It’s the Gelato, not the brand

Somewhat by mistake I found myself reading something that Kevin Roberts had written – he apparently has a blog in NZHerald. This post was about new Queen Street, Auckland, Gelato shop – Giapo, and here’s what he had to say about it:

The store has been created as a Lovemark and is dripping with Mystery, Sensuality, and Intimacy.

What? To me that’s missing the point. Businesses create products not brands.

I walked past Giapo the other day, and it it could fit well amongst the several gelato shops in Fremantle – bright, clean design and so forth. It’s good to see.

However the Fremantle shops hold a valuable lesson for Giapo, as even with stunningly new design and beautiful friendly staff at rival stores the crowds just keep going to the place with the best gelato – Armano.

The reason is simple – Armano’s focus and rhetoric is relentlessly on the quality of the product:

There’s no such thing as bad gelato. But have you ever had really, really great, oh my God, I’ve died and gone to Heaven, this is life-changing, exquisite, fresh gelato? That’s what we make. On the premises. Every day. Why settle for good when you could have amazing?

…Amano is Italian for hand-made. And it is the perfect name our gelato shops, where you can watch the resident chef create fresh gelato each day. Our business was started by two Italian cousins with a dream to bring the delights of fresh authentic gelato to Australia.

…We don’t make gelato the easy way. We make it the right way. We believe that true gelato must be made fresh in-store each day, with the finest ingredients, a bit of science, and a lot of love.

So lets turn to new store Giapo, and look at their rhetoric from their Facebook page:

How do we make a change?

Giapo is born on these words.
We are not an ice cream shop. We are not a gelato shop either. 

(emphasis mine). That is really not a good start. 

Giapo starts with a smile…and you?
Giapo is an experience to live, a moment you never forget. 
Our credo: give a child a smile. Our hope: provide this smile to everyone.How do we make a change?

Giapo is built to be different.
Innovation and design are all around the place. 
Design creates our universe.
Innovations make it interact with us.

How do we make a change?

Giapo is constantly in this change.
We have a conversation with our customers.
We want to listen more than to be listened.
That’s how Giapo will improve.

How do we make a change?

Giapo is trying to give its own answer.
Making an ordinary moment feel as if for the first time.
Making an usual act become a special experience.
Making everyday life sounds like a journey.

How do we make a change? 



Nothing about the quality of the gelato.

Here’s a less structured credo from owner Gianpaolo Grazioli’s blog. English isn’t his first language, but he can sure write:

“Giapo is in the business to give a child a smile. Our first responsibility consequently goes to the children, the youth, the mother and fathers, and all others who believe in our products. They are our lodestar. We believe in them more than in any marketer. In exceeding their expectations, everything we do must be of top quality. We must listen to our customers carefully and all the time. Giapo is a company based on courage and innovation. Giapo’s people do not fear of innovation and change because they are continously looking to develop the know how to manage its next attendant risk. Giapo’s strategy is based on perpetual innovation shaping its future day by day and winning with the consumers while changing the game continuosly. Giapo’s innovation come from the consumers and it is for them. Innovation and change to enhance and deploy our core strenghts that’s how Giapo wants to inspire the market and lead the next revolution starting from now. Associates will autonomously look for new training and empowering experiences according to the new goals. The focus will always be on the value creators addressing or eliminating the value destroyers, not annually but everyday. Goals will be stretched and the bar is raised continously. Giapo must engage human emotions. Sharing a passion that matters to our consumers, helping them to be what they want to be. Giapo’s brand stands for trust, affinity and looks for a loyalty beyond reason an emotional connecting point that transcends the products. Giapo will be a company based on organizational clarity. Everybody within the firm will know what is important and what is not. Transparency with the associates and the consumers is a key factor. Whatever we say we must do. Giapo is a people company. Giapo aims to build a cohesive team with a high level of trust between its associates. The focus is on achieving the goals of the firm and not just the personal success of each member. Giapo proposes itself as a University of Ideas. Giapo will reinforce its communication clarity through human system. Its people are his most important resource. And being just humble, hunger and smart will not be enough to work with Giapo, the candidate must fit within the organization principles. Candidates have to fit the value, the culture and cohesiveness of the firm. We respect the dignity of our associates and value their merit. Associates must feel certainty in their jobs and must enjoy their working place. We expect that all our associates are driven by a passion for learning no matter what roles they work on and learning means desire to know more. We will support sustainable entrepreneurship and we will plan to promote it through a coordinate license agreements system. Giapo’s associates will never stop to repeat each other the giapo’s principles and value to make sure that everyone are on the same page. Giapo’s associates will keep in good order the properties they have the privilege to use have and will strive to reduce costs in order to maintain reasonable prices without compromising the quality. Giapo is a serious supporter of an environmentally friendly world, we must encourage civic improvements and better health and education. Financial reserves will be created to provide for adverse time. Giapo’s associates final responsibility goes to its shareholders, business must make good profit. These are our principles and we believe that following them will make our objective achievable and our business a successful one.”

Again – nothing on the quality of the gelato.

Giapos has the Facebook page, Twitter account, Youtube page (with random customer interactions) and a website still coming. None of these focus on the product quality, and only the website is really necessary.

Fremantle’s Armano has a tiny website – pretty much all of the text is above – and a chain of stores that everybody recommends to their friends once they have tried the product. It’s that simple.

Gianpaolo’s dream can be realised – but only if they focus first on the quality of the product, the business fundamentals (pricing, flavours, cost control) and finally on marketing. This over-worked marketing screed is diverting from the core business proposition, which is simple – great gelato right next to the movie theaters on Queen street.

I’l now bravely take it into my hands to try the Gelato, and will report back. Here’s Gianpaolo, who has come out from Italy to give us great gelato – and we should be thankful.
dream skool

<Update. I’ve now tried the gelato. Strangely enough there were no (well one) fruit flavours when I visited – it was all whites and browns. So I tried a Bacio and it was OK. Worth having, but no Armano. I’l pop back later to see whether fruit flavours appear. If not then I will really have my doubts.>

Published by Lance Wiggs


13 replies on “It’s the Gelato, not the brand”

  1. Hello Lance, as you may have guessed I am Gianpaolo the founder of
    Giapo. I have been reading your blog too and think it is very
    interesting. In general I agree with lots of the things you say on
    your blogs and share a love for internet and the new technologies,
    real hope to make this world a better one. I’d like to answer a few
    doubts you open on your post about Giapo as I feel that we have some
    responsibilities in not delivering the right message straight from the
    beginning. I agree with you, business creates products not brand. That’s what Kevin Roberts wants. And Giapo and the store in Queen Street are our vehicle to sell our products. The box. The container.
    Giapo is not a brand. We know we need time to get the
    respect we need from the consumers to be called a brand.
    We are working to create the basis to be one. We just started.
    We would like to be a brand and a Lovemark to talk in Kevin Roberts’ words but we are not.

    “Giapo is not a gelato shop. Giapo is not an ice cream shop either”, means that
    we aim to be a bit more than just the best and most natural ice cream in the world. We also offer the largest combination of ice cream ever attempted (480 billions combinations at every given point in time) and the biggest commercial cone have baked
    and dipped in chocolate and hazelnut, yes we do all this, but they are not our only strength.

    We like to be more, to offer more and to do more that’s the Giapo’s way.

    Everybody can do the best and most natural ice-cream in the world.
    Giapo is not just that. Giapo is an experiment and we hope it is also a pleasant experience for our followers.

    In example our live youtube channel and the Giapotv

    with more than 1200 videos in one month uploaded, our mystery flavor, the Giapo’s wall, our
    coloring competition, are done to help the Giapo people to be what they want to be and for most of us is to be child again is to smile, if only for 5 minutes, yes smiling is what Giapo is about. Best gelato we give it for granted. We are not marketers. We are ice creamier, the old fashioned ones( my grand mum was a remarkable one) and we love to do cold desserts the way they are meant to be, with the Italian meringue and all the others little things a cold dessert semifreddo need to have to be called as such. We like to be remembered as innovative, creative, designers of cakes and ice creams
    never thought possible and only with the natural ingredients.

    We have just open, and we mainly cared about opening and making
    the best and most natural ice creams possible and very little about communicating it to our customers being more interested in what they said and wanted instead of telling them who we are and what we do. We like to listen.

    So we did: wasabi, avocado, rose and cardamom, saffron, cassata, green
    tea, chocolate and popcorn, peanuts most of these never seen before
    all loved by the people that have asked them a surprise for all the others.
    We do not compromise with the products we sell, our suppliers know us, and know that we only buy the best for our customers.

    We simply have not advertised it that we are natural, artisan, hand made, largest combination in the world, largest cone in the world type of company.

    We continuously look for people like you to see what is that
    we still miss, we want to be the best and we believe that best does not exist, we have to keep looking for it until the end, only then we will know if we were best or not.

    Lance, Giapo does not use chemicals or colorant, in example our
    pistachio gelato is of a brown color because that’s the color of the 100% pure pistachios we buy from Italy
    which is not green flouro, the banana becomes brownie after a few hours because of the oxidation and we do not stop that process with any chemicals that’s why is not yellowish, our chocolate is not done with cocoa powder and trans fat but it is real chocolate, and you can
    see the difference in the color and smoothness, we are using Whitaker chocolate block at 62%. Have you tried them?

    I would like to let you know that we buy our milk every day fresh from Fonterra, ( we do not use any magic powder and then mix it with water) like many do, we only use the best kiwi chocolate and we do not use any products that has trans fat in any of our ingredients. In example, in regards to
    our care and respect to the kids, we are not
    selling Oreo or Hershey kisses in our “mixings” at the moment because they contain some type of fat we do not agree with. I understand you also have read my
    blog, in one of my precedent posts I personally declare war to the Hydrogenated fat and I ban from our
    shop for ever. We do not use margarine, our ice-cream melts on the sun……
    it does not stand still like one of those you can buy at any corner now days. And because you are interested if we have the opportunity to read the Credo together, I can explain you with several more examples what I mean that our first responsibility goes the children, and our products have to be of top quality. In reading the Credo which is a document written for everybody who really want to know who we are, where we come from and what we like to do, we mainly wanted to express the principles and value of our company to the world.

    You can call it our constitution, something never to be betrayed. Each company should have one. It is public because it part of our transparency program and every associate/employee is witness and judge of it. We are transparent, we use only natural product, the best our pristine New
    Zealand can give us. Marketing wise, I am quite
    naive and I thought I did not need to tell to everybody that
    giapo’s products are as genuine as a cup of milk can be, thanks to you I am changing the design on the lcd screens in the shop this morning and making them more relevant to what customers like you are interested to hear about.

    Our policy about fruits is simple. We do several fruit flavors fresh
    everyday, only a few sorbet because they are slow to sell. We make what is fresh and
    seasonal. We had lots of request of strawberries this week,
    unfortunately they are out of season now, and although we can buy them
    frozen, or in powder we prefer to the season, so back to lemon, rock
    melon, passion fruit. Another marketing error is that we are not communicating that we only use fresh seasonal fruit for our sorbet. We do not buy powders instead
    of fresh fruits and magic mix them with water to have fruits on
    display everyday. Again we only use fresh fruits, I peel, I cut, I
    squeeze the fruits everyday fresh and to be honest most of our
    customers can feel the difference in the taste and appreciate the 2 or
    3 fresh sorbets that we have every day. We look for excellence. We do not know what others do, we know we use only fresh seasonal fruit delivered, cut and squeezed
    fresh everyday.

    We do not do only sorbet though we also buy from our trusted
    fruit vendor Avocado, passion fruit, banana, mangoes and many others, and with those we mainly do creamy flavors, which are the most popular. Our Fruit vendor is Fresh Connection, we trust them in delivering only the freshest produce, although some of the lemons we are having at the moment are from an orchard in Henderson of a friend of mine.

    We did not have budget for advertising and media spending, we spent all to make our products memorable and our place enjoyable.
    We did not have any money left for the website as well that’s why it is still undone.
    Yes we love to converse, I love to twitt, to facebook, to bebo, to youtube, to blog, and they are all relevant to the world we live in. I believe in conversing as a new platform to know each other better, a bit like
    what we are doing with your post.

    Thanks to this web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies you can have your blog and post about anything and I can found you and comment and reply and rate, and bookmark you and so on. This is more relevant than many web sites around. We are interested in our customers and what they want to tell us. We tried to be open to them before we launch our own website.

    Just a question how many times in your life have you been to the
    website of a little shop down the road? Or a bigger chain like
    Starbucks website? Honest? I have never been to my local ice-cream
    place website, neither to the Starbucks website.
    I care about where they are and what they do. I just do not find
    their website appealing to me although I drink Starbucks and I eat at many ice-cream places around the world.

    For your peace of mind, we are doing a website it is going to be an aggregator of all our interactions off and online, it is an experiment and we hope in that way we can have some interest and become relevant to the people who are
    interested in Giapo.

    I would like to close this comment with an invitation to come and stay with us in the store for a day and see how we do it in the kitchen and what product we use to give
    justice to the people who read your blog.

    I would like you to see and feel the atmosphere and the joy that we have when we make something that does not harm anyone and when you give it to a child looking for her smile you know you are not poisoning her with some bad, chemicals, trans fat but only milk, fresh fruit, sugar and the best New Zealand and the world produce.




  2. Thanks for the reply Gianpaolo – and it is really good to hear you say what you say about the quality of the ingredients and product. I still feel that this product focus really needs to be reflected first and foremost in your marketing material – Amano’s website, for example, reflects the store, the attitude of the servers and the quality of the product.

    “Let’s face it. There’s no such thing as bad gelato. But have you ever had really, really great, oh my God, I’ve died and gone to Heaven, this is life-changing, exquisite, fresh gelato? That’s what we make. On the premises. Every day. Why settle for good when you could have amazing?”

    I’m over here in Fremantle for a week, and the flavours at Amano just burst out of the icecream – I had 3 (very small) cones on one day, just to make sure. I’ve had 3 Giapo cones, and the gelato was good but not great.

    But it’s not fair to compare – Amano here been open for years, and you are just starting. But with relentless focus on the product quality, and I am sure takes time, you will win in the end.

    I’m not sure I can spare a day, but I will try to stop by so that you can show me around a bit.


  3. Unfortunately, the Giapo gelato is not very good. The texture is perfect, but there is no taste. I had the Amarena and it literally tasted of …nothing. Not sweet enough, no cherries, nothing but fior di latte gelato. And at $7 for a cone, probably the most expensive in Auckland. I won’t be back.


  4. Hi. I just read what you all said about the Giapo. I worked in the project and I love it. Bliss can say that it´s expensive, but people buy it. And if they buy it, it´s because it´s good. For sure I tasted many “ice creams” and “gelatos” while I was in New Zealand, so I can say that the Giapo’s one is the best that I try. I don’t that the gelato doesnt have taste. For me and my friends, it´s very good.
    The shop in Auckland, it’s just the begginig. Probably there is some things that need to be fixed and improved, but I can bet that in a few time, Giapo will become a real love mark, that childrens will smile when they see all the stuffs that Giapo provide to them.


  5. I have eaten a lot of Italian gelato locally and overseas, I find the Giapo gelato lacks in flavour in comparison to others. Their gelato does not reflect the true product sold in Italy, more a price driven alternative that would be cheaper to produce but they still charge a top dollar “not good value for money” They should focus on improving the intensity of their flavours to suit the local taste. Ciao


  6. Hello Bliss. thank you very much for your message. I am very sorry to hear that your experience @Giapo was not what you expected. We are known among our customers to have a great Amarena and yes I can say that you have been unfortunate to have had just the white part ( fior di latte) of what is said to be our best flavour.
    Indeed Amarena has been voted July best flavour of the month hit parade.

    Amarena was first in July with seventeen people caring to vote for it. Being Italian my self and coming from where the Amarene come from, I would love to share with you our process of how we make the gelato Amarena, I am sure you will find it interesting.

    Now regarding your comment on price.

    When we thought giapo in the project phase and now when we work at giapo we do not look at how much the consumers spend for something that exist.

    As mentioned before in my reply to Lance, which I sincerely recommend you to read, we are not good in marketing and forgot to pay attention about the price.
    The only thing we (were) are concerned about is what do we need to make this gelato the best gelato in the world?

    Now that you know a bit more about giapo I have an “honest” question for you:

    How much would you be happy to spend to have a cone of genuine gelato that is only done with best freshiest fruits for the sorbet ( never powders or frozen,) in example: the lemon is not just squeezed everyday but it is also coming from certified organic orchard, and in your respect best amarene, best milk of course, best chocolate, a huge ban on trans fat products and preservatives that apparently no other companies on the market is doing ( because these products are just cheaper to buy and taste almost the same) ?

    If your answer is less than seven dollars, well we got it as we have always had a small 5 dollars waffle cone aka Stella.

    Warren Buffet is known to say that “price is what you pay value is what you get”.

    Watch out.

    Ciao gianpaolo.


  7. Hi Lucy, thank you for your feedback.

    Reading your comment, I understand you have not read the thread above, especially where Lance post the Giapo credo, and where I reply to Lance with a few more details of what giapo stands for.
    In my reply to you below, while I will ask you a few questions, I will be repeating a few of those details here especially for you.

    To answer your comment I would like to start from what I share with you. Yes our gelato is something different from what you can find in the majority of the gelato shop in Italy and I am Italian and I learnt the art to make artisan gelato in Italy where I had the opportunity to have workded in different gelato shops and in different cities. In Italy, many of the small gelato shops can not keep up with the everising competiion coupled with the recessions, the continuos price rising of the milk and the other raw materials. Unfortunately it is common practice to start looking for shortcuts to make their profit margin look better. Unfortunately that’s the issue that many businesses are suffering, they do not go for the long run and fall in the mediocrity. To avoid that, Giapo and its founder, have a 40 years long Business plan in place, until I will be 70, there will not be shortcut. We really want to change how the world have and think gelato. Having said that I am not sure where you got: ” more a price driven alternative…” you write like we are using something that is not top quality? or we are doing something that it is not in the customer interest. MMM are you sure of what you are talking about?

    If there is one thing we are paranoic about is our production process and the selection of the raw materials that we use.

    Giapo does not have a price driven approach otherwise we would not offer to our customers the pistacchios from Bronte in Sicily, or the hazelnut from the langhe in Piedmont, a.k.a tonde gentile, if you know a ” more price driven alternative,” you know what I am talking about when I mean Bronte Pistoachios and Hazelnut Tonda gentile. The best of the best.

    My honest questions to you are: Why and how giapo is using a price driven alternative for you?

    Our dream is pretty straigh forward.
    We want to offer the best gelato in the world for quality and taste. We want to change the way the world think and have gelato.

    As I offered to Lance Wiggs, who now is a converted giapo’s fan, and who is generously offering this space for our conversation and to Bliss, I would like to invite you to spend some of your precious time with us in the kitchen. There, as it has happened before, You will not just fall in love with the products that we make, you will love the process and the passion that each giapo member has.

    take care
    founder of giapo
    The genuine gelato company soon with the spinning wheel.


  8. Hello everybody, I have just found out that I was replying to anonymous comments left by someone using fake email addresses: Bliss and Lucy do not actually exist or at least they do not have the honesty of identifying themselves.

    Lance who manages and owns this site dropped me a note to explain that the people who commented above have left fake emails. This is a disappointment to me. I accept if people have negative feedback and I always want to try to understand what the problem is or was and how we can fix it / improve ourselves. In here, unfortunately it is a one way street. Maybe Lucy and Bliss have a conflicting interest with giapo or some hidden agenda and that’s why they prefer to hide behind the anonymousness. A little sad. ciao gianpaolo


    1. I think that’s a bit unfair Gianpaolo – anonymous commenting is a right we all have, and one that I have used myself on occasion. I defend their right to do so, and I defend your right to reply. The only thing I will not defend is libel and comments that are clearly spam.

      Lucy and Bliss may be genuine or not – but they did take the time to make a comment, and so they aregenuine comments. Many people will not comment in any other way – they may be well know, shy or just don’t want their name associated with negative comments. That’s just how the internet works. Their feelings may reflect those of many others or not – and readers cna make up their own minds.

      I suggest readers do so in the most obvious way possible – by trying some of your gelato.

      oh – and Giapo was packed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights last week. It’s the middle of winter, so clearly Gianpaolo is doing a lot right. L


  9. I was delighted to find out this shop sells additive free gelato. The flavours are amazing. Marketing through u tube, facebook, twitter and digital signage is the forefront of marketing. This shop is fun!


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