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Published:March 24th, 2008 06:22 EST
Follow the Example of The Patron

Follow the Example of The Patron

By Joel G. Block (Mentor/Columnist)

A few weeks ago, I was an invited guest of the Bar and Nightclub Owner`s Trade Show held in Las Vegas. Because of this powerful blog, I was invited as media to cover this event and it`s my pleasure to bring to you some of the insights that I garnered from it.

I sat through one of the keynote speeches that was provided by an executive of The Patron Spirits Company, which is the worldwide exclusive importer and marketer of the fast-growing Patron tequila brand. This executive addressed the audience in a fascinating manner with great parlance, great PowerPoint support, and great passion for his products. Clearly, it was his goal to reinforce how great Patron is for the bars and nightclubs to carry on their shelves, so that they can ultimately sell more liquor and drive more profit - for themselves and The Patron.

Even though the talk was a full hour long sales pitch, it was couched in a way that felt good to everyone who was in the audience. This executive communicated information about his company that was powerful, seductive, and informative. And perhaps most important of all, he conveyed one of the greatest entrepreneurial success stories that I`ve heard in many years.

This company was started by John Paul DeJoria, one of the partners who founded the John Paul Mitchell Systems company which makes Paul Mitchell hair products. And that company was sold for more than $100 million dollars many years ago. John Paul took part of his fortune, and like any entrepreneur would start a new business, he started this one. Sitting around a table with friends, drinking tequila, he identified that the tequila was really very weak and it also tasted bad. But he realized that it could be a great drink if the tequila was made with great care.

He then asked the ultimate question (and remember, it`s great questions that produce great answers) that would ultimately launch this brand: "Couldn`t we create a new and better kind of tequila that would be attractive to the consumer marketplace?"

Well, that question helped him to launch The Patron Spirits Company, and Patron tequila has become (in their definition) an ultra-premium, affordable, luxury beverage. They don`t just sell tequila; they sell the brand. They are all about premium: they don`t use the minimum standard of 51% agave and 49% grain. They sell a product that`s a full 100% blue agave. They`ve created a marketing formula that`s so powerful that the bars, the nightclubs and even Costco can sell their product with great pride.

They`ve priced their product at a point that`s far above the competition, but they deliver so much quality that they can defend the price that they charge. They`re the pioneers in the new ultra-premium category that didn`t exist when they started, but it exists now. They created the category.

Some of their actions should be reminders of the many issues that I discuss in this blog about how successful entrepreneurs get the job done. I hope that you have learned from me to do the following: Go where other people are not. Take a big leap. Ask hard questions. Do something that delivers better value to the consumer and charge a lot of money for it.

The Patron did such a great job of raising the bar that they succeeded in getting Clint Eastwood and other celebrity endorsers, including Southern Wine and Spirits (one of the nation`s premier distribution companies), to take their brand right straight to the moon.

They had continuing focus on quality and packaging. They indicated that their bottles are hand blown. Their labels are hand applied. Each bottle is filled by hand. And now with their great success in tequila, they`re moving into other markets and applying the same formula to rum and vodka.

Their strategy works. It`s a strategy of quality, it`s a strategy of promise, and it`s a strategy of charging a lot of money and delivering a lot of value. I urge all of my readers to follow a similar strategy. Their growth has been dramatic. They`ve moved from the United States into 75 other markets. Their product, their packaging, and their pricing are always the focus. You need to focus on the same things.

So, as you are working hard every day to build your company, or as you`re building your career, make sure that you focus on being the ultra-premium product or service in your category. Go where nobody`s gone before. Make sure that you don`t go to the low end. Don`t go to the place where you have to compete on price. The low end usually declines as it matures. The high end continues to increase. Don`t be a drink; be a brand. Follow the example of The Patron.

About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc.
Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker and advisor. To bring Joel into your company, please visit or