Monday, April 20, 2015

Pachamanca Records' Strategy Statement: Under Construction

Back in my country–Peru—three friends and I founded a company last year with the aim of producing music with Peruvian sounds for the rest of the world. Our vision is ambitious, almost following all the concepts we have studied during this class: “American and Europeans will listen and recognize music with Peruvian roots.” We were inspired some years ago by the international and domestic Peruvian food’s boom. For example, Lima (Peru’s capital) is currently recognized as the culinary capital of Latin America. Peruvian food is diverse, delicious, infinite, and one of the few things that actually unite Peruvians. An ongoing process, our food is being positioned as one of the best in the world competing with Mexican, Italian, Japanese, among others. Moreover, we believe our music is as rich as our food, yet it has never been leveraged for its full potential. Not only abroad but inside the country as well. Does it sounds like an opportunity? We think it does.

We named our venture as Pachamanca Records. Pachamanca is a quechua word (the Inka’s language) that is composed by two words, “Pacha” that means earth, ground, or soil and “Manca” that means food. Hence, the entire word can be translated as food that comes from the ground. Not surprisingly, this is a traditional way of cooking in the Peruvian Andes by digging a hole, covering the hole’s borders with hot stones, place meat, potatoes, cheese, vegetables and many other things inside, and then cover the hole for some hours. After the food is cooked it is served for the community and the result is simply delicious. The inspiration of what we want to do comes from this idea of Pachamanca: music that comes from the roots of the Peruvian culture fused with other sounds beneath the earth and that is produced in a way that anyone in the world can enjoy it. Our slogan is also inspired by our food: “Tasty music!”     

Although we have an ambitious vision, we are still figuring out how to align the company for it. Obviously we are not looking to go “international” at this stage, which is our ultimate goal. We don’t have a (first) product yet, and that makes this stage more fun as it is almost all about doing research and listen to many bands, musicians, composer and so on from the very rich and vast genres found nationwide. Up to this point we know that in order to capture the international market we need a powerful product (a band that mixes Peruvian sounds in a unique and novel way). Yet, we first need to “capture” our domestic market by doing things that the local industry is not doing. In fact the music industry in Peru is unarticulated, with no serious vision, and focusing in specific niches. Hence, we will build our brand in the country, learn from this experience, build capacities, and then go for the international market (mainly USA and Europe). Thus, we need to test different options, a sort of trial and error that implies a number of things too large to be included in this post.

However, we feel that we are doing things blindly and perhaps many broad things. In other words, we need a clear strategy statement that will align our efforts. Hence, I found the article “Can You Say What Your Strategy Is?” very useful in a practical way. It is not the scope of this post to define a strategy statement for Pachamanca Records, as this is a process that needs to be done with my partners. Yet, I can identify the concepts the article and how would they apply to our venture. So, we need to define the triad of: objective, scope and advantages.

Therefore, at this point our objective should be to find the precise mix of sounds and styles in “x” years that will allow us to develop a unique product with the potential of succeed internationally. Our scope is easy as we will be concentrated in Peru. As per the advantage, at this point Pachamanca Records is distinctive to other brands as it brings to the table a combination of unique skills from its partners. We combine 4 different personalities and capacities: a lawyer, a publicist, a filmmaker and music manager, and me: an economist and graduate student of a master in Public Policy & Management. What we have in common is that we have known each other since we were little kids as we went to the same school from kindergarten to high school, and mostly because we are all melomaniacs and play music. The 4 of us are crazy about music and we all want to show Peruvian music to the world. 

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