Bormioli Rocco Puts Brand Front and Center

Frigoverre food storage goes from  freezer to microwave to table.  bormioliroccousa.com

Frigoverre food storage goes from freezer to microwave to table. bormioliroccousa.com

By Allion Zisko

Italian glassware company Bormioli Rocco wants to be a one-source, one-stop-shop for everything made of glass.

Over the past few months, the company’s newly established, New York-based North American team has worked to ensure that all of the company’s “touchpoints”—its website, social media, packaging and marketing efforts—reflect that goal, according to Patrick Accorsi, vice president of sales and marketing for North America.

“The product has always been there and does well,” Accorsi said during a recent interview at the company’s 41 Madison Avenue showroom. “The end consumer loves the product. But it hasn’t always been branded.”

Bormioli Rocco products, which run the gamut from stemware and tumblers to food storage and canning supplies, have a wide but thin distribution here in the U.S. The brand appears on the shelves of chain as well as independent specialty stores, but those stores typically only carry one or two SKUs, and the brand is not sold at Target or Kohl’s or other department stores.

“In most channels we have our foot in the door, but I don’t think we have enough of an assortment to have a strong brand presence,” Accorsi said. Consumers love the brand and have it at home but they don’t actively seek it out, he added. Meanwhile in Europe, where the company maintains nine factories—seven in Italy and two in Spain—Bormioli Rocco is a household name.

Accorsi believes that Bormioli Rocco’s opportunity in the American market lies in the mid-market range “where there is no strong visual in piece-count glassware.” It is positioning itself as neither the cheapest nor the most expensive glassware brand and highlighting its Italian design heritage and craftsmanship coupled with its technological advancement (its sprayed glassware, for instance, has been tested to last for up to 500 cycles in the dishwasher). Retail prices top out at about $34.99 for a set of four stems; tumblers run between $14.99 and $24.99, depending on the design and the color.

Previously the brand lacked consistency in its packaging, Accorsi said. New packaging features an Italian design that is more Milan than Tuscan; in other words, it is more high-design than Old World, with red and green pinstriping on a tan background alongside a solid black panel, while each side of the box gives the consumer different and relevant information about the product inside.

The company website is being revamped, and social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are being fine-tuned to promote the brand to consumers. The company also hopes to partner with the food and wine community to promote its brand message.

Two New York-based national sales managers have joined the North American team. Mike Donovan oversees national chains and key accounts. Kate Rotunno oversees field sales, specialty gourmet stores and sales representatives across the U.S. Both Donovan and Rotunno previously worked for Stanley Black & Decker and report to Accorsi. In addition, Pierfrancesca Sanna has come over from Italy to serve as marketing manager for North America. She also reports to Accorsi.

The American sales and marketing team now has a say in what types of products will be manufactured for the U.S. market and that, Accorsi said, “totally changes the conversations we’re having with retailers.” The team is now better equipped to approach retailers and say, ‘Here’s an assortment that we think is perfect for you and why.’ Product is warehoused both in New Jersey and in Italy.

The company will have that opportunity this month at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago where it will launch Giove, a colorful beverageware collection; a larger capacity of Palatina coolers; three new colors—gray, navy and yellow—in the Multicolor Collection of beverageware and glass bottles; and new lids for its Frigoverre microwave food storage collection.

Bormioli Rocco’s fastest-growing category is food storage, a grouping that encompasses the storage of leftovers as well as canning jars and its Fido collection of jars with spring-loaded, snap-shut lids. In glassware, a large chunk of growth will come from stemware and tumblers.

With new plans in place, Accorsi is optimistic about the company’s growth. Over the next three years he predicted that retail sales will double and foodservice sales will triple.