Public Relations as Personal Relationships: How Top Bordeaux Wines are Promoted in China
Keywords:international public relations, relationship management, two-way symmetrical communication, interpersonal communication, Bordeaux wine, luxury brands, China
A decade ago, the Chinese barely purchased French wines. Today, China is the world’s largest market for the wines of Bordeaux. This case study investigates the public relations strategies of the “first growths” of Bordeaux, France—the elite group of wineries officially classified as the region’s best—that have fueled this remarkable growth. The study finds that the first growths have largely ignored mass communication tactics such as media outreach and advertising in China, and instead promote their wines through face-to-face exchanges with the Chinese elite. This demonstrates that it is still possible for a multibillion dollar industry to practice transnational public relations through in-person communication with key audiences. I argue that interpersonal communication may be the most effective public relations strategy for other luxury brands.