The power of a good bartender!
… or the value of an ambassador network in the spirits industry.
In our business, the leading ambassadors are the on-trade mixology professionals.
Bartenders are the people that actually work with our products and give us the most valuable feedback because of their contacts with consumers.
In any case, ambassadors are the people that love your brand enough to play an active part in the activation of it. In the past years, thanks to social tooling, consumers are investing a lot of time and effort in this process as well.
Allow me to explain why my focus on ambassadorship is on the professionals, more than on the consumers.
In my career so far, I have developed a variation of activities related to the food, restaurant and catering industry. No matter into which business sector I ventured, I always focused on a key set of values. Sometimes very consciously, sometimes through sheer intuition. I can honestly say I have always followed a combination of my gut, heart and brains.
The practical semantics of the values tend to vary slightly, depending on the business at hand, but they always seem to boil down to the same underlying psychology:
- I want things to remain light and agile, because I tend to live like that as well.
- I want my dealings to be fair, without being naïve about the ways of the world.
- I expect the same from the people I work with or for; and the people that work for me.
It may have been an organic process but I can remember that from very early on, I was always actively looking for likeminded partners and employees to guide and support my growth. I mean that I prefer my dealings to be honest and fair rather than purely fixated on margin and profit.
For me, the mixologists are the lynchpin in this process. My understanding of their role probably stems from my own times as a professional bartender. It was very clear that my intermediary position between product and consumers was key in building the reputation of a brand. The clients at my bar really took my explanations and presentations home with them and I had other new clients coming in, based on the stories I had told. So never ever underestimate the power of a bartender.
I also have an even more personal reason to love bartenders: I think they are the true entertainers of city night-life. Artists in their own way. It is not easy to keep a cool professional head in an atmosphere that dwells in darkness and plays out at party-times. To me they represent the commitment, honesty and true fun spirit of the spirits industry.
A good professional bartender can always count on my respect and support.