Is brand snobbery holding your drinks career back?

The global drinks market is crammed full of brands, from global icons to niche specialist brands. The beverage industry is arguably one of the most brand rich consumer industries on the planet.

Having recruited in this market for well over a decade I have often considered whether some candidates truly consider the real opportunities available in smaller brands/companies or instead largely base their next moves on where the biggest brands are? At Fluid Fusion we recruit for both global giant drinks companies and tiny start-up businesses and yet the perception of a new opportunity often hinges highly on whom the company or brand is not what the role is or what it offers in terms of skills development, exposure and career progression.

 

To be clear I fully understand this view when an individual has real credible insight into a certain business. Occasionally the candidate knows people who work/have worked there or perhaps have directly dealt with the business themselves. However, in many cases, this viewpoint is based squarely on the brands a particular company has in its portfolio.

 

Now of course personal choice is king in these decisions and there is nothing wrong with been very passionate about a particular brand, quite the opposite in fact. However, when it comes at the cost of potentially limiting career progression, it’s a factor that deserves deeper consideration. I have seen countless examples of where a candidate is interested in new roles but rejects smaller companies, less popular brands or ‘one brand businesses’ on the basis that they currently work for supposedly more respected brands or one of the ‘big’ businesses.

As crazy as it sounds I will sometimes speak to a candidate who readily likes the sound of a role only then to reject it on the basis of the brand alone.

I would always recommend that if an opportunity at a particular business is of interest on paper and there are no serious reasons why company X is not suitable, always consider the opportunity further. Why? Because I have seen time and time again, candidates propel their careers forward in the smaller, lesser well known branded companies far faster than their big brand counterparts. Being a bigger fish in a smaller pond does pay dividends e.g. more autonomy, more exposure to senior management and greater responsibility.

 

It can also be argued that the ‘less angelic’ companies offer more exposure, greater focus on their brand(s) and breadth, because they have fewer/smaller brands and typically not large structures.

 

Brand snobbery is perfectly understandable, we all do it in some form, but if it comes at the cost of progressing your career a line should perhaps be drawn. I see too many candidates stay in large businesses where it is markedly more difficult to move up the ladder while those who will see opportunities for what they are, zip past them.

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