As the founder of DeLeón Tequila, Brent Hocking is familiar with building a luxury liquor brand, and has often been able to count on his famous clients to build word of mouth. For his most recent venture, Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey, Hocking teamed with rapper/actor, Drake. The brand debuted in hot spots in New York and Los Angeles in May 2016, and its kickoff party in Las Vegas featured a surprise performance by Drake himself. Hocking discusses how he teamed up with the star, as well as how the entertainment and nightlife industries go hand in hand.
A common thread
When developing a premium spirits brand, it may not be easy to find a supportive person who is also highly visible in the entertainment industry, but Hocking uses his ability to connect with people on a personal level. With regard to working with Drake on Virginia Black, he states, “We met through mutual friends and connected on our love for music, basketball and the fine taste. My brands are always connected to my love of music in some way.” By finding shared interests with your business partners, your spokespeople and your customers, you can help to build a more loyal following and people who are passionate about your brand.
Rappers and musicians alike have always been known to shout out various brands in their songs, and many of them have stepped into the luxury spirits game in recent decades. To stand out in a crowded market, Hocking recommends the following, “Quality of the juice is paramount. I already had experience and success in the alcohol business as the only three-time winner of Robb Report’s ‘Spirit of the Year’ in their 25-year history. The credibility, along with a true partnership with Drake, and not an endorsement, is what makes Virginia Black authentic.” By taking his experience in the industry and partnering with a well-known personality, Hocking has been able to generate a buzz for Virginia Black in many countries prior to its full roll out.
The entertainment industry has long been utilized to advertise to customers by means of celebrity endorsements, product placement and more. Hocking chooses to let his brands speak for themselves and finds that if you have a quality product, people will want to endorse it. “The entertainment industry are already fans of Virginia Black for its quality, and it’s nice when they speak of it and are seen with it. Everyone wants that beautiful bottle on their back bar or in their films, etc. We have a lot of requests for film/video placements for Virginia Black.”
Hocking had already experienced a lot of success in the field of luxury spirits, so he knows how to create a product that people want to buy and want to represent. His successful partnership with Drake on Virginia Black is a way for him to showcase his skills while introducing a wide array of people to his newest product.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.