MIEL GIBSON: Sweet Business Opportunity in Chile

Americas Doing business
José Canessa, Managing Partner TGS C&C Canessa – January 2021

TGS Network members in South America have again proved themselves to be agile and innovative. The world has undergone a tremendous transformation in the way things are done in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, all the business and social paradigms have changed radically in all our countries.

The use of technology has allowed us to continue working in a different way and nothing will be the same anymore. There is a before and an after March 2020.

There is no need to comment on the changes the use of cutting-edge technology has already brought about and will bring about in the relations between all human beings. No need to comment on the changes this will mean for our companies and for the world.

Nor need we speak of the changes that large corporations and businesses have had to face, because for them, everything is easier given the access they have to financial and economic resources that remain available despite the pandemic.

97% of firms in Chile are SMEs

In Chile 97% of firms are SMEs, whether they are corporations, limited liability companies or individual limited liability companies. This is out of a total of approximately 530,000 companies.

This 97% of companies create employment for 49% of the total labor force in Chile but only generate 20% of the country’s GDP. On the other hand, only 2% of those companies are foreign-owned or have foreign companies participating in their capital.

More than five months after the Coronavirus pandemic arrived in Chile, one of the most affected sectors was (and is) small and medium enterprises: SMEs. In addition to a health crisis, SMEs are facing a severe economic crisis that prevents them from functioning normally.

Fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while

The current economic context forces entrepreneurs to adapt quickly and look for alternatives in all aspects of their operations. This includes innovative access to financing as well as e-commerce as a means to reach a greater number of clients.

Many entrepreneurs have been able to turn the pandemic into an opportunity to develop their business, which, thanks to positive results, they plan to maintain over time. The MIEL GIBSON story is perhaps one of the most emblematic, media buzzy and anecdotal case-studies of Chilean business resilience.

Brave? Yes.

Yohana Agurto, a teacher in Chile, faced with the suspension of classes and the consequent reduction of her income to zero, decided to start a business selling honey. She set up her honey firm in two months,  generating sales of more than 10 kilos of honey per week. Where did she sell? She sold her honey on the Internet through social networks.

After two months in business she had an entrepreneurial brainwave and decided to change the branding of her product to MIEL* GIBSON and to use a logo that resembled the face of the famous ‘Braveheart’ actor, Mel Gibson. *’Miel’ is the word for honey in Spanish.

Miel Gibson’s contested marketing image

Braveheart? No.

Enter a counterclaim and the threat of a lawsuit from the actor’s lawyers if she didn’t remove the name from her product and the image of the actor within 48 hours. The threat of legal action, however, caused quite a stir on social networks and the case was even reported in The New York Times, by the BBC and many other international news outlets.

Agurto’s 15K social media followers petitioned Mel Gibson to drop the lawsuit and eventually, Mr. Gibson’s lawyers retracted their case on the provision that Miel Gibson would no longer use Mel’s Braveheart image as their logo.

‘Miel Gibson’ is now an official and growing honey brand in Chile, born from bravery. With the help of other entrepreneurs and a marketing agency the company began monitoring social networks and with the help of artificial intelligence software began to develop their business networks.

Your honey is free. Have the courage to follow it.

Today, in alliance with honey producers from different areas of Chile (and a new logo), Miel Gibson is planning to open stores in shopping centres across the country, selling the different types of honey whose variety depends on the area it is produced. After an increase of more than 400% in sales volume, Yohana Agurto  has had to hire personnel for packaging and dispatch.

Ms Agurto has gone from unemployed teacher to one of the 97 companies creating employment for 49% of the Chilean workforce but this kind of reinvention does not come naturally to all of us who tend to resist change. Do you remember the last time you introduced changes in your firm? How did your team react?

A sudden need to change is usually provoked by external factors and lived as a crisis. We usually do not change unless we are forced to but change can often be a source of positive and profitable innovation.

TGS C&C Canessa

As part of the TGS network, TGS C&C Canessa in Chile appreciates the need to be agile, to react to and even to provoke change to ensure the sustainability of SMEs. TGS C&C Canessa is constantly working to make sure they can provide the most adequate response to their SME client problems, both in terms of compliance, legal issues and business strategy advice.

William Wallace was fighting for freedom, TGS C&C Canessa and the TGS network fight to achieve sustainable development for their SME clients both in Chile and around the world.

TGS stands for “Think Global Sustainability “

José CANESSA – Managing Partner

Think Global Sustainability

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