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George Clooney and Rande Gerber, the creators of Casamigos tequila, tell a great story about how they created their brand by accident in 2013. They perpetuate this story in all of their interviews and the news outlets and fashion magazines are happy to reprint it. Problem is, the story is not entirely accurate. The official version is that George and Randy came up with the idea of the brand while vacationing together in Mexico in 2010. They sampled their fair share of tequila from local bars and restaurants and decided to make one of their own that would be just perfect for them. They found a distiller in Mexico and had the tequila delivered to their homes, both situated on a property known as Casamigos. The name is a play on words, that can be translated to “House of Friends.” The original plan for the tequila was to be consumed by George, Rande, and their friends and families. However, when they ordered over 1000 sample bottles, their distiller insisted that they needed a license. Thus, the brand was officially launched in 2013 and made available to the public. Since then it has become one of the fastest growing tequila companies in the world to be later acquired by Diageo for 1 billion dollars. But we’ll get there in a moment. One thing noticeably missing from the story is that Clooney and Gerber set up a company and filed a bunch of trademarks before their distiller mentioned the license. *** SHOW TRADEMARK APPLICATIONS *** And they didn’t just trademark the name, Casamigos. They also trademarked the logo and a couple of taglines. They filed their first trademark for the name covering tequila services on May 9th, 2011. In December of the same year, they trademarked “It could happen. Please drink responsibly”. Then in October of 2012, they trademarked the logo and another tagline, “Brought to you by those who drink it”. As of today, they have at least 12 pending or registered trademarks in the U.S. alone. I don’t blame Clooney and Gerber for wanting to embellish the story a little bit. In today’s world where deliberate success and wealth are often frowned upon, they almost had to create the perception of a rags to riches story to get the masses to buy into their Casamigos movement. How else would they get thousands of people to post Casamigos pics on social media and even make Casamigos tattoos! *** SHOW USER CONTENT *** But make no mistake, they understand the value of the brand and the importance of owning it. And it’s not just my conclusion as I look at their trademarks. Here’s in Rande Gerber’s own words: *** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz7XI… at 15:20: “It’s our brand, we own it, it’s our money in the brand. *** This is why trademarking their brand was one of the first things they did—long before they officially launched their tequila to the public. And then, just a few years later, they sold the brand to Diageo, the world’s largest alcohol distributor, for $1 billion dollars. The partners got $700 million upfront, and the remaining $300 million will be paid to them based on performance of the brand over the next 10 years. Going from 0 to a billion dollars in just four years is absolutely remarkable. They practically printed a billion dollars out of thin air. And if you’re thinking to yourself, well of course it’s George Clooney. Think again. I assure you that it would have cost Diageo less than a billion dollars to hire Mr. Clooney to advertise Smirnoff Vodka, Guinness Beer, Johnnie Walker whiskey, and all of their other drinks. Instead, Diageo paid a billion dollars to acquire the brand. And that was something more tangible than just George Clooney’s face or his name or his fame. So, there’s a lesson there. He could only sell his brand and make so much money out of it because he properly protected the brand at the very beginning. Before anybody saw a bottle on the shelf, before he and Rande announced it, first thing they did was they trademarked the name so nobody can take it. And then, they figured out a way to build a product around it. And then, they figured out a way to monetize the brand. Very smart way to build a brand. Very smart way to monetize a brand. The lesson here is not for you to start coming up with new tequila brands and trying to sell them to Diageo. The lesson here is that the brand has massive value if you take the right steps to protect it and build something around it. So use this lesson from George Clooney in your business. Build a brand. Be legendary.