Why African entrepreneurs in the 21st century are better off sticking to tradition rather than going crazy over trends

Scotch’s Hankey Bannister is proof enough that tradition always carries the day over trends
  • In this era of changing trends fueled by millennials, it is easy for businesses and entrepreneurs to give in to ‘peer pressure’ and disregard their long-held traditions and long-term visions and strategies for the joys of instant gratification.
  • Some even take it a notch higher and burn the midnight oil researching on the next fad even before the current one dies.
  • Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa had a chat with Lukasz Dynowiak, the Global Brand Ambassador at International Beverage to understand scotch’s wisdom of sticking to tradition rather than going crazy over trends.

In the 21st century, businesses and entrepreneurs are always drummed upon to move with the times and incorporate the latest trends in their products and services. Some even take it a notch higher and burn the midnight oil researching on the next fad even before the current one dies.

It is no wonder then that more and more companies today are jumping on Twitter trends with all manner of hashtags and going all out to ensure nothing passes them by. They do all they can to appear cool and relevant or else risk being left behind and suffer a slow painful death.

Sometimes, however, trying to keep up with these trends is actually an exercise in futility.

In this era of changing trends fueled by millennials, it is easy for businesses and entrepreneurs to give in to ‘peer pressure’ and disregard their long-held traditions and long-term visions and strategies for the joys of instant gratification.

How can businesses and entrepreneurs remain true to their tradition in the face of trends?

During the launch of Hankey Bannister held at Villa Rossa Kempinski, Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa had a chat with Lukasz Dynowiak, the Global Brand Ambassador at International Beverage to understand scotch’s wisdom of sticking to tradition rather than going crazy over trends.

“The success of scotch whisky that we are enjoying today we actually owe that to the first generation of whisky makers, the first generation of whisky blenders and the first generation of whisky marketers for their patience, perseverance and to their very resilient nature of not always going with the fad,” Lukasz told Business Insider.

Hankey Bannister is a blended scotch whisky produced by Inver House Distillers and owned by International Beverage Holdings Ltd. It is named after its founders Beaumont Hankey and Hugh Bannister.

The distillery has been producing superior blended Scotch for over 250 years and is a true aristocrat amongst whiskies.

Since 1757, the scotch whisky has held firm in the face of temptation for sometimes as long as forty years before cracking open their casks made of Spanish sherry oak and unveil priceless products such as a 1970 Spanish Sherry Hogshead and a 1967 Spanish Sherry cask to all and sundry.

“What whisky teaches us as business people is foresight, is not going with the latest trends and actually it has worked for the scotch whisky incredibly well and every decade, you will hear about a new thing which is supposed to be a game changer but we have learned to hold firm”

"Every day there is a new fad, a new fashion, there is a new thing around the corner every time and you see these life cycles cycle very very quickly before they die but what scotch whisky is doing is actually building for the future and not just two- or five-years perspective like what most business people will be thinking about, we are talking indefinite future, that is building for future generations,” said Lukasz who holds a degree in Tourism Management from Edinburgh Napier University.

Lukasz is also the founder and editor of Edinburgh Whisky Blog which was for years the most googleable whisky-related blog out there.

Most entrepreneurs are guilty of sacrificing their long-term goals in favour of hitting short term goals by jumping into every other trend but this is dangerous since it is akin to running around like a headless chicken. However, while pursuing long-term visions it doesn’t mean one needs to be completely blind to changing market dynamics.

Businesses need to be fully aware of what is happening on the ground and then slowly shape their long-term vision to fit the picture.

“In the next five years another trend we are going to see is personalization, and it is not just the whisky industry or the spirits industry, we are seeing this across the consumer industries so people are increasingly looking for products personalized to their needs and which is unique just for them. Personalizing whisky bottles, having special whisky bottled delivered to you on special occasions and maybe even having the opportunity of blend your own for special occasions, these are the trends we are definitely going to see in the next five years,” said Lukasz

At the end of the day, what entrepreneurs can take from Hankey Bannister is that sometimes it pays to play the bigger game and make your own rules while at it.

“Scotch whisky would not have been where it is today if Scotch people followed every other fad and so what the business community, in general, can learn from scotch whisky and this will not apply to all but it may apply to some is that there is a future beyond a two year plan, beyond a five year plan and sometimes different companies within an industry need to come together and put away their differences in order to think ahead and see the bigger picture,” said Lukasz who enjoys his whisky neat.

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