While completing his marketing communications studies at Sonoma State University, Robert Larsen started in the beverage alcohol business as a public relations intern in 1992 at Glen Ellen Winery in Glen Ellen, California. He continued to work for the Benziger Family following the sale of Glen Ellen Winery to Heublien in 1993 before moving on to Buena Vista Winery, where his full-fledge public relations adventures began, meaning he gained a title other than intern.
Robert has since worked at numerous California wineries as well as a few agencies, including his own, Larsen Public Relations, in between corporate life and executive communications positions at family-owned wineries, Dry Creek Vineyard and Rodney Strong Vineyards. Along the way he has represented the Kea Lani Hotel on Maui, Hawaii, The Fisherman Restaurant in Burlingame, CA, Aidells Sausage Company, Levy’s Bagels in San Francisco and yes wine companies and wineries, including Chateau Souverain, Constellation Brands, Adler Fels, Diageo (Beaulieu Vineyard and Glen Ellen Winery again), Veramonte in Chile, Napa Ridge Winery and Stags’ Leap Winery.
His lens on business and the evolving industry led him to utilize a variety of means to gain share of mind. Blending a combination of traditional and innovative communications tactics from FAM trips and tried and true writing and pitching to unveiling a statue of a legendary winemaker at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA, and grape stomping in San Francisco’s Union Square with a creative bunch while at Diageo, there’ve been several fun and effective programs on the journey. At his most recent post, Robert directed the publication of a cookbook, Down Home Downtown, which featured two Sonoma County chefs along with wine pairings supplied by Rodney Strong Vineyards. The ensuing campaign took the photographer and chefs across country for dinners and desksides culminating in a James Beard House dinner in New York City.
Diving into the ever changing field of public relations as it relates to social media, Robert conceived and executed a four-city, 20 chefs, four celebrity hosts simultaneous live broadcast James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour dinner supported by nine in-home influencer viewing/tweeting dinners to celebrate Rodney Strong’s 25 years of family ownership, resulting in organically trending #1 on Twitter for most of that evening.
Splashy events can effectively deliver a quality message. Grassroots programs can too. Established in late 2015, Robert’s The Larsen Projekt is a boutique marketing communications agency focused on results, both in terms measureable ROI and intangible emotional connections leading to elevating brand or company perception.