01 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

WAKE Drinks in China – my latest venture.

WAKE Energy Drinks CEO Alex Buckley contacted me as a result of seeing my LinkedIn postings on the British Motorsport Festival 2015 ; could I help to launch WAKE in China.

WAKE Drinks - Proudly British

WAKE Drinks - Proudly British

I confessed that I knew nothing of the soft drinks market in China back in April when Alex and I met in London at the Sofitel near Hyde Park. He was still keen to pursue the conversation. As it happened I was meeting old time China hand and friend, Andy Clayton of LNP just after my meeting with Alex. Andy told me that his firm was now assisting with the import of beverages; it would solve my key issue which was one of the import license. It seemed like fate, and as I liked Alex instantly, I agreed to take on the project. From a commercial point of view it made sense to add to my portfolio of business interests another British brand with an entirely different cashflow profile to the Morgan Cars and EASTWEST PR businesses. I could also use the British Motorsport Festival as a launchpad.

 

Alex Buckley, CEO of WAKE Drinks, Laying out the stall at the British Motorsport Festival 2016

Alex Buckley, CEO of WAKE Drinks, Laying out the stall at the British Motorsport Festival 2016

And so in a nutshell, is what we did. Solved the issue with Schizandra, an active ingredient which is grown in China but not allowed to be imported as an ingredient to China, and the labelling using the LNP team. I suggested to Alex that post Brexit we change the label from 'Original' to 'Proudly British' - actually based on a comment from Nicole Fan of EASTWEST who thought the flag design was not sufficiently obvious. It always pays to ask the questions and to listen to other people. The positioning is at a higher price to Red Bull, the incumbent with 80% of sales. I decided to sell at RMB25 instead of RMB8 for the local and RMB18 for the imported Red Bull. People have questioned the strategy, but I draw the parallels between Prosecco and Champagne, Samsung and Apple. There is always a market for premium products; and besides there is more margin for everyone to fund the marketing. So far we have carried the argument - now to take the consumers.

EASTWEST PR and Eggplant Digital, provided the marketing support and at the BMF WAKE sponsored the WAKE ASR Cup. Alex was on hand to provide the trophy.

BMF Prize Giving

BMF Prize Giving

Now we have the WAKE website, weibo and WeChat online and potential distribution agreements with both local and national outlets, online and offline. Next week (7-9.11.2016) I am off to the FHC Trade show in Shanghai with our British Intern, Jeremy Deas, to promote the British drink to the trade.

 

Wish us luck!

 

 

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