Hugin had agents and subsidiaries in around eighty countries and it was important that we understood different national requirements before committing to our ECR and PoS strategies.
We invited all eighty to join us in Barcelona where we would outline our marketing thinking and receive their feedback. We split them into syndicates to work through different aspects to come to some consensus as to the overall design requirements.
These agents were characters! The Brazilian was a big guy who liked his cigars. He had shipped a huge car with cow horns fixed to the front to Barcelona – and the meeting was just for three days! His suits were striking too. They all had 3cm long hand stitching for decoration. He was named Bandini but instantly became referred to as ‘Banditi’.
The Aussie did something that still gives me the best appreciation of the size of Australia. He put up an overhead transparency map of his country, then superimposed it with another showing a map of Europe. He aligned Perth with Barcelona and dramatically illustrated that Sydney was way beyond Moscow.
Guispert, the Spanish agent, had a sales manager who looked like a street fighter and ruled his team with an iron fist. One evening we assembled for dinner off Las Ramblas and I saw him go to talk with each of his local sales guys. They each got up and left. When I asked, he explained that they had to go out to sell or get a cash register demo before they could join us for dinner. That certainly focused their attention.
But he had a redeeming characteristic. When we allocated breakout rooms at our hotel for syndicate sessions, the Spanish sales manager had grabbed the pool area on the roof for our group so we could sunbathe and bathe while contemplating our tasks. We would open our instructions, he would scan them cursorily and say ‘Yes. No. Don’t care’, then leave us to discuss our thinking and take our conclusions back to the plenary session.
|ASIDE: The Guispert family was very rich, they represented a large number of major-brand technical |
products. For our evening entertainment they flew in Spain’s leading flamenco troupe. On the last day we were invited to their home for dinner. There were around seventyof us transported from Barcelona in a
fleet of limos.
Seeing a huge villa on the skyline I asked if that was theirs and was told it was the barbecue room! The
huge estate housed villas for all their family members and their senior staff.
At the actual hacienda we were all seated comfortably in the dining room (70+ people!) and we dined on
Guispert lamb washed down with Guispert wine.
We did glean lots of useful data and I became involved with Stockholm in setting our plans accordingly.