As anyone who has pitched deskside meetings knows all too well, securing the right one-on-ones for clients is no simple feat – and worthy of a post in its own right. 

Clearly define purpose and expectationsClick To Tweet Once the meetings are on the books, how do you make the experience memorable and ensure the resulting coverage exceeds expectations? Desksides for wine and spirits producers have unique requirements. Below, I share a few key essentials to keep in mind.

  1. Clearly define purpose and expectations

Great, you’ve got six meetings scheduled. It’s easy to feel victorious at this point but now is not the time for haste. Is this going to be a simple meet and greet? An opportunity for the editorial staff at a boozy publication to receive a great education in a seminar format? Or a detailed interview on a narrow topic? These questions must be clarified and defined beforehand. If there is anything you can provide ahead of time (such as export or production data, technical info), do so. This will allow the actual deskside to focus on the experience between the writer and the brand. Once everyone involved is on the same page, think about the story you would like to see and who you need to craft it accordingly. Who will be in the room on behalf of the brand and what will their specific role be? What will each person add to the conversation? On that note, balance the number of people in the room, so as not to overwhelm the editor and ensure everyone is adding a substantive piece of information that only they can provide — whether that be context, personal anecdotes or nerdy facts.

  1. Bring an Expert

Who wouldn’t want a visit from an intriguing winemaker or master distiller with a fantastic story to tell? Especially when the visit will be accompanied by generous pours of barrel samples or special bottles pulled from personal cellars? Your client is 100 times more interesting than you! Bear that in mind when setting up deskside meetings. The focal point should be a very rare opportunity to talk to someone who otherwise would not be available. As far as wine and spirits writers go, if they person you’re pitching doesn’t perceive your client that way,  it’s unlikely you will get the type of ROI you need.

  1. Have backups for your backups

For successful boozy desksides, everything matters. Analyze the location of each meeting, the time of day, the mode of transportation, the size of the office you’re visiting, what you will do if the subway is on the fritz, what kind of glassware you will find (hint: bring your own, don’t give the editors you’re visiting any work to do). Finally, run through every possible scenario. What happens if a bottle is corked? Nothing, because you brought lots of extras. Do you need to use a Coravin? Make sure you have enough oxygen capsules and practice on a few bottles. Bring enough corkscrews for everyone in the room, because everyone will want to help at some point.Is your client losing steam? No, because you smartly built in breaks and time for coffee in between appointments. Are you bringing a product that absolutely requires food to make sense or ice for temperature control? Is the appointment during a time frame people typically have lunch or dinner? If so, offer to cover catering. It goes without saying that any food pairings should be checked and cross checked so that the palate experience is flawless. All these logistics are vital to ensuring everyone walks away with the warm and fuzzies before you even sit down to taste.

Have you been a part of or planned a kick-ass week of desksides? I want to hear about them via @colombiana.eats.

For more insights on communication and brand strategy, industry trends and more, subscribe today to the Weekly Buzz here.