|Chris Mason: guest editor comment|
|Written by Chris Mason|
|Thursday, 17 December 2009 14:53|
Here is a copy of Chris Mason's column appearing in December 22 issue of Harpers Wine & Spirit which he was invited to guest edit:
I am delighted to have been asked to be the first guest editor for Harpers Wines and Spirit, and would like to thank the real editor, Richard Siddle for his guidance and bravery in allowing me to indulge myself with this precious brand!
As our industry reaches the end of one of its most challenging years ever, I wanted to reflect on some of those challenges and look at how a number of individuals and companies have reacted and performed.
We have been constantly bombarded with talk of pub closures and declines in the on-trade. We have seen the debates on potential minimum pricing in Scotland, and the evolution of greater regulation; we have seen the further march forward in the power of the multiple grocers balanced against the demise of some of the specialists, including First Quench Retailing.
We have faced increased costs of raw materials, including fuel, however have seen price deflation and values in liquor have only increased due to increased excise duties. However, a glimmer of light? Many of the businesses, brands, and people within our industry have been performing very well. They have faced the negative factors and avoided the obvious tactics of reducing heads and costs, cutting brand investments and reducing of innovation and new product development.
We work in an industry where there are many talented people, strong and capable leaders who have succeeded historically in the good times. It's fair to say that many in our industry are highly skilled and have great understanding of their brands and categories. However, winning in adversity might be more about behaviour and leadership rather than skills and product abilities?
How do great leaders react in these times? What characteristics do they employ to ensure their brands, their people, their companies and their performances.
It was against this backdrop that I was delighted to be able to chair a forum of great leaders representing a cross section of operations.
The common thread was that all of their businesses are performing well in difficult times, and I am particularly grateful to them all for their contributions. As we lead into what will no doubt be another challenging year I hope their insight can stimulate all of our industry colleagues and leaders in 2010.
Guest editor, Chris Mason, managing director, First Drinks Brands