THE BIG IDEA CONTINUED
The brand was developed and the prototypes were made. Now we had to sell Mr. Palmer.
I was granted a meeting for the Monday morning after the 2001 Bay Hill Invitational – now the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The place was abuzz, as Tiger Woods had won the tournament for the second year in a row. I was meeting with Mr. Palmer and IMG executive Alastair Johnston. I arrived with a business plan under my arm and some samples in my hands. It was the biggest presentation of my life, and it was raining.
Mr. Johnston and I met first, then Mr. Palmer was brought into the room. He shook hands with me and said, “Young man, I understand you have something very interesting for me.” And with that, Mr. Palmer was briefed on our plan, and given samples to try. The meeting ended with Mr. Palmer saying, “Let’s get this done”. We shook hands and left. Two months later the contracts were signed and the real work began.
I believe that for business nothing can be more powerful for sales and profits than a new product. By that I mean a new idea that rallies the resources to develop a new item that the consumer will endorse. A new product or service can breathe life into a staid product line and create almost a euphoric feeling of enthusiasm for all the members of the organization. It creates hope and a belief that companies will thrive and prosper with increased sales and profits – the commercialization of the drink.
Arnold Palmer Tea was an idea whose time had come and was overdue. It made all the sense in the world. I will not go so far as to say it was a slam dunk, but it made perfect sense, and with some hard work and connecting of the dots, it was destined for success. The icing on the cake was that our group knew how to make it happen. Our backgrounds and connections were suited perfectly to execute the process and bring home success.
What we also learned was that Arnold Palmer, and the Arnold Palmer Enterprise group, was one of the most potent iconic marketing brand forces in the country. We became partners with a legendary golfer, extraordinary businessman, a beloved humanitarian and an ethical force of legendary status. We became business subjects of the KING, and officers in his army. Seldom do all of the stars of a project align such as this. We had the WOW factor going for us.