So often we think of a good story being limited to the screens we watch or the pages we read, but stories can be so much more. In fact, stories are central to what we do at Dragon Spirits Marketing, from the story of how we launched this company, to the stories we strive to share each day.
In 2012, Laura and Lamar, founders of Dragon Spirits Marketing, were poised to shift their careers and lives in a new direction. Laura was working in the fast-paced restaurant industry and Lamar was ready to seek opportunities outside of high-tech sales consulting. Coincidently or not, a tequila firm in Austin needed help in growing their market, and as a team, Lamar and Laura took the project head-on. They became experts in agave spirits, researching and learning the processes involved in multiple aspects of the industry. After a single year of partnership, the company experienced 500+% growth. This company was proud to claim the Number 1 selling premium tequila spot at Spec’s chains within the Greater Austin Metro by December of 2012. While selling tequila, Laura and Lamar were appalled by the current state of the consumer engagement industry and set out to revolutionize the specific niche of selling spirits.
Consumer engagement involves many facets, but Lamar and Laura tend to think of events (or activations) as involving samplings, tastings, festival/trade shows/convention staffing, and special events. Essentially, an activation is any contact reaching the consumer in a special way, telling the story of the brand, and convincing that consumer to give the product a try and/or buy! Truly successful activations invite a shopper to take the product(s) home to share with their friends and families!
As the two grew the then non-existent, high-end consumer engagement space, they were surprised by what they found. There were many “models” hired to help sample products, but these contractors were little more than placeholders to distribute and hand out samples of what was being marketed. Many of the associates they came in contact with knew very little about the product they were representing and rarely had knowledge of selling and customer engagement. Instead of telling a story about what was being sampled or giving insight to unique characteristics about the product, many who worked these activations relied on good looks and little else. Laura and Lamar decided they wanted to shift the way consumer engagement was being thought of and how it was being implemented in the field. The idea of Dragon Spirits Marketing was born and the next few years were spent perfecting the DSM culture and technology.
During this time, while Laura worked at Specs, gaining knowledge and stories about products, building networks, and tasting beverages and food from all over the world, Lamar threw himself into discovering more about the industry while piecing together jobs around the area. They knew the products. They knew how to sell. However, a component was missing. If they hired contractors, and had an expectation for educated contractors, what was the most efficient way to marketplace with the industry? Drawing on Lamar’s background in tech, a software solution was created, affectionately named the Dragon Engagement Network™. This software solution would provide Dragon Achievements™ for potential contractors, or Dragons, and could also be the system through which brands hire for their consumer engagement needs. Dragons use online software to educate themselves on sales techniques, products, and other aspects to improve their marketability. Similarly, clients can use data and information loaded into the network to hand-select the right person, or Dragon, for each job.
This is the business of branding, and both your brand and the Dragon brand are indispensable. Your representation should be reflective of your brand. The hiring process is involved, despite the nature of the work being part-time and contract. The contractors hired need to be trustworthy, must articulate themselves well, must be willing to expand their knowledge, and should be excited to evangelize and story-tell for the products they will represent. A portion of the Dragon Engagement Network includes the Dragon University™, where Dragons learn about storytelling, sales techniques, details for the entire industry, and product specific information. The online system developed by DSM creates a bridge between clients and the Dragons who want to represent their products. Those Dragons then create a bridge between the products and the customers in the field. If there is a story to be told, and every product has one, our Dragons can assist in the sale.
Fast forward to 2019 and the idea has developed into a model that is taking the industry by Dragon fired storm! There are currently 800+ Dragons poised to represent companies across Texas. There are plans to expand to other states including Louisiana, California, and Florida as the potential next stops in growing the Dragon Network. DSM isn’t just for “spirits” but can also apply the Dragon model to market products beyond alcohol, from stain removers to pickle salsa to sugar cane water.
Dragon Spirits Marketing is passionate about our employees, contractors, clients, and the industry we are transforming. To learn more about the ways we can partner with you, contact us today. Whether we are sharing your product story with the world or contracting with you on as a new Dragon, we look forward to speaking with you.