value of the brand”.
In lockdown time, therefore, it becomes important to “focus efforts on connecting physically isolated consumers at home with our customers, influencers, and each other to create online communities where people can eat and drink together virtually. People”, continues Colangelo, “want to connect now more than ever, in every possible way. There is a hunger for content and communication and we are helping to answer that question by connecting to our customers and their products.
In the future, when all this will be behind us, explains Gino Colangelo, “we expect to emerge from the crisis stronger than ever, because we are working more closely with distribution channels than ever before. Even before the Coronavirus crisis, however, we saw the increasingly evident trend of convergence between brand content and sales activation. Which is now, due to the disruption of the on-premise business, accelerating. In this perspective, both brands and institutions can benefit from directly educating target consumers with ad hoc communication content and facilitating sales: Vivino is a great example of how it can work”.
But this is also the time to close ranks, so “we encourage wineries and institutions to work more closely than ever, with their agencies and distribution channels in the United States, providing information, making executives available for interviews and maintaining communications. As in any crisis - says Colangelo - companies that continue to market and communicate - intelligently and sensitively, of course - will come out stronger once the crisis is over”.
At the same time, however, what is considered by many to be the worst global crisis since the end of the Second World War will bring epochal changes, especially in terms of purchasing and consumption, which are unlikely to be the same as before, even for wine. “I believe that the traditional definition of “off-premise” and “on-premise” is changing radically, and this crisis is accelerating the change. For example, a virtual dinner (we are making several of those with our customers) is technically an off-premise sale, but it is similar to an on-premise moment. How would we define a purchase from Drizly or Minibar? Ultimately, it doesn't matter, as long as companies manage their brands and drive sales. I believe - concludes the founder of Colangelo & Partners Public Relations - that having a well-targeted, solid and growth-oriented communication plan today is more important than ever, always connecting communication with sales and distribution, while maintaining brand integrity”.

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