You clicked on this because you have some intrigue regarding The Really Grand Brand Company (RGBC). The title provides a clue. I specifically chose WHO instead of WHAT. We have Really Great brands in our business, the WHAT, but our success is built on the WHO, The Really Great people.
What you see in the picture is what makes RGBC a phenomenal business, the WHO, the 110 Really Great people behind South Africa’s best and largest Ultra-Premium drinks business.
Having worked in multiple industries and countries I wanted to shed some light on the people and culture that has enabled RGBC’s success. As a current employee, I will try to be as objective as possible.
The best way to start is as an outsider looking at RGBC as a potential employer.
Need a quick company culture litmus test? Start by asking “What is the staff turnover?”. Diving deeper with “What is the staff turnover within my department/level?”. A company that has the right people and culture will have a low staff turnover.
Asking the more typical “What is your company culture?” will always get the fluffy HR answer along the lines of “We have a great culture of inclusion and balance”. This never gets down to the quantifiable evidence of a healthy culture; the staff turnover ratio.
How does RGBC fair in this litmus test? Not just well but exceptional. Here is some evidence behind this: Two of our founders are still at the business entering their third decades in leading us, our Managing Director was a rep when the company was founded. Amongst our three Key Account Managers, we have 34 years of experience within the RGBC business. On a personal note, I left the company in 2014 and re-joined after 3 years. Several other friends like me departed and re-joined. You ask why? Simple, we have a healthy culture but most importantly we retain really great PEOPLE.
These are the fundamental concepts within the business that enable great people to be Really Great:
A Ground Up and Top-Down approach
RGBC people understand the business from the ground up, resulting in the ability to simplify the complex. Many people have started at the bottom and worked their way into senior roles, allowing a decision-making model that includes a first-hand understanding of staff challenges and an astonishingly high level of operational knowledge.
Knowledge & Wisdom
People only become Really Great by making mistakes. The fluid nature of the industry means we have to make bold decisions based on the information at the time. RGBC understands that we learn the most from wrong decisions, this is the point where knowledge turns to wisdom. Based on this the business encourages bold decisions and the risks that result.
I recall taking a risky decision on a Gamification App in 2011 that meant a sizeable amount of money went down the drain, the business response was an affirmation of skills development and learning, they said ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’. Really Great companies have an openness to failure as they value wisdom over knowledge.
Data & Intuition
As the business has grown our systems have advanced in terms of data collection both internally and externally. As with any modern company, the data is cleaned, packaged, and used in forecasting as well as strategic decision making. However, I have always been a firm believer that data has extremely limited abilities to drive revolutionary changes in consumer behavior. What data said the iPod would revolutionize technology? This is where people, wisdom, and intuition are invaluable. RGBC has some Really Great people who trust their intuition, shifting entire categories, behaviour, and modes of consumption in the South African market over the past two decades.
Family & friends, not colleagues
This is subjective but you cannot be objective with friends. I don’t have office friends, at RGBC I have made life-long friendships. The founders still refer to us as a family business. What company would have an off day every single year on the company birthday? RGBC
What company would take the entire company to France for a celebration? RGBC
What has been the best overseas trip of my life? The RGBC trip to France with a hundred of my friends.
Now that you know WHO we are, you can find out more about WHAT brands we represent at: https://www.rgbc.co.za/brands/
Patrick Leslie | Portfolio Manager: Champagnes, Ardbeg, Belvedere and Glenmorangie