What sparked your desire to prolong your V.I.E experience in Ghana?
I arrived in Ghana in January of last year, 2017. Usually, the V.I.E contract is for 12 months, but I made the decision to extend my stay in Ghana for another year. In a country like Ghana, a year is very short to have a good understanding of the market. I’d never been to West Africa before, so there was a lot of new discoveries every day. I felt natural to extend—to build upon the first year and improve our market presence in my second year.
Why did you want to go abroad?
I’m French, but I’ve always been interested in living abroad, getting out of my comfort zone. Experiencing new cultures and facing new challenges are what drives me. For example, before Ghana, I lived in Canada, Spain and South Africa. Living in a different culture forces you to be humble and learn something new on a daily basis. Experiences like these broaden your horizons, and you become more tolerant.
I would say Ghana came to me. After finishing my “gap year” in Cape Town, South Africa, I went back to France to complete my master’s degree in wine and spirits in Bordeaux. My plan was to go back abroad after my studies, if the opportunity presented itself. I looked online and found the Rémy Cointreau V.I.E position in Ghana. The rest is history.
Had you heard of Rémy Cointreau before you applied?
As a French person, I knew the brands Rémy Martin and Cointreau well.
What attracted you to the role?
First of all, I’m passionate about craftsmanship and spirits. I could spend hours learning more about cognac history and how it evolved over the centuries. Rémy Cointreau’s signature values are “terroir, people and time.” This is my vision of how things should be done, with time and care. Working for a brand is much easier when the quality of its products is undisputed, and you are aligned with its values. I thought Rémy Cointreau was the perfect match for me, as I’m able to share my passion on a daily basis.
What do you do as a Brand Activator?
My long-term goal is to build an emotional connection between the brand and our clients. My job is to drive sales and raise awareness about the different brands available in my market. Another key part is managing relationships with key accounts and clients. Keeping them loyal is paramount to help the brands reach new heights.
I would say personality is the most important trait. Being a Brand Activator, you represent the brand 24/7, everywhere you go. Your actions and behavior need to match the brand image and values. Otherwise, having an interest in educating others is key, as you’ll spend most of your time being the brand’s advocate for future clients.
The most challenging aspect?
Maintaining Rémy Cointreau’s standards in Ghana. Everything has to be done the proper way, which can be challenging at times. Ghana is quite a new market for us, thus attention to detail is what we focus on to deliver top-notch activations. Ghanaians also don’t fully understand cognac and its complexity at times. It presents an excellent opportunity though, as they are very curious and eager to learn.
What is the lifestyle like?
I spend most of my time in the capital, Accra, traveling to smaller cities from time to time to explore new opportunities. I have the opportunity to work from home most of the time, only stepping out for meetings or activations. Being a Brand Activator means every day is different. If you don’t like being stuck in a routine, this is the perfect job for you. Your day can entail a staff training, sampling, organizing a tasting for high-net-worth individuals or hosting a media dinner, for example. It’s always great to escape the city on weekends and stay in lodges along the coast. This is definitely an advantage living in a tropical country.
Advice to others going abroad?
Make the leap! Don’t overthink about what can go wrong. Think of all the things that can go right and the new experiences you’ll have. Don’t be scared to experience new adventures. Be curious about everything. When you look back, you’ll remember this experience as life-changing—and will be looking for the next one.
Please drink responsibly.