New Work: DITALIA
When client meetings involve balsamic strawberry truffles… you know it’s going to be a good project.
Driving through The Hill, it’s easy to see how Italian food is truly the heart of St. Louis. DITALIA has been a staple since 1987, when Vincenzo Di Piazza and his son, Vince Jr., founded the local wholesaler and distributer. In 1997, they became an early adopter of the internet-as-marketplace and have been able to reach far beyond St. Louis to deliver a wide variety of Italian foods.
Right away, several things stood out about DITALIA. They eat meals together throughout the day. Brothers, sisters, cousins have joined in over the years, pouring their expertise into the mix, and the results are noteworthy. Call with a question about a particular brand of olive oil, and you’ll not only get a knowledgable answer, but a story about the people who make it, or the regional idiosyncrasies that make this product different than any other.
They have loyal, longstanding customers that are an asset and a core part of their business. But they always have their eye on the future, and came to us as they were thinking about how to bring in new customers, especially expanding their gift services. Their current branding, packaging, and website tended to blend in to the typical imagery and treatment of Italian food—and they wanted to stand out from the competition in a bold way.
A mood boarding exercise with DITALIA explored Italian influences and how they saw themselves standing out from competitors and other Italian food branding. Through this session we also learned about their company values, and how they wanted those ideals to come through in the work we were undertaking. Persona development helped us focus on DITALIA’s existing customer and the type of customers they want to attract—in fact, we’re still asking, “What will Don Vincenzo* think about this?” as we build out collateral material.
From our discovery, we drew inspiration from Italian Deco signage, marble, and the bright colors of modern Italian design to create their new mark and color palette:
1.) Share DITALIA with someone you love. We depicted all kinds of families, from empty-nesters to a few close friends, reminding people that DITALIA makes a great gift, and that sharing a meal together is a perfect way to show how much you care.
2.) Have a delicious experience. From browsing the website to opening a gift box, we wanted the experience to be enjoyable at every step, and full of rich, bright colors and patterns that celebrated the bold and exciting flavors of DITALIA.
3. Feel adventurous. DITALIA brings Italy to your doorstep, and whether Italy is your ancestral home or just a place you’d love to be; whether you’re cooking a secret family recipe or just learning how to make pasta al dente, experiencing Italy through food is exciting and meaningful.
Online and In the Mail
Since their storefront is exclusively online, we re-skinned the existing ecommerce site so that the organization/tracking platform was left intact (we know how alarming it can be when someone moves your cheese!), but the colors, fonts, messaging and feel of the brand is now a part of the shopping experience. Another important tool is their weekly email, and we designed an email template that includes their deals and also gives them a chance to share their expertise and help people learn more about Italian food and culture. And finally, when someone sends you the gift of DITALIA, you’ll receive a brightly colored box with a message from DITALIA to read as you enjoy some amazing stuffed olives or prosciutto.
*Any resemblance to actual persons is purely coincidental.