Behind the Headlines With Juliana Colangelo
Authenticity is key to successful PR. A boutique agency that shares your passions and has established relationships in your industry can provide a great boost to your brand, but part of authenticity is also having hands on deck in the cultural centers that cater to your target audience.
To immerse itself further in America’s fine wine, spirits and artisanal food scene, New York-based integrated communications firm Colangelo & Partners recently opened its first satellite office in the Bay Area, led by account executive Juliana Colangelo.
Tell us a bit about how your career background prepared you for your current role.
I have now been working at Colangelo & Partners for nearly three years, and have experienced most aspects of the business. I started primarily in event management, and have since moved into account management and media relations. Prior to working at Colangelo & Partners, I co-founded my own non-profit organization, Sisters on the Runway, which provided me with the entrepreneurial and organizational skills necessary to thrive in a “start-up” environment with our West coast office.
You recently relocated from New York to open C&P’s San Francisco office. How will your proximity to Napa Valley impact your business?
Just as we have immersed ourselves in the wine world (trade, media) on the East Coast, we expect to do the same in the Bay Area, Napa and Sonoma. We will be able to attend local tastings, get to know the local wine and lifestyle media, and ultimately, more effectively accommodate our client’s West Coast needs.
Is traditional PR still central to your integrated communication strategy? What strategy areas are growing in importance?
Yes, traditional PR is still the core of our integrated communication strategy, however we have seen tremendous growth in our digital and social media strategy, as well as our trade strategy. One of our most prominent differentiating factors in the wine, spirits & food industries is that we understand the trade; we know the importers, distributors and sales forces that sell our client’s products, and we know how to engage and communicate with these audiences.
What unique challenges do you face as an agency specializing in fine wine and spirits?
ABC- Alcohol Beverage Control. Each state has remarkably different rules and regulations, which can pose challenges for event planning. Especially when we’re looking to pour wines that are not imported in the U.S.
Is there a campaign you’ve worked on that was particularly meaningful to you? What made it special?
The first campaign I worked on at Colangelo & Partners, BBQ to Braai with Wines of South Africa (WOSA), is an excellent example of how our agency successfully turns short-term projects and events into long-term integrated communication programs.
In 2013-2014, we organized a series of 10 consumer events across the country, promoting the South African wine category through food. In 2015, the event series turned into an integrated communication campaign, with media relations and social media. Events were held in New York City, Minneapolis, Key West and other locations.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin a career in PR?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Work on your writing for various formats, send emails, set up coffee dates and attend events.
How do you envision the future of PR?
I believe that horizontally aligned, generalist agencies will begin to fade out, as specialized, vertically integrated ones become more successful. We have seen some of our greatest successes come as a result of being focused and specialized in a target industry.
Rapid Fire Round
1. I always thought I’d be…. My middle-school Model UN trophy led me to believe I’d be working for a non-profit in public policy or for a government agency.
2. My biggest pet peeve is… insincerity. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, or say things you don’t truly mean!
3. If I won the lottery, I’d… travel around the world on a boat, with a personal masseuse and chef in tow. Donate the rest to local charity projects.
4. My hidden talent is… I can draw a perfect replica of the cartoon “Hey Arnold.”
5. My ideal vacation is… hiking, swimming and eating fresh seafood along the Mediterranean coast.
6. My go-to comfort food is… warm toast with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and good olive oil.
7. My favorite wine is… Etna Rosso from Sicily (a quarter of my Italian heritage).
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