You could call Jean-Baptiste Sialelli, our Global Trade Marketing Manager, a true spirits savant. He started young and stayed in the business, sharping his skills in four roles in 10 years (and counting!) with our Group in Paris.
Your port of entry to the spirits world?
My career was a matter of occurrence because the industry made me happy. I discovered the whisky world—mostly that I liked whisky—when I was a student.
I had my first job like that: It was rare to be so young and have a specialized “expert” role that required authentic product discourse and marketing knowledge for tastings, etc. I was only 24, and it was like I’d known our whiskies Bruichladdich, Octomore, etc., for a long time. I was simultaneously product chief and brand ambassador, and it was easy for me to go straight to clients and market “in direct.”
Advice to those wanting to delve into Global Travel Retail (GTR)?
For someone who has worked in marketing and wants to go global, it’s good to have some domestic knowledge. When one works in domestic, you are driven by results, making things concrete, simple. Global Travel Retail enables us to provide a visionary direction. So, when you know how to do both, you can easily integrate with people who are visionary, but also pragmatic, to make things happen. But the most important thing is to like this industry: You must be passionate.
A day in a global role?
Asia in the morning, Europe in the afternoon, and America in the evening. My role is to put ideas into action in a consistent way, regardless the continent. GTR creates guidelines, tools and strategies. And for us, it is to say which client, which opportunity and how. You also have to showcase value and highlight distinction: make our brand appear more creative through innovative concepts. Creativity is our best weapon.
Where do you find inspiration?
Daily. When you go shopping, to an expo, or travel, you’re not necessarily seeing things from a very “business” perspective, but you look, you observe. For example, you could to lunch one afternoon at a restaurant with a botanical ambiance that likens The Botanist (our Islay dry gin). When I see a concept that could work for us, I send it to my team for inspiration. It’s a small example, but life can always inspire us. There’s inspiration everywhere we look.
Working at Rémy Cointreau?
It’s a Group that maintains its human size. There isn’t a lot of hierarchy. Everyone knows each other, and it’s a positive environment. We see the Executive Board regularly, the distribution team members as well. Because of our size, we have the capacity to be very entrepreneurial. When we have a good idea, we can test it, and when you have people around you for support, it’s easy to innovate.
Things are taking off in the right direction. And as an international Group, it’s interesting to have people from different backgrounds. You don’t have that everywhere, and if you succeed in having a good mix of people, that creates a winning team.