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Members Speak ‘From Passion to Profit’ presented by Trevor Reckerman


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  • Trevor Reckerman brings to life the Passion to Profit paradigm!

Many enterprises start with a dream borne out of passion. It then grows into an avalanche that takes the iota of an idea and propels it into an enterprise. Often, even in monolithic organisations, not all questions are answered in advance nor is a framework in place, but it is incumbent in any venture to institute certain fundamental gateways that guide and give credence to the journey.

This pungent message was the gist of the talk articulated by Trevor Reckerman who can be best described as a marketing artisan, in a scintillating discourse at the TMC Members Speak last Thursday, 15 August at Galadari Hotel in Colombo.

Drawing on the experience of over 40 years on the stump in diverse businesses in Sri Lanka and overseas, Trevor shared an anecdotal journey spiced with amazing examples of the grit and determination that transforms an intrinsic notion of passion into a pulsating quest for worthwhile enterprise. He argues that without a profitable outcome, passion itself is lost in the ether and forever forgotten in the labyrinth of enterprise. When there is no profit in a commercial sense, there must be purpose and value he explains, reiterating the thought that passion in itself dissipates with time and does not add value to human enterprise! 

He expounds that profit is not a sinful motive but the culmination of a lifelong purpose. Profit or value is that degree of passion one must encompass in a venture. It cannot be separated, for without a worthwhile outcome, passion cannot be fulfilling nor its value ultimately realised!

The consummate presentation covered the sequential process; Idea & Concept, Strategic Intent, Brand Positioning, Budget & Accountability, Competition Value, Territory & Markets, Consumer Perceptions, Execution Excellence and Salient Timing; out of the box but based on real life perspectives of commercial behaviour! Citing F1 dominance by teams such as Mercedes, Trevor expressed the view that clinical preparation more than luck, was what produces the result. 

 

  • He went on to dwell on the brand positioning for Nestomalt in the early ’80s which transformed a boring therapeutic drink into a health beverage; the classic illness to wellness story that has made this popular product the flagship brand of Nestle Lanka. 
  • Talking about numbers, he opined that even without a track record a Budget outline was fundamental to a business venture. He illustrated how profitability for a brand like Mobil was realised against a monopolistic category leader by focusing on niche segments rather than a head-on clash at the volume end. The choice to assume a value leadership paid dividends.
  • Moving to a service industry such as leisure at Jetwing he admitted was a valuable learning experience. Jetwing he felt was the quintessential passion brand with a world-class consonance. He was of the view that the Passion to Profit paradigm was best realised when the decision to broad base the family business evolved and delivering shareholder value became a necessity!
  • Digressing for a moment, he was of the view that Sri Lanka Tourism would be better served if price discounting was shelved in favour of value addition as a destination and the notion that Tourism was the only way to beat the poverty trap, was a myth that needed to be rolled back! 
  • Competition was a reality. It helps your brand grow when cleverly orchestrated. He shared the example of the exit strategy mooted at Hayleys Consumer to abandon the Philips business which was bleeding profusely in the wake of Japanese competition. 
  • That the conglomerate lived to fight another day is best illustrated in the acquisition of Singer; a return to the electronics business and more!
  • A sound knowledge of the territory you operate in was critical to market success. An intuitive feel for the terrain and an intimate understanding of the culture and dynamics of the business at a given time helps avoid the minefields you encounter!
  • Managing the marketplace from an office was like crystal ball gazing. What you see is not what you get. So getting into action on the street was vital. 
  • Executional excellence was encapsulated in the compulsion of going the extra mile at points of sale or stages of performance. A few succinct examples illustrated that point of view!
  • Timing was of the essence! He shared the story of Candela – electronic learning devices which perhaps was an idea whose time had not come. Integrated Facility management (IFM) he felt was in a similar time-wrap. Port City will alter the mindset, he surmised!
  • Trevor summed up the presentation with references to SOE and PPP which he felt were gross failures due to poor governance structures and bureaucratic bungling. Destiny was in our hands, he said. Seize the moment was the plea he left behind!       

 


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