Vice Communications was born in 2006 - a child of the long-established wine industry and the up-and-coming digital marketing field. Owner Keli Vice has been fortunate to work with some of the finest brands in the wine industry.
Finding the Red Pen
With a BA in English from UCLA, Vice Communications owner Keli Vice was supposed to go to Law School. But as college ended, she took a job writing for an interior design magazine in Los Angeles, working under a crack editor who taught her the fine art of copy editing ... and left her forever scarred by typos, dangling participles and misplaced apostrophes.
Keli wrote and edited Designers West for two years, traveling to Spain, Illinois, New York and Arizona. During this time, her parents' hope of her ever returning to Law School were forever dashed as she decided her future would follow a more creative path.
Music Industry PR
When the bottom fell out of the publishing industry in the early '90s, Keli returned to her home town in Sonoma County, taking a Public Relations Manager position with audiophile music company Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Now on the flip side of publishing, she promoted the company's gold CD reissues of rock, jazz and blues classics to the peculiar but devoted audiophile music world. The position allowed her to continue honing her writing skills, producing the company's press releases, white papers and catalogs. She also helped launch the company's retro venture back into vinyl.
From there, Keli moved to the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (now known as the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts). As PR Director of this Santa Rosa performing arts center, she promoted hundreds of shows, from Bonnie Raitt and Wynton Marsalis to Lyle Lovett, Wynonna and Merle Haggard. Again, the writing continued, as Keli produced advertisements, radio scripts, event catalogs and the center's first website.
In 1998, Keli took a PR position at Allied Domecq Wines in Healdsburg. The US division of the global spirits & wine company was an incredible training ground, as she was exposed to every facet of the wine industry, working on wine brands like Clos du Bois, Buena Vista Carneros, Mumm Napa and Gary Farrell Winery, as well as Perrier-Jouët and G.H. Mumm Champagnes, Domecq sherries and Cockburn's port.
After transitioning to the Brand Marketing side of the business, Keli was asked to step in to complete a half-finished website project, and her digital marketing career began. By the time Allied Domecq Wines was sold, she had managed 19 brand website development projects, including a custom content management and e-commerce platform, and worked with the global IT team to implement a national trade site.
Though the then-CEO of the company once declared, "We will NEVER sell a bottle of wine on the Internet" (while pointing a finger across the table) Keli continued to internally champion the growing possibilities of digital communications - at a time when both Internet Marketing and Direct to Consumer departments were treated as the black sheep of Brand Marketing (my, how times have changed!). Within a year of that memorable meeting, she had established some of the first online wine shops in the industry. They could only ship to 11 states - but it was a start.
When Allied Domecq was sold in 2006 jointly to the Beam spirits group and Pernod Ricard, Keli was offered a full-time position with the new Beam group. But the brands headed to Pernod Ricard asked if she was interested in continuing to work with them as well.
Thus Vice Communications was born, as Keli arranged to parlay her work for both companies into a new consulting business. Initially focusing on website management and copywriting, Keli soon began taking on new clients, and her work adapted along with the ever-changing digital world. She developed expertise in email marketing development and strategy, continued to build new websites, was called upon to create massive amounts of wine-related content and, eventually, added social media to her repertoire.
Today, her beloved "black sheep" have become forces to be reckoned with, as both Direct to Consumer and digital marketing play critical roles in reaching, engaging and retaining consumers in every industry across every market. Keli's clients - large and small - are some of the most prestigious wine brands in the industry: Kendall-Jackson, Cardinale, Véritè, La Crema, Robert Craig, Lynmar, Kenwood and Gary Farrell Winery, to name just a few. Outside of the industry, she has worked with Oster, Crockpot, Sunbeam, Margaritaville and skybar.
She still laughs about the CEO's declaration (sometimes with the CEO, whom she stills runs into occasionally). The stunning transformation of digital marketing from those first fledgling websites to today's massive reach has been an exciting thing to behold, and Keli enjoys working with incredible brands in an amazing field on interesting projects.
Wine, Writing & World Series Wins
Like all good English majors, Keli is actively working on several writing projects. The latest, titled "Shift," she hopes to publish sometime next year. In her spare time, she is a devoted San Francisco Giants fan, plays competitive tennis and leisurely golf, is an avid reader and loves an excellent glass of wine. She lives in Santa Rosa with her husband and two teenage daughters, a rescued cat, and her beloved yellow lab Posey.