Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are You Down with OPT?: Other Peoples Tea

I frequently get asked the question, Martin with your tea company do you drink other people's tea? Actually, I do and all the time. So the next question is why? Usually my answer is, well duh! Don't you have to know other people's tea to figure out what to create? My answer has evolved in the last 2-3 years to this. There are other tea companies that really create outstanding tea that I will probably not ever have in my portfolio due to the complexity of the final product. Bottom line: i love good tea and when you find it everything is right in the world. For us, the trick is not to be all things to all people but to find our niche and knock it out the park. Our niche has always been simple teas with robust flavors in earth friendly white packaging and we own that niche.

I remember a time when I was working for a beverage company and our company tennis league was just finishing its tennis match. We went to the club house and I asked for an Ozarka water to quench my thirst. When I turned around with bottle in mouth guzzling the water down as fast as possible the look I encountered was one of astonishment and disgust as though I stripped down naked and walked around the club house asking for hugs. "Why are you drinking Ozarka?" was the first question. I responded "because there was no other water there and I happen to like it". Did I say it with some attitude? Yes, ok but I was slightly offended that I was being questioned about my beverage choice.

After that day, there was an obvious tension in the building and in the league as word got out that I was cheating on the company with another water company. The word rose to the top of the company and the senior vice president asked me to stop.

I took that learning and went against the grain fully with my own company to embrace other tea company products so that I could understand what makes them better and or worse than my product. Additionally, I really wanted to support the industry and it's efforts. Do I want to have customer loyalty? Absolutely and I think I do! Our customers love our product and are staunchly loyal but how will I know why they are loyal until I have tasted what they have had in the past or what they love now? It reminds of the saying "Walk a mile in my shoes and learn my story".

Thankfully, and in my unbiased opinion, my tea has always been better anyway.

"Yeah, you know me!" (the second half of that Naughty by Nature song)

- Posted by Martin using BlogPress from my iPad2 Sitting in the Dark in his Office at 2am Working

Location:Dallas,United States

No comments:

Post a Comment