What Would Tequila Do?

10/08/2017 11:03 pm ET Updated Oct 09, 2017

Impact marketing for social good

Do you run to grab a beer and something to eat during ad breaks on television? Do you fake-talk on your phone when you see a street marketer looking your way? Do you throw away the flashy inserts in the goodie bags at conferences? Do you have old unread magazines laying on your desk to make you look cool? Do you roll your eyes when you see another marketing line starting with “Us at...” or spot the four horseman of the marketing apocalypse - innovative, disruptive, viral and authentic? And don’t forget the words that makes for the perfect game of BMB (Bored Marketing Bingo) - leverage, thought leaders, robust, vertical, monetize, sweet spot, learnings, synergy, holistic, 360 and hacking.

We’ve all been there. And we’ve even doubled down when it comes to this social impact space. Dang... There we go - we can’t even agree on the terms we should use to describe what we do. Social enterprise or social impact or CSR or citizenship or... or... or... Let’s just say we do the good stuff.

We do the good stuff but we are as bland as American-cooked spaghetti. We try to sell the best of humanity but make it look as boring as an 80s Soviet Union news broadcast. For every Patagonia “Don’t Buy This Jacket” we have a thousand “our people are our greatest asset” or “it’s in our DNA” or “we are on a journey” or “we’ve donated” generic nonsense. Come on people! We in the social impact space do the most amazing work imaginable. We help make the world a better place. And we get paid to do it! Let our marketing and communications reflect the excitement of our work. We can do it by starting with a simple question...

What would tequila do?

Because tequila will never do boring. Tequila will make it interesting. Tequila will make it wild. Tequila will make it edgy. Tequila will make it fun. Tequila will make you sing. Tequila will never play it safe.

Break the rules. Have fun! Make people take notice. Challenge the conventional thinking. Burn the box people want to place you in.

But tequila might make you regret it in the morning. Even tequila comes with some basic rules.

1. Pick for the occasion

Seriously, we’re not students anymore. You don’t have to pick the cheapest no name brand tequila. Pick the right one for the right occasion. The same with tequila marketing - pick your strategy and tactics to fit the occasion. You don’t want to waste valuable resources on a strategy that looks beautiful but no one pays attention because you aren’t talking to their needs. Make your wild take their breath away by making them sit up and take notice of something they need but never really knew it could be done this way. Building a brand campaign means you can go wild and shoot for a wide and diverse audience while an Account Based Marketing campaign needs to contain the wildness within the rules and criteria set for that specific group. Pick the crazy that works for your customer.

2. Sip it

I once went to Chihuahua, Mexico as part of a South African delegation and towards the end of our trip the local authorities hosted us at a black tie event. We were offered tequila in long glasses and the first thought going through my head was “when in Rome” and I drank it in one go. Everyone stared at me as they took small sips... Little did I realize that not all tequila are equal. Sometimes you need to sip it and experience the quality and nuance flavors. Tequila marketing doesn’t mean you have to hit the market fast and furious. Sometimes you take your time and make sure your audience experience every single little bit of your marketing genius. Let every little tactic linger in their minds as the story of your marketing campaign plays out. Let each tactics be a side character that provides color to your marketing story.

There is another reason to take your time with marketing - you want to stretch it out for emphasis. Like good tequila, you want to try different ways to sip it and adapt to what works best for you. Straight up or a little ice or maybe some lemon? Adapt your tequila marketing to make sure it hits the right spot. The crazy tactic that didn’t work immediately might just need a new creative twist or even a simple improved search strategy. Tweak it if you need to and see what works.

3. Maybe coffee instead

Tequila is a beautiful thing but it has a time and place. You don’t want to introduce yourself to your date’s father with a bottle of tequila in your hand - unless you did some serious research before the time to see how he might react. Take a chance but don’t always be a student. Know what your market wants and know when tequila marketing is needed. Sometimes tequila marketing is needed to make a boring relationship with your customer a bit more exciting or maybe spice up a stale message that just doesn’t work anymore. Start by asking “what would tequila do” but know that sometimes it is just fine if the answer is “nothing, we need coffee instead”. Nothing wrong with a good solid marketing campaign if that is what that moment needs more than anything else. Just don’t start with offering coffee - always start by asking what is the most unexpected strategy or tactic and then ask if that will also be the most impactful. If those two pop up at the same time then ... tequila!

But whatever you do - stop doing the boring over and over again and expect the market to react differently. You want them to care about the things you care about? Make it interesting. Stop preaching. No one wants a Harvard lecture when experiencing your brand or campaign. Because tequila doesn’t do lectures.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.