Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Gospel According To Harry Drnec

This week’s Juggle Tapes interview sees me in conversation with Harry Drnec. Harry is a world-renowned marketing specialist. Born in Chicago, he served as a US Air Force pilot in Vietnam and started his marketing career as Brand Manager at Anheuser Busch and then Marketing Director of Gallo Wines. He bought Maison Caurette, a London drinks distributor where he made brands like Sol Beer, Becks and Snapple famous in the UK. As CEO of Red Bull UK, he built a company that was losing money into a market leader. He is now Chairman of a carbonated drinks company; he’s consulting for Nissan in India; he’s on the board of a technology startup and has a farm in Suffolk that raises rare breed cattle and pigs.

In the interview Harry talks about the opportunities and challenges of going from a business life focused on just one thing to having a portfolio of business interests.

- Harry on Change: he talks about his reluctance to work in the same environment and why he left secure jobs to take a risk and try new things.

- Harry on Sol Beer: how he managed to create such a success with Sol Beer and how ‘the consumer is the only game in town’.

- Harry on Branding: the different between brands and products and that ‘a product must have differentiating qualities’ to be a success.

- Harry on PR, ‘if you have to talk about yourself in marketing a) you’re boring and b) your yesterday’s news’

- Harry on Red Bull; a product that when it started out, ‘no-one knew that they needed it’.

- Harry on Juggling: ‘the most difficult thing is balancing time and make sure you are doing justice to each' of his business interests

- Harry on Life Beyond Drinks: ‘just because I have been in drinks all my life doesn’t mean I can’t have a good business feeling for cars’

Harry on Recessions: ‘recessions are when big ideas are best’

- Harry on Success: ‘you can’t get ahead by following what other people have done’


Richard Harrison said...

Harry's got some great insights on how to juggle and why it's (sometimes) OK to drop one of the balls! Also interesting how he's left different jobs while still at the top, spurred on by the challenge of the new. All good inspiring stuff.

Ian Sanders said...

Thanks for the feedback Rich; have a good Friday....

dave wheeler said...

‘you can’t get ahead by following what other people have done’...I have always been amazed by the folks who think you can solve all your business problems simply by "copying" what the competition does. This is one of the lessons I wish every public school administrator in the U.S. would learn as it is a major barrier to improving school performance and achievement. It was most terrific to see someone acknowledge that fact.

Outstanding interview Ian...thanks!