Patrón leads the premium tequila category in both brand awareness and sales volume, but the category itself was struggling against a perception that tequila was a “one-dimensional” spirit. Most consumers felt that tequila was only used for shots or as an ingredient in margaritas. Patrón set out to educate consumers on the versatility of tequila, encouraging the use of Patrón in craft cocktails via a recipe platform that offered personalized recommendations based on the user’s preference and occasion.
Objective and Context:
Instead of being lauded for their heritage and craft, Patrón was perceived as a status symbol, meant for shooting, not mixing. While the brand enjoyed a substantial lead in market share, the perception capped its growth potential. Patrón sought to showcase its versatility and drive sales by asserting itself as the authority on cocktails.
Success would be measured by the level of engagement consumers had with content showcasing Patrón’s versatility. This included traffic to the site, video content, voice skills, and most of all, cocktail recipes. The brand also kept our eye on return visit rates and how much industry influencers (bartenders) engaged with content.
Patrón referred to its two target audience groups as the “Knows” and the “Bros.” The Knows were comprised of consumers in their mid-20s and up who appreciated craft cocktails and flavor profiles. They viewed their drink choices as reflections of their tastes, and were influenced by bartenders, indie culture, and their peers. The Bros, on the other hand, were novice drinkers looking for a good time. Influenced by friends and pop culture, this group was mostly interested in brands for the status they communicated.
Patrón created “Cocktail Lab,” a data-driven cocktail recommendation engine. Cocktail Lab serves up recipes based on personal preferences, behavioral insights, local trends, and occasions. It helped consumers find the perfect bartender-curated cocktail for them while also establishing the brand as a cocktail authority.
Cocktail Lab’s ability to recommend cocktails based on occasions like “warm weather” or “holiday season” allowed the brand to use it as a destination in all its digital campaigns in 2017 and 2018, regardless of the messaging.
Cocktail Lab was created as a mobile-first but channel-agnostic platform, ensuring that its insights and recommendations would endure in its audience’s ever-changing digital landscape, through voice, AR, and beyond. The experience was built on a platform that could easily expand to new technology devices like Google Home, Show, and Amazon Echo, where it was Alexa’s first cocktail skill.
Overall Campaign Execution:
By embedding the Cocktail Lab into the customer journey across all its initiatives, Patrón created a feedback loop that continually fed data to the cocktail recommendation engine, allowing it to make smarter recommendations while building its library of tequila cocktails.
The brand applied a mobile-first mindset to Cocktail Lab. Previous engagement data revealed that when a cocktail craving kicks in, people look for inspiration and assistance in that moment, typically via the device most readily available to them: their phone. Metrics verified this insights, as Cocktail Lab’s traffic has been 72 percent smartphone, 8 percent tablet, and only 20 percent on desktop. Consumers who accessed the platform via mobile were also able to see where cocktail ingredients were available for purchase nearby.
Patrón’s Cocktail Lab has been effective in asserting the brand as the authority on cocktails, as well as changing the perception of the category as a whole. In its second year, the engine’s ability to improve its recommendations by harnessing user data has improved on an already successful campaign: