Saturday, November 04, 2017

Cranberrified in US - for True Elements

Traveling to the other side of the world is a rarity when you marry yourself into building an unknown dream, or what some people call, “startup”.
Till a few months back, getting noticed by research companies as a brand representing a category was a matter of pride (the one that makes you take a deep breath with a smile!). But when we were invited by the Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) of United States, to represent India for our leadership in cranberries in the country, it was a longer breath and a wider smile - a business trip to the United States to represent True Elements!
Wow, that was a first for us! Sreejith got this opportunity and like a true partner, he passed on the itinerary to me, pouring out his altruism to the core! Maybe he was worried he might end up doing a lot of shopping there!

Invited through Technopak, the trip entailed understanding cranberries. Much to my guilt of so much spending by the invitees, we had prepared a lot of ideas and plans around cranberries. Unfortunately, no one wanted to hear that! They just wanted us to get absorbed in the red deluge of the American native fruit!

First few days ensured the pinnacle of guilt trips by everyone along with me. It was mostly food and travel, followed by more food and travel (with intermittent attempts to sleep). One of my best take- aways was, apart from having an assertive approach to cranberries, a great mix of fellow Indians- each of whom had tonnes of experience and expertise I could learn from over the next few years.

Not to miss mentioning, we had a delegation from China also representing digital and offline platforms / potential touchpoints relevant to CMC. But with linguistic limitations, sign language and pleasant gestures were all we could manage with our neighbors back home.

With the trip ranging from few presentations, a farm visit to cranberry museum to factory visit of Ocean's spray, it did help us get a good perspective of what the fruit is all about; an experience of Minnesota and Wisconsin, traveling around a strong food and agricultural belt - a strong dairy and cooperative hub of the country - and the biggest producer of cranberries around the world!

My day travel looped back to the starting of the day in India – with phone calls and discussions ensuring that I could not distinguish between an American night and an Indian day. But I did realize that the world is really not such a big place as such – and distances are not uncoverable. It is just couple of flights away! :)

With a short trip, I had limited stories to share with my fellow colleagues and family. But in a country where Jet lag is a fashion statement, I did have some soggy eyes and a couple of duty-free chocolates as a validator of overseas travel!

Not sure how tangible can I be in terms of the RoI of this trip for CMC or for True Elements. But at the end of the day, while our sales of cranberries have immediately not skyrocketed, my examples while talking to my colleagues has more cranberries in it - my sales pitches to some of our clients have a qualified discussion on cranberries, and I do enjoy them much more than before now! Maybe that’s what they wanted all of this to be like.
Thank you CMC and thank you Technopak - for helping us build more memories. True Elements is surely on its way to get cranberrified! #uscranberries #CMC

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