There’s a tendency to see luck as just something that happens to you. Sometimes businesses just seem to catch a break, moving in a particular direction just as the market mysteriously decides the exact same thing. Other times, they can appear to do everything right yet still fall flat, with little apparent explanation. But often there’s more to luck than meets the eye.
Steve Perez, the CEO of and founder of leading independent drinks retailer Global Brands is testament to that. The man behind VK, Hooch and Amigos beer has a track record of delivering successful products. His company’s range of ready-to-drink beverages currently export to 55 countries around the globe and stock in some of the nation’s leading retailers.
In April 2018 Global Brands launched its first range of ready-to-drink cocktails in a can. Within two days of hitting the shelves an unsolicited social media post containing the company’s All Shook Up Passion Fruit Martini (as it was named) went viral. It reached 17 million people within a week and got a lot of free coverage in the redtop press.
The martini sold out in two weeks, and within six months Global Brands had sold 1.2 million units. "Tesco said that it was the most successful launch in that category that they'd ever had" says Perez.
It might seem like a random stroke of good fortune, but it was no accident.
"My branding team knew that the most popular cocktail at the time was a Pornstar Martini and some of the younger female members of my team identified that lilac was an increasingly popular colour for nail varnish", says Perez.
"Due to alcohol regulations we couldn't call it a Pornstar Martini, but we combined the two and created a passion fruit martini in a lilac can. A lot of it is about planning, but a lot of it is about luck as well. You've got to get that influencer to pick it up and say they love it."
To an extent, good fortune is a numbers game. If you prepare properly and give yourself enough opportunities, eventually one will pay off. It’s a simple reminder that those who know their market inside out, relentlessly innovate according to trends and deliver great products ultimately create their own luck.
For more about drinks themed product launches, see this piece by former Mothercare CEO Simon Calver. Alternatively, for lessons in how to launch a successful international product, click this article. Finally, if you want to read about more lucky leaders (and delve into Management Today heritage), read this archive piece from 2008.
Image credits: Matthew Atherden/Gettyimages