PR Industry Trends

Four Things You Need to Know about the U.S. Wine Industry

The U.S. wine landscape continues to evolve dramatically. Whether packaging or product, there’s a lot happening. Here are four themes you should be following in the U.S. wine industry today.

1.Who is Drinking Wine.

According to Euromonitor’s Wine in the U.S. (June 2017, subscription only), the wine category saw total volume growth of 2% (and is projected to continue growing at the same rate), driven by aging boomers on one end and “demanding millennials” on the other.

They’re two very different groups – and millennials are forcing change upon the industry. As Euromonitor asserts, they’re frugal consumers – demanding quality at an affordable price point – and tech-savvy.

To continue growing the category, the focus needs to be on “selling wine in the style, packaging and price points to meet the evolving needs of our consumer,”  says Stephanie Gallo, VP of marketing at E&J Gallo, in an excellent interview with the U.K.’s The Drinks Business. “Millennials are fueling the growth of the wine category, and their behavior is dramatically different than their predecessors. As a winery, we’re witnessing a paradigm shift in how and when people learn about and enjoy wine.”

2. Bubbles are Big.

Sparking wine continues to be

Higher Education

Inseparable: College Recruitment and Retention

Photo Credit: Nimble Photography

Admissions marketing needs to promote retention initiatives early and often. And, that’s true for initiatives that support students’ overall well-being, not just academic success. A trifecta of recent surveys got me thinking about this.

Students thinking about withdrawal. The College Confidence Index from Allianz surveyed current and prospective college students. More than half of prospective students (55 percent) are already wondering if they’ll need to temporarily withdraw once in college. Meanwhile, 43 percent of current students say that they’ve thought about withdrawing. Why? Family emergency (69 percent), stress (66 percent) or mental health condition (66 percent) were the top reasons.

Existing retention initiatives on campus. Inside Higher Ed conducted its annual survey of chief business officers. Most respondents’ institutions have invested in retention initiatives. Of those who’ve invested, 86 percent did so with “the clear expectation that higher student retention and degree completion would improve financial stability.” The types of initiatives cited were primarily academic: clearly designed pathways for degrees (83 percent), academic coaching (78 percent), training for faculty (74 percent), peer mentoring (66 percent) and technology-enabled advising (58 percent).

Participation in

Employee Engagement

Two Interns’ Views on Getting Engaged… No, We’re Not Talking About Marriage

Note: This post was co-authored by Padilla interns Kayla McMahon and Megan Finkbeiner

We’re Kayla and Megan, two interns in Padilla’s Richmond office. We joined Padilla in the beginning of June as newbies to the working world, and recently attended an employee engagement briefing, presented by Gallup, called: “The Competitive Advantage of Engaging Your Employees.” We learned the importance of employee engagement and found that our own workplace expectations aligned with several of Gallup’s findings.

Below, we’ve listed our thoughts on four key takeaways from the briefing to give you a peek into the mind of a job-hunting millennial.

1) Workplace expectations are changing from valuing a paycheck to feeling a sense of purpose.


Megan: The seminar began with a simple question: “What makes a good job?” The responses were as expected — communication, room for growth, transparency, stability, etc. After sharing our answers, one attendee made a point that ultimately set the stage for the rest of the briefing: not one person mentioned salary or benefits. According to the Gallup rep who led the briefing, this isn’t a rare finding among…

PR Industry Trends

How to Become a Smarter Consumer of Nutrition Information

We are constantly being inundated with information about what we should or shouldn’t be eating to look and feel our best. It seems that every time I am on the playground I pick up on a conversation discussing the latest program that requires complete elimination of entire food groups for a month. And, just last night, I counted 11 documentaries on Netflix related to food, nutrition and health. How do you know what to believe?

The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) recently conducted its 12th Annual Food and Health survey. The survey revealed that eight in 10 (78 percent) of respondents say that they encounter a lot of conflicting information about what to eat/avoid. More than half of those respondents (56 percent) say the conflicting information makes them doubt the choices they make. About one in four consumers (28 percent) say they rely on friends and family for nutrition and food safety information, which tops other sources including conversations with registered dietitians, health-focused websites, and the news.

I conducted an informal survey of my co-workers in the New York office and across the Food + Beverage Practice here at…

Investor Relations

M&A Communications – The Risk-Management Role of Corporate Communications

According to Pitchbook, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year in terms of capital invested in mergers and acquisitions – the events that recast companies, industries, employee and customer and investor expectations, – even brand identities. Mergers, acquisitions and divestitures are quintessential change-management events and some of the most challenging communications scenarios in the corporate lifecycle.

The moment a transaction is announced, risk is created (a lot of it), uncertainty is introduced, strategic rationale is scrutinized, first impressions are cemented and corporate culture and brand identity get ambiguous. To be clear, I am talking about strategic deals – transactions that fundamentally reshape the character of a company, rather than smaller “bolt-on” transactions. If you work for a public company, the sheer visibility of a major transaction makes all of this more intense. Ask a Whole Foods employee, vendor partner or investor how they felt when they learned about Amazon’s takeover bid. “Did that just actually happen?” might have been a first reaction.

Through our investor and corporate relations work, we’ve led many clients through many transformative transactions and the role corporate communications plays is always an intriguing variable. M&A transactions are devised by top management, a…