Get to know: Cole Gerdes

National Director of Brand Development – Peroni Nastro Azzurro



  1. Tell us about your role at TEAM  

    I’m the National Director of Brand Development for Peroni. I oversee a team of 26 Brand Developers, working to sell and market Peroni in 21 markets in the US. I also work with our national chain partners, MillerCoors and T&B, to develop and implement our sales and activation strategies.

  2. What’s your life motto?

    Try anything once. Twice if you like it.

  3. As a new father to a 15-month-old baby, how do you manage balancing family, work, and traveling??

    Oh, if only it was balanced! I try to be off my phone and present when I’m around my son. Although, as some of the Peroni team will tell you, it doesn’t always work. FaceTime has been a real blessing when I’m on the road and I’m getting much better about not working on weekends…sometimes.

  4. Where do you see the future of Peroni’s experiential marketing going?

    The Brand Developer team is not only extremely unique in the beverage space, but they’re also the best in the business. Most teams are divided into sales or marketing roles and we cover both. The team’s approach to third party relationships and trade advocacy also allows us to grow past traditional experiential marketing. Within the MillerCoors universe, we have a great opportunity for additional markets, as well as taking on leadership roles for the other lifestyle brands in the portfolio.

  5. What’s the best advice you’d give to someone going into experiential marketing?

    Know and love the product you’re working for. It’s exceptionally hard to be excited and win over everyday consumers without passion for what you’re doing.

  6. In your opinion, what’s been the success behind growing Peroni activations nationwide.

    Targeting our core consumers and never forgetting about them. Now that we are a big bet nationally and have hefty sales goals, it’s more important than ever that we continue to focus on the buyers that got us here. They are the unpaid ambassadors that give us authenticity. Placements don’t sell products, experiences and connection do.

  7. What are some things you advocate your team to adhere to?

    Quality of execution, communication, knowledge, and training.

  8. What does a typical morning routine look like?

    Normal? Depends if an East Coaster schedules a 6:00am PST conference call! I try to answer any morning emails from the east coast around 7:00am. Then I get my son up, get him fed and off to daycare. Then I come back home, get on a few calls, work on admin, and go to the gym. Normally by 12:00pm or so I am either in the field for the day or working on a pitch for a national partner.

  9. How do you unwind on the weekends/spare time?

    I play on a baseball league on Sundays. If I’m in town, I really enjoy that. When I have a free weekend, going camping or just getting outdoors is all I want!

  10. You’ve lived in several places, what made you stay in L.A. (for now)?

    I like that LA can give you whatever you are looking for (good and bad). Every neighborhood is different and comes with its own unique feeling and culture. You can drive 5 minutes and be in another world. The tacos aren’t bad either.

  11. Tell us about your career path after college, and how you got to where you are now.?

    I graduated with a degree in Music Business in Nashville and worked at Universal Music Group and a smaller management company before the music industry completely changed in ’08. I went to NYC for a year to model after getting scouted, but found that industry wasn’t for me. I went back to Nashville for a year to figure out my next step before moving to LA. All the while, I was working in bars and restaurants and developed a fondness for the hospitality industry. In LA, I started doing brand work for Absolut, Grey Goose, Red Bull, Chivas, and more. I started to sift through the brands I really connected with vs the ones I was just working for a paycheck for, and I really focused on the ones I enjoyed. After interviewing for the Peroni Brand Developer role three times, I finally had the chance to join one of those brands!.

  12. If you started a music band, what would you call it and why? Also, what kind of music would you play?

    I would love to play in a blues/rock band. I’m pretty sure it would just be Matt Salinas (Peroni National Brand Developer Manager) and myself climbing on a stage at 2:00am, and we would announce ourselves as the “Peroni Boys.”

  13. Name your guilty pleasure…

    2:00am Manhattans.

















Cole grew up in Illinois, went to school in Nashville, and after a brief stint in NYC, made Los Angeles his home. He may spend most of his days behind a computer now, but if he visits your market, be prepared to stay out until 3:00am. Some dad’s catch up on sleep when they travel… others not so much. You can keep up with how he lives #thatteamlife on Instagram.