Author – IFBM Students
Every year, ESCP gives its International Food and Beverage Management master students the opportunity to work on a project with companies that are mainly active in the sector. This Company Project offers students the chance to put into practice what they have learned and above all offers them a first look at the business world. Various objectives are proposed based on the type of company, they can concern a financial challenge, sponsorship of a startup, the development of a product, and so on. We were one of this year’s teams: Maria Vittoria Cerea, Louis Lesaffre, Ana Luz Garza Tello, Sara Mangiacavalli and Venceslas Toubiana, and we were assigned to the ice cream and sorbet company Tonitto1939. In this journey, that lasted about six months, we were supported by our tutor Isabella Maggioni, who guided us and helped us find our direction when doubts or misunderstandings arose, and Alberto Piscioneri, marketing and sales director at the company.
Tonitto1939 was founded in Genoa in 1939, it is a family company run by Luca and Massimiliano Dovo, the seventh generation. It is number one for sorbets in Italy and is active in more than 30 geographical areas. It is important to understand and know a company before working with it, to understand its values, its mission and vision, because as we know, consistency is one of the main elements that a company must have to be successful. The company’s 4 key words are: authenticity, goodness, sustainability, and innovation. Its goal is to deliver happiness in every way.
They proposed two activities: to create a strategy and a communication plan for the B2B market (mainly for export, therefore with a focus on foreign countries) and one for the B2C (mainly for Italy and Romania).
Sara and Maria Vittoria, our Italian team-mates, were mainly involved in the business to consumer relationship, as they had to interact with the Italian market and create a communication strategy for the Tonitto1939 brands, with particular focus on the Sorbetto and Linea lines. They started by analysing the market and especially the competitors, near and far, because it is only by looking at the competitors that you understand the position of a company and especially its direction. “Analyse the best and copy them” was our motto. The primary goal was to create a communication strategy and a plan for both lines, paying particular attention to the audience we wanted to address, the social networks we wanted to use, the tone of voice, and of course the KPIs, to measure our work and help us see if we were going in the right direction.
Louis and Venceslas, our French team-mates, took care of business to business (B2B), a segment which is a bit more delicate and complex because of the variety of prospects, whether they represent companies producing for retail brands (private labels) or start-ups with particular values and Italian know-how based on quality ingredients, in line with consumers’ expectations of their products. After extensive market analysis, we decided to focus on countries that represent and affect the habits of a whole area in the world like China, USA and Germany.
Ana, from Mexico City, on the other hand, had the brilliant idea of focusing on the luxury hotel industry as an opportunity for growth. After analysing the market, we realised that it was the sector that presented the best opportunity and made the most sense for the brand. We also focused on looking for new ways to reach clients in the B2B sector, especially in countries like China, and finding the best tools and strategies to grow the business abroad. We considered their acquisition funnel and its various stages, the KPIs to look for and how to make the B2B consumer journey more successful, all with the purpose of helping Tonitto1939 reach new countries and markets
This company project was very useful for us to learn how to work in a group and become a team, how to overcome the obstacles that arise, meet deadlines and work towards objectives. These projects are also very helpful to better understand what we are good at and most importantly what we are passionate about doing. One thing that particularly impressed us was how the company asked us our opinions on what it could do better, what didn’t work for us and what to change. This really gave us food for thought and helped us realise that only if you put yourself on the line, and if you reflect on yourself on your results, and above all if you listen to others’ opinions can you really improve and reach higher levels.