Authenticity, Millennials and Wine Star at Vino2011

Vino2011logo "The largest selection of Italian wines under one roof anywhere in America."

The "Roof" is the Waldorf-Astoria, the "anywhere" is New York City and the "selection" is VINO 2011: ITALIAN WINE WEEK.

When I was called and asked to moderate a seminar panel for the Italian producers and wine marketers attending Vino 2011 next week, I jumped at the chance. Having been invited to attend this event before and sit on a seminar panel, I became well aware that the Italian Trade Commission's annual "Italian Wine Week" was among the best organized, swankiest, best attended and best stocked with wine talent of any wine trade event I've attended in two decades of attending wine trade events.

So, I'm impressed. Very Impressed. With that out of the way, let me say a few things about the things I'll be saying and talking about at the seminar I'll be moderating on Tuesday:

“What Emily Post Can Teach You About Social Media, Millennial App-titude and Geo-Marketing”

As you might have guessed, I'm moderating the obligatory "Social Media" panel that we now see at every wine industry gathering. Notice too that we got "Millennial" into the title. Another important buzz word. But what is really interesting about this panel is not just the fine set of panelists nor the buzz-wordiest of titles. What is really cool is that what we will be addressing primarily is how to communicate to a specific demographic in an authentic manner and to best effect. We aren't aiming at explaining Twitter and Facebook and Foursquare and thereby suggest that simply by using these social media tools one is "communicating authentically" with Millennials. Rather, we will examine how Millennials react to the tone and substance of what product and service marketers have to say to them through these tools.

The premise is pretty interesting when you think about it:

The Millennial generation responds best to marketing communications that create interpersonal rapport via messages and voice that are more authentic.

What exactly does "authentic" and "authenticity" mean and how is this kind of communication better achieve by virtue of using social media tools? The first thing that I wonder is can a disembodied voice be "authentic"? That is to say, will a message or communication that comes from an "entity" or "company" and not from an identifiable individual, be viewed as "authentic"? Put another way, why do Millennials respond more positively to "I want you to try this wine" than to simply "Try this wine"?

The complexity of this question probably needs to be addressed by using insights from the fields of psychology, sociology, political science, history, physiology and neuroscience.

The panel I'm moderating at Vino 2011 has a wide variety of skills and talents. But most importantly, they all work in the field of marketing in one way or another. In addition, they all are involved in engagement of the consumer. And they all have worked to focus on the engagement of the Millennial generation. My panelists include:

VirtualVino Panel copy
Talia Baiocchi:
Founding Editor and Director of Organic Marketing at and Wine Columnist for

Amy Cao: Head of Social Media at

Gregory Del Piaz: Editor-in-Chief at

Jeff Lefevere: Author of the Good Grape wine blog and VP of Client Services for the digital design shop The Basement.

Kent Wilhelm: Senior Manager of New Media and Marketing at Astor Wine & Spirits and the Astor Center

The Seminar will be live streamed on Tuesday, January 25th at 2pm eastern directly from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The link to the live stream will be found here:

Other social access points to the Vino2011 event are:

Twitter: @vino2011ny
Vino 2011 Blog:

5 Responses

  1. Fredric Koeppel - January 18, 2011

    Tom, I hope I finally get to meet you at VINO 2011, though I signed up for a different seminar in that slot. The ITC invited me as a blogger and social media person to cover the show/event/tastings in real time.

  2. Deborah Parker Wong - January 19, 2011

    Sounds like a winner, Tom. I’m in the same boat, assigned to cover another seminar in that time slot but itching to hear the lastest on Millennial speak. I can only hope that VINO 2011 will be archiving their live feeds for us. Cheers, Deborah Parker Wong

  3. Girlongrape - January 19, 2011

    Fascinating topic! As a millenial who can’t attend, can I look forward to a transcript?
    I would suggest that my generation doesn’t place too much emphasis on the distinction between an entity’s voice and an individual’s voice. Rather, we notice whether the voice belongs to us or to another. Following your example, and in order of impact: Try this < I want you to try this wine < Let's try this wine. Maybe the term for it is inclusive marketing? Look forward to hearing about the discussion.

  4. Eugenia - January 20, 2011

    Tom: Thank you SO MUCH for this info, particularly the chance to hear this on a live stream. Great panel indeed and one that will address content rather than the use of the technology. Have fun in NYC!

  5. Mark - January 21, 2011

    “Rather, we will examine how Millennials react to the tone and substance of what product and service marketers have to say to them through these tools”
    Sounds good….just setting up on Twitter and sending out your website link once or twice a day isn’t going to get the job done long term, either is simply thanking people for coming in.
    Easily accessible content is a major issue still. How wineries tell their story is going to either greatly help or hurt their cause.

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