Date of Graduation

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Finance

Advisor

Ellstrand, Alan

Second Reader

Cummings, Michael

Abstract

Ilusión+, otherwise known as Ilusión Más, is a socially-responsible wine enterprise founded by Pau and Gina Torres, a couple from Tarragona, Spain. In 2013, Pau was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a motor neuron disease which causes muscles to weaken over time and eventually atrophy (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). In Spanish, Ilusión signifies hope and wishful thinking, serving as an optimistic name which embodies the resilient attitude of its owners (Word Reference). Ilusión+ selects wine from Spanish vineyards and distributes them in restaurants throughout the country under their brand and story. The company donates a portion of the proceeds to partner foundations dedicated to research related to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Fundación Esclerosis Múltiple (FEM) and Fundación Luzon. Based in Tarragona, a city in the autonomous region of Catalonia, Ilusion+ has additional distribution channels in Barcelona, Girona, and Leida. They also have an online presence where their wine and cava, a Spanish sparkling wine, are available for domestic purchase. The company has successfully sold over 9,000 bottles of wine (Ilusión+).

The owners have current dreams of expanding to the U.S marketplace, and implementing a similar business model, utilizing Napa Valley vineyards as a means of sourcing. Due to the smaller, family oriented nature of the company, as well as the unpredictability of illness, the best way to finance expansion is increasing profits. This is accomplished by examining ways to reduce costs and expand revenue generation, while monitoring external factors (ex: economic, political/legal, industry, etc.) and the influence they may wield on company operations. Spain continues to make slow strides in its recovery from the European and global financial crises, and interest rates have maintained their long-term trend of decline, increasing the affordability of borrowing funds if the company is able to take on the burden of debt. A decreasing, yet high youth unemployment rate keeps to cost of labor low in the event that Ilusión+ needs more employees to divvy out operational tasks. Although Catalonia faced a large independence crisis, the intervention of the Spanish government and the subsequent arrest of movement leaders, dilute the threat of economic repercussions. The largest domestic strategy recommendation is to enter new markets and to increase resources devoted to advertising—more specifically to millennial-targeted, influencer marketing campaigns. Geographically, the company has not expanded far beyond the autonomous region of Catalonia, leaving one of the largest cities in the EU—Madrid—untapped. Ilusión+ should devote operational efforts to develop new business relationships with retail establishments in the capital city.

In the United States, Ilusión+’s target market of consumers is made up of millennials. Their preferences for cause-related goods, or goods with a philanthropic purpose, as well as alcoholic beverages with unique origins position Ilusión+ for greater success if it imports Spanish wine and cava instead of selling wine sourced from California. The special connection of the owner to both the curation and cause of the product sets the company apart in the eyes of consumers. It is recommended that Ilusión+ adopts the sale of additional nonperishable items, such as branded T-shirts and stemless wine glasses to extend their product mix and marketability. To reach its millennial market, it is recommended Ilusión+ distributes its product through upscale wine bars with chain locations around the country. Additionally it can aid promotional efforts by launching social media marketing campaigns which use branded hashtags and by encouraging branded events with the exclusive use of its products. In the U.S it will rebrand its product mix under the name, ‘Half Full’ to represent the owners’ attitudes of optimism in times of adversity and the visualization of a filled wine glass. This is primarily an effort to avoid confusion between the connotations of its name in English, as a philanthropic company named ‘Ilusion’ is at best an oxymoron.

It is important to note that Ilusión+ is a private company with limited financial reports available to utilize for analysis and future projections. Due to this constraint, it is not feasible to make specific predictions regarding the required capital for an international expansion. It is recommended that Ilusión+ works with an established importer within the United States in order to avoid extra legal fees and business expenses which can eat away at the company’s margins. Furthermore, capital projections are largely dependent upon fees which vary greatly among importation companies, retail distribution outlets, transportation methods, and the quantity of goods imported internationally.

In the following report, I will go in further in-depth to expand upon strategies aimed at increasing domestic profits, as well as propose a U.S rebranding, marketing, and distribution strategy that is suitable to the size and age of the company.

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