My family from my mother’s side has acquired farmland by way of cattle trading, an activity my great-grandfather pursued over a century ago with a good degree of success. Fast-forward to today my mother’s farm “Canestrello” is celebrating its 100 years anniversary, which is a milestone we wanted to celebrate with something special considering the fact no one of us will be present the next time the century turns over.
Canestrello and its surrounding areas have been known for their durum wheat (the bread and pasta making cereal to be clear) for centuries, this tradition has been maintained through our family’s history and is a source of pride to the present day.
The idea was simple and ambitious at the same time, turning a portion of our durum wheat into pasta to celebrate this beautiful crop which has defined our family and Italy too as pasta and pizza conquered the world. At face value this proposition seemed quite reasonable, that is if you don’t consider that given the type of product a “limited” production would require four metric tons of raw material to be transformed into roughly two metric tons of high-quality “artisanal” pasta. Some kind of family project, definitely up there with a kitchen remodel.
On my end I would contribute marketing, branding, and communications, which are my areas of competence, by building the brand from the ground up starting only with a name and a geographic location.
The project began with a qualitative and quantitative market survey that I developed with Survey Monkey. The objective was to investigate attitudes towards “artisanal” pasta—a small batch gourmet version of the product we are used to consume in its industrial form via commercial brands such as Barilla, De Cecco, or whatever your supermarket carries—as well as the types of shapes people favored in what I referred to as the Hit Parade of pasta. A mailing list was generated via Mail Chimp within our family and friends to create a pool of prospective customers, contact was made, the questionnaires disseminated, and soon enough we had a snapshot of what roughly 250 people thought about our idea. Not only the survey gave us an understanding of the attitudes regarding “artisanal” pasta, but it also informed our decision of what types of pasta (remember we are producing two tons of the stuff) and in which quantities we were going to produce it.
My sisters tackled all productions aspects, stuff like moving truckloads of wheat, finding the mill, and ultimately finding the pasta maker that would accept such a small order, since two tons in the pasta business is considered somewhat of a test production.
On my end I had to design the logo, develop a brand identity, including a package that had to be produced into two separate sizes, one for long and one for short pasta. As expected a Website to present the initiative had to be created together with some labels and a few other corporate identity materials
Moving forward we will simplify the packaging to control cost, likely we will move to a labeling system to go over the cellophane bag, eliminating the cardboard box altogether. Hopefully this solution is not only cost-effective but also more eco-friendly as well.