the-best-way-to-answer-the-phone-possible

The Best Way To Answer The Phone 

We’re in Fort McMurray visiting one of our favourite places, Layers Wellness. We’re sitting in the front room and the phone rings. All we hear is a cheery voice that bursts out:

“Layers Wellness, how can we make your day better?” 

I instantly started laughing. How amazing is that phone greeting?

We’ve been to Layers Five times in the last two years and that’s the first time I heard such a unique greeting on the phone. I think they’re getting better and better at being more, well…”Layers-y” (caring, fun, thoughtful, warm, engaging, friendly, happy).

Too many organizations worry about their “brand” or their “marketing strategy” and they forget what really matters, all the little things. Instead of developing your next ad campaign, why not try to get your employees to come up with a way to build customer loyalty?

stop-blaming-marketing-for-your-customer-service-problems

Stop blaming marketing for your customer service problems

Want more business? Start treating customers like friends instead of customers. If you want to be different than others, if you want to standout amongst your competition, if you want repeat business, care about your customers in a completely differently way. Layers Wellness does this regularly.

Focus on providing a unique style of customers service and you won’t need marketing

How to identify the type of person you don't want to work with

How To Identify The Type of Person You Don’t Want To Work With // Eps 55 #inthelab


How To Identify The Type of Person You Absolutely Don’t Want To Work With?

People that make fun of others.

In the service industry you get a chance to work with all different kinds of people. Some good, some bad, and yes some are freaking ugly (to deal with). This is to help you identify someone you absolutely don’t want to work with.

Someone who talks bad about others. More specifically your competitors or their competitors. People who say mean things about other companies have no place in the business community. When you associate with people who say bad things about others, what makes you think they don’t say bad things about you behind your back?

It’s happened to us at Strategy Lab Four distinct times now. It’s a textbook mistake, I should be smarter by now.

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winning-isnt-everything

The Most Important Lesson ‘Cool Runnings’ Taught Us

“A Gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” -Irv Blitzer to Derice Bannock after Derice asked why he had cheated in the Olympics.

Winning isn’t everything.

At times it may seem like it is but coaches, captains, players, and parents all need to understand that winning isn’t the goal of team sports. Like Irv (John Candy) says, if you’re not good enough when you lose, you’ll never be good enough when you win. But we insist on focusing on the score or the team record, when’s the last time you heard someone worry about the team culture or player wellbeing? That’s because most of us don’t know how to run a team successfully. 

winning-isnt-everything

Focus on what’s more important than the win

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17-books-for-2017

17 Must Read Books For 2017

1. How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big – Scott Adams

creativity-is-allowing-yourself-to-make-mistakes

Counterintuitive thinking on how one attains success. It’s a fun read, he’s a cartoonist so you can imagine how much fun Scott has in a book. My favourite part was the first time reading through, he gives you some piece of contrarian advice and then follows it up with “remember, you are the one taking advice from a cartoonist”. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself.

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Keep Thinking Different

Keep Thinking Different

A recent addition to Netflix “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine” is a new look at the fascinating life of a change agent. Inspiring stories, interviews with people that worked with him, and the negative side to being a visionary. They don’t beat around the bush, people admitted that at times he was a tyrant, but those same people also talk about how much they learned while working for Jobs.

It’s an interesting watch, I hope you do! We all need a little inspiration every now and then, this documentary reminds us that we need to keep thinking different.

Pokémon a Go-Go? or Pokémon a No-No? | Eps 54 #InTheLab

A couple weeks back I got to interview Greg Moore from Look Agency here in Regina.

I love Greg’s opinion on marketing, he’s a genuine nice guy and tends to disagree with me a lot (that’s why get along so well).

Today’s topic: is Pokémon really a thing? Greg’s here to tell us why.

I love what he says about some things don’t need a goal, a monetary outcome or a defined purpose, Pokémon is such a popular thing to a wide variety of people. Sometimes it’s okay not to know why. Sometimes these fads come for a reason, we need to learn that reason and make the proper adjustments to our own organizations.

Here’s what Greg taught me: everything doesn’t have to have a defined “why”. Just because you don’t Ike something doesn’t mean others will follow. No matter how you feel about things, the crowd will always show you some truth to your idea.

As always, thanks Greg!

a good brand vs a bad brand in action

A Simple Demonstration of ‘Good’ Brand in Action Compared to a ‘Bad’ Brand

In the Edmonton airport trying to make a connection I ask an Air Canada desk, by accident, where my gate was. The response? “The Westjet counter is over there”, slightly annoyed pointing in a vague direction.

He could have helped me, I mean the question wasn’t difficult (unless it was that employees first day in the Airport which is highly unlikely) but Air Canada’s “brand” isn’t about helping or going to extra mile at all. I think their brand is more like “unless we know you have money, we don’t give a flying frog about you!”

I find my gate, as I’m going thru I over hear an Air Canada passenger ask the same question I did to a Westjet employee!(Oh the irony, I wonder if they’ll give the same response?) Not surprisingly the Westjeter just answered the question.

I waited and congratulated him on being “human”, you know just helping people? It’s kind of what makes us human. And its not hard.

Whatever you do in business you’re going to have an opportunity to say a version of “oh that’s not my job”. Make it your job, take the initiative, be a human.

I can’t imagine that Air Canada fellow has much fun only helping certain people, that’ll make you a grumpy Gus.

human-first-everything else later

Happy building in portland

Portland Oregon: A Lesson In Purple Cows 

Have you ever had a Blue Cheese and Pear Ice-cream cone? How about a Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper Ice-cream cone? Or maybe you have tried Carrot Cake Batter & Pralined Hazelnuts Ice-cream? That’s not a typo, Salt & Straw has been making Ice cream like this since 2011 in Portland Oregon. And people freaking LOVE it. 

You must be asking now, why the hell do they sell such weird Ice cream? The answer is simple, because people LOVE it. They don’t “like” it, most people “like” Ice cream. But if you are going to travel across the city, pay for parking, wait in line, there’s something special about the Ice-cream. People who go to Salt & Straw LOVE Ice cream and they can hardly wait to try the next crazy concoction the Ice cream gods can think up.

I’m telling you about Salt & Straw because every time we past one in Portland there was a lineup outside the door 15 minutes long at the very least, an hour long at peak times. The Ice cream was priced reasonably, $3-10 cones and bowls. That was the most unique quality that we saw again and again; businesses don’t charge an arm and a leg for unique products in Portland, they’d rather charge an honest price and create mass amounts of demand.  After all, a lower allows many more people to try your creation!

(Yes I spoke with a women who got the Blue Cheese and Pear combination, she loved it, weird.)

Salt and straw portland

But it wasn’t only Salt & Straw that had a completely ridiculous lineup every time we walked by, the famous Voodoo Doughnut was just as bad.

The famous Voodoo Doughnut was a very unique experience. We waited in line for 20 minutes, finally at the front we look at the menu expecting you know, $10-20 maybe? Like you know what you’d find at a fancy Doughnut Delicatessen? Nope, most were under $2 other than the fancy ones.

How peculiar! Any MBA worth half their education would say, “Raise your prices! You could be making WAY more cash money!”. The obvious response to the MBA: “then it wouldn’t be special anymore!”

The reason Voodoo Doughnut is so good is that it isn’t easy to get. You can’t just go buy one from any old store. You must wait in line. But the price point is so anyone can afford it! A brilliant concept, charge an honest price, do something amazing. 

The best part about the entire experience was the box (shown below). The box is a piece of art you want to put on display. You don’t pay extra for it, everybody gets one and as soon as you leave Voodoo it turns into a Social Object (people talk about it).

Voodoo Doughnut Portland

“Good things come in pink boxes”.

Next was the advertising. Some amazing displays of creative work, travelling through Portland will have you kinking your neck a lot. The Lyft billboard shown below was a monstrosity in downtown Portland, our Uber driver pulled over so I could take this picture!

The elephant in the road

Portland is going through a change. You don’t see a lot of super cars. You don’t see a lot of suits or people looking down their nose at you. It’s a very laid back, friendly, west coast vibe. They like to have fun and businesses are not afraid at using humour in their messaging. See below.

Marine Layer Portland

Marine Layer is a clothing company started on the coast. They have fun (like this sign), staff is really friendly and “it’s an Airbnb. (seriously)”. My favourite part.

Welcome to “Nike Biketown USA”

Nike Biketown Portland

A week before we arrived in Portland Nike and the city had arranged a $10 million bike share program in the downtown core. You sign up online or on the app, connect a credit card, and you have a bike for $2.50 per hour. What a brilliant idea! They have stations all over so you don’t have to return your bike to the same place you rented it. Amazing.

I believe they stole this one from Europe, what an amazing service. 1,000 bright orange Nike bikes are all over Portland.

The vast majority of these weird Purple Cow places had several things in common

  1. The best ones had a unique characteristic (Superpower) that they are now known for
    Unconventional Ice-cream, best chicken and waffles, completely original doughnut flavours, and entire library full of whiskey.  
  2. They weren’t expensive
    The restuarnts that had a wait time (Mother’s, Pok Pok, Voodoo Doughnut, Salt & Straw) were very affordable if not considered “cheap” price point to other establishments close by.
  3. They were inclusive; you see all walks of life frequenting the best places
    One of our Uber driver summed it up for us; “you don’t see many suits anymore, people don’t care about the money, they would rather be comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, big money isn’t looked up to here.”

So what did this little ol Canadian from the prairies learn? Location isn’t an excuse. Portland has never been a major tourist destination until the last decade. They are forward thinking with government policy (this attracts the young people). Without the young people you aren’t growing. But the to attract young people it has to be affordable, Portland is. And finally if you want to be a world renown place, company, or even Airbnb, find your superpower. Embrace your superpower.

All the best places in Portland had something special about them, something weird.

Now go find your Purple Cow, your social object or superpower, whatever it is don’t be afraid to be different.

How do you pick a website domain name

How To Pick A Website Domain Name

How do you pick a website domain? 

Two words: chat roulette 

Kidding!

YES, finally someone answers all those questions we’ve had over the past two years about domain names and best practices for picking a URL. It’s changed so much because of how competitive search engine results have become.

At one time you could have bought the domain name “www.ReginaWebsites.com” and you’d get all the organic traffic for people search for websites in Regina. Times have changed. You can’t just “get” to the front page by setting up a keyword heavy domain name. Yes there will be exceptions to the rule and if you’re on the front page of Google with very little work it won’t last long.

Make it brand-able and pronounceable

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I can

There Are Only Two Types of People In The World: “I cans” and “I can’ts”

Which one are you?

When a new challenge comes along do you jump on it? Do you tell yourself you can do it instead of the opposite? Good, I like you.

Or…

When someone asks you something to do and you’re unsure of, do you immediately say “NO”?
When someone asks you to do something uncomfortable do you try to avoid it?

You could be creating very detrimental habits that are going to affect your life in the future

When someone asks you to do something and you say “I can’t” you’re doing terrible things to your brain on multiple different levels. Your conscious mind likes the decision because you don’t need to try anything new, staying the same is easy. If all you do is seek out and perform tasks that are “easy” you’ll never learn.

Doing what’s easy or safe affects your subconscious mind too. Your subconscious mind thinks that any task you say “no” to is now something you can’t do, just because of your attitude not your ability. You’re creating a precedent for your mind to say, I can’t, I shouldn’t, I’m no good at that. Think if that was your attitude as a child? You wouldn’t have learned very much at all! In the long run “safe” doesn’t help anyone.

The Elephant and the Rider: your Conscious and SubConscious mind

Chip and Dan Heath from the book Switch tell us to be wary of what we tell our subconscious mind.

The now famous Heath Brothers compare your conscious and subconscious mind to that of an Elephant and a person riding it. Your conscious mind (the rider) in the grand scheme of your brain is quite small and relatively powerless compared to your subconscious (the Elephant). The catch is the Elephant (your subconscious) doesn’t choose what to focus on, it simply listens to the conscious mind. Hence the “power of positive thinking”, affirmations, goal setting, all have the same goal in mind, to tap into the power of your subconscious. 

Be very careful what you ‘tell’ your brain

A coach at a volleyball camp when asked to do an underhand serve said those horrible, horrible words. I CAN’T. Basically saying “I have no courage, I can not even fathom doing this incredibly difficult task you have given me!” ANY volleyball player can do an underhand serve, let alone a coach!!!!

Then I realized I couldn’t convince her otherwise. She’d put up a wall to learned new things. Whatever her conscious mind told her she couldn’t do, her subconscious believe through and through. This is why this attitude is so bad for anyone.

When you say ‘no’ you’re telling people not to ask you ever again

As much as you probably don’t believe the Hollywood Blockbuster “Yes Man” movie, it’s a brilliant thought experiment. Saying ‘yes’ to as many opportunities that come your way is a great way to show others you’re willing to try new things, that you’re spontaneous, and that generally fun to hangout with.

When you say %22I can't%22 it's like you've given up, it's a defeatist attitude. And people don't want to associate with defeated people

When you say “I can’t” it’s like you’ve given up, it’s a defeatist attitude. And people don’t want to associate with defeated people.

NO MAN! NO MAN! NO MAN! NO MAN!

The opposite is that one friend you have had that never wanted to try anything new, that never would join the group or try anything new, every time you ask they have an excuse as to why not. Get far, far away from these people they are toxic and you don’t want to learn any bad habits from them.

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