What a pleasure it is to host Teeqlife’s Don Ferguson on today’s Shared Spirits Industry Influencer Interview Series.Teeqlife is a BrandLifestyle and Movement.

Teeqlife is a BRAND with an agenda to educate the masses on how amazing tequila is. His passion for this decadent agave spirit goes unparalleled and he knew there were misconceptions surrounding tequila. He wanted to create a platform to educate people on how tequila is made, how it should be enjoyed, the traditions surrounding this wonderful spirit and the history of the brands in the industry. However, along his journey he discovered that tequila was just the beginning and the path led Teeqlife in many directions. He found that other spirits had wonderful histories to them as well and there were brands that deserved for their stories to be told.

Sherman: Thanks for joining is today Don! We’re excited to have you included in the series. Share with us a little about your background, previous work and perhaps how you developed a passion for marketing.
Don: Previously, I co-owned an independent record label based in Detroit, MI. where I handled all the marketing and promotions on a grassroots level with street promotions, circulation ads, and networking. This was just at the beginning of social media (MySpace) so everything was done differently than it is now. The record label dissolved and I entered the business/finance world and worked my way up to becoming a Divisional Vice-President of Operations for a major finance company. I recently left the company to get back to my passion in life, marketing, where we focus on the spirits industry and related products. I just truly enjoy helping to create exposure for a brand and watching them grow.
Sherman: Tell us about how you started marketing in the spirits world? What is the motivation around choosing this industry for your platform?
Don: Watching an episode of Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dive’s inspired me. I said to my wife, why doesn’t anyone do something this fun for the spirits industry. My wife said, why don’t you? She urged me to get out of my comfort zone and pursue something that I felt didn’t exist in the spirits industry. It helped me get back to my passion in marketing and being creative once again. I wanted to build a platform that not only educated the audience on the product but also provided entertainment. Our goal is to leave a lasting impression  on our audience to remember the product the next time they are at a bar, restaurant or retail space, so they try or buy that brand.
Sherman: What is the biggest challenge for your type of business?
Don: At this point in time, our platform is considered influencer marketing and the challenge in the industry is that many companies don’t understand social media well enough to grasp the value of a social media influencer marketing campaign. Typically in the past, celebrities have been the influencer that promotes a brand to encourage the purchase of that product. Studies show that celebrities aren’t trusted as much as they were previously and larger companies are leveraging a relationship with a brand influencer (or several) to promote their brand as consumers view it as more genuine and authentic.

Sherman: You’re helping some great brands and people with their social media presence. What are you seeing as some of their biggest challenges?

Don: The right content is a consistent challenge. A picture of the product will only create so much engagement so the incorporation of video content is key. Many companies aren’t creating video content as it can become expensive. That’s where our company, Teeqlife helps out.
Sherman: You’ve got some specific thoughts around social media marketing. What are some of those thoughts?
Don: Social media use is consistently growing and the more a company understands how to utilize it, how the algorithms work, the better.  Also, companies need to know that it’s a full-time job creating brand visibility on social media and what platforms to use and how to use them the correct way. The days of posting a picture and getting a million likes are not realistic anymore. It takes time, effort and engagement to build a social media platform and that’s where influencers help out. Visit Teeqlife’s Blog


Sherman: You’re based in Detroit but represent brands from everywhere. What are the current distillery and brewery culture in Motor City? Is it growing?

Don: As a city, Detroit is growing at a rapid rate with new businesses moving into the city and the surrounding areas which create opportunities for bars and restaurants to expand or set it’s sites on building within the city. We keep a close eye on Detroit’s hospitality scene and continue to build great relationships with the bars and restaurants that are valuable for our clients that are breaking into the Michigan market.
Detroit’s sprits industry is creating a buzz with brands that are getting national exposure/distribution. Brands like Valentine and Two James started small, built organically and are now getting widespread acclaim. The mead market has a cult following and the company B. Nektar is doing quite well and is also known nationally. As for breweries, I’m not a beer guy, so I don’t know too much about that sector of the spirits industry. We stick to liquor, liqueurs and industry related products.
Sherman: It’s a short attention span world out there. Have any tactical takeaways we could implement today?
Don: It circles back to content. Brands should focus on content that is quick to grab attention that could potentially go viral, which is not an easy feat. Also, I truly believe in video content. If a company does the correct things with keyword, backlinks, metadata, etc, could rank well on a Google search. 85% of our Teeqlife videos on YouTube are on the 1st page of a Google search. That is a commercial that keeps performing for the brand. A static picture on a companies social media page doesn’t provide that for them as you cannot search for the picture. Also, I would also HIGHLY recommend that a company work with an influencer on at least one campaign to promote their brand. There is an amazing value and if you create a great relationship with a marketing influencer, it will pay dividends in the long run.
Sherman: What most do you want our readers to know about Teeqlife?
Don: We develop relationships with the brands that we represent and our connections become their connections as well. We go far beyond just promoting on social media. We have used our connections to provide opportunities to our clients to be present at festivals, considered for distribution/importation with the distribution/importer companies we have relationships with, considered as a brand to be featured in a movie and offered sponsorships for professional sports teams that receive national exposure. Our platform is also getting global visibility, spreading into the UK, Mexico and Canada, which is beyond exciting for us and the brands we represent.
We are always looking for ways to grow OUR brand and the company that we work with. That’s the strength of a solid relationship.
Sherman: Don, what a pleasure this has been. You’ve got a great and growing story.  What are your social urls and how best should folks reach out to you?
Don: Thank you very much Sherman, we appreciate your support. Our email is info@teeqlife.com