“I Can Get It Cheaper” 

Few phrases say more about an individual than those five words. So much is communicated when one judges a product or service based on the price alone.

The fact that you can find anything these days for a cheaper price shouldn’t come as a surprise. The surprising part is people still use price as a major factor in decision making, when they verbalize their frugal attitude it labels them.

1. When you say the words “I can get it cheaper” you seem, well, cheap. 

We don’t look up to cheap people. Do you have a friend or family member brag about a “deal” they got at Walmart? Probably not because that’s not something to brag about. We look up to people who are generous, who don’t count the change after some one gives it to them, who tips more than they should, who doesn’t make a big deal about money ever. Those are the people I look up to.

In the creative field you can always find someone who’s willing to do what you do for a cheaper price, but that price comes with a cost.

Just because it costs less at first it may end up costing you a whole lot in the long run. I find in my old age I’d rather pay a good price for something and get a great product in return. Every now and then when cutting costs you get burned. Ever buy something just because it was cheap? Tennis balls, never buy the cheap tennis balls, I’d much rather pay more for a better quality ball.

Pizza, sure you can get cheap pizza but c’mon Sparky’s isn’t even that much more but the taste!!

As a kid it was hockey sticks. You could buy a cheap stick at Superstore but it won’t last long.

I wrote about this 7 years ago, labeled it as “Walmart Culture” cheapest prices for the cheapest products, it wasn’t sustainable. Now in 2017 it has become extremely apparent some people will always use price as their major deciding factor.

price is a calculation value is a feeling

Price is a calculation, value is a feeling.

Be careful not to confuse the two, value is a much bigger topic for another day.

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UpliftingTshirts-a business,experiment and class

3 Reasons Why I Always Have Students Do “Real World” Projects In My Class

In our culture we tend to equate thinking and intellectual powers with success and achievement. In many ways, however, it is an emotional quality that separates those who master a field from the many who simply work at a job. –Robert Greene, Mastery

I’ve been teaching at a Sask Polytechnic for the past Four years and at a University if Regina for one. Since my second year I’ve always incorporated class projects that involve real world organizations, here’s why.

The back story…. I think I subconsciously want to teach using projects because the classes that included real works projects were the classes I found I learned the most in. Whether be Al Derges unconventional approach to the class or Lorne Schnel giving us real examples from the company he was running at the time. One of my favourite classes was one where we actually got to pitch an insurance company out of Toronto a new marketing strategy. I only remember that because our commercial was incredibly forward thinking and probably would have made them millions. Sadly they didn’t use the Idea. I didn’t care, I got to work on a real problem.

I had this idea of creating a learning moment by helping students “experience” entrepreneurship. By experience I obviously mean failing at something, learning, retrying, and succeeding. Here was the video I recorded before I started my first class project. Little did I know I was stumbling upon a gold mine of possibility!

Students need to work on real world problems, they learn more that way. At least that was my theory when I was in school, it holds true 10 years out. What an amazing conclusion!! The best way we learn inside or outside of school is by doing.

The “marketing apprenticeship” was born.

After your formal education, you enter the most critical phase in your life—a second, practical education known as The Apprenticeship. –Robert Greene, Mastery

My top three reasons why I always do a real world class project:

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“Sell Me This Pen” The Right Way

Last week Brandon and I had the pleasure of helping out at Campbell Collegiate with some mock job interviews. We were pared with students from grades ten and eleven and grilled them on their skills, interests, and experience as we attempted to find a student we would “hire” to work at Strategy Lab. Being the weirdo that I am, I asked almost exclusively out-of-the box questions like “Who do you think would win in a fight between a silverback gorilla and a grizzly bear?” and “How would you describe the colour red to someone who’s never seen colour?”. One test I used for every candidate was the old-school Jordan Balfort challenge: “Sell me this pen”.

Traditionally this is used to develop persuasive, cold-call sales techniques which is more than a little sleazy, but there was method to my madness. At the beginning of the day we were given free Conexus-branded pens (thanks guys!) and as I handed one to each interviewee to sell me I was hoping against hope that someone would think big enough to use the Conexus brand in their sales pitch.

As far as TED Talks go Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” has been used to death in marketing circles to the point where it’s almost become a tired cliche. I stress “almost” because I think it’s truly timeless and I get something new from it every time I watch it. My interviews with these kids were the most beautifully perfect embodiment of the “Why-How-What” concept.

What?

The majority of the students immediately tried to sell me on the different features of the pen like the stylus, the grip, the ease of use, etc. The bells and whistles that made it a good pen among pens, but didn’t really make me want to buy it. I mean, if I already have a pen why would I shell out money for this specific one? They were trying to sell on the “what”.

How?

A handful of the interviewees told me all the things I could do with the pen. Doodle, write notes, draw pictures, you name it. They positioned the pen as a means to an end and something that would solve a problem I had. This went one step beyond just showing off the features because they were identifying something I needed to do and trying to sell me the solution, or the “how”. But I wasn’t satisfied.

Why?

One student out of eight took the bait. It’s my second last interview of the day. I hand her the pen and she thinks for a while, then turns to me and asks “Can I use the Conexus logo in my pitch?” Up until now no one had even seemed to notice the logo, so I start to nod excitedly. “Well I would probably ask you first if you were a Conexus member, then I’d tell you that by buying this pen you’d be supporting us so we can help more people”. I’m freaking out at this point. Finally, someone sold me the “why”.

Here’s the moral of the story. Modern marketing requires us to not only show off the features or solve people’s problems, but to actually connect with them and make them feel something. There’s a reason paid programming “As Seen on TV” ads seem almost laughable these days. There’s a reason the practice of trying to convince people buy something they aren’t in the market for seems inherently sleazy. Creating a belief or a community or a world-changing vision creates intrinsic motivation in your customer base to not only buy from you, but to love you. Once you have that, you’ll never need to market again.

 

 

what are you changing

What Are You Changing? 

 What are you changing?

who moved my cheeseWhere are you moving your cheese to? What a wonderful read Who Moved My Cheese is, a story on why change matters and will always matter. Just started getting used to it.

I was speaking to a grade 12 class and I was trying to give an example of how we resist change. I picked up a desk, moved it 3 feet over. I went on and finished the presentation, the bell rings, students start leaving and a few students start entering the class. Do you know what the first thing they did when they got into that class? Moved the desk back. 

With no prompt, no asking, no reminders, a student was so well trained they felt the need to put the room back to where they were comfortable. We’re taught to seek comfort at a very young age.

The problem is life doesn’t always give you perfect rows of desks. Life doesn’t let you plan things out perfectly. Life is rarely “comfortable”, I would argue life tries to frustrate us, push us, and test us to the point where we want to give up. Most people give up. Most people have to deal with so many desks out of place, at one point its not worth it anymore, and they give up.

Don’t.

Don’t be afraid when the desk is out of place, let it be. If you aren’t annoyed by the little things and embrace change, life gets better. The next time a desk goes out of place you won’t be so worried, you won’t be so over come with fears about the desks “looking” out of place. Embracing change early in life helps you deal with change later in life.

How are you keeping your mind fresh? How are you getting outside your comfort zone? That’s where you learn best you know.

How will you stay out of the monotony of routine

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you don't have to win awards to be fricken amazing

You Don’t Need To Win Awards To Be Fricken’ Amazing

One day in the StratLab office Eddy says,
“eh, chew guys ever see Aaron Draplin’s Ted talk?!”
Me: “What did you just say?!?”
Eddy: “Just watch this….”

 

Meet Aaron Draplin. A crazy hat wearing, beard grooming, design denim god. He’s what we strive to be one day. Just happy to be able to wake up and create art every day. That’s something to get excited about.

  1. He’s genuine (I mean he wore a hat and swore in a Ted talk, haha!).

  2. He does not care about awards (they just inflate ego).

  3. He’s incredibly excited to be able to do his art every day.

1. He’s genuine

He cares. He cares so much about his audience he wants to show them how to be original. When someone swears in front of your it’s a sign of respect, they’re comfortable enough to be themselves. When Aaron takes to the stage you instantly realize this isn’t going to be your regular speech. His outfit makes him look comfortable as well, jean jacket, trucker hat? He’s making it okay to be yourself.

2. He does not care about awards

In the marketing/advertising world it’s hard to get very far without finding out about “an award you could win!” or better yet “you should apply for this award!”. Apply for an award?!? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?!? Yet it happens all the time. Agencies attach “awards” they’ve won to proposals not knowing that clients want to hire them to create value for their organization, not simply win awards.

Winning awards can send you down a dangerous path. Always striving for the next award. What there is no more? You can’t control that outcome hence why this author thinks it’s very silly to focus on winning awards.

Finally Aaron doesn’t need an award to make him feel good, he just needs to look at the team he works with and the amazing volume of work they’ve created, and smile.

Awards are a false idol you’re seeking. Their poisonous, they change people, once you are an “award winner” you’re never the same. Stay hungry, stay thirsty.

3. He’s incredibly excited to able to do his Art every day

When I met Hugh MacLeod for the first time I asked which of his cards he created was his favourite. He said he had a lot he really liked but one always came to mind.

“If you have your health and you can make a decent living doing what you love, then you have little reason to envy other people.” -Hugh MacLeod

If you have your health and you get to do what your love

The way Aaron looks when he talks about being “able” to do his art every day. That’s incredible. That’s what I want to become.

You don't have to win awards to be fricken amazing-strategy lab

Regina iStock Photo

viet thai regina

 

 

The winter in Regina.

The Regina winter makes people feel so upset the cars and truck can not even drive the right way.

The Regina soundstage.

The street of no ends.

The lights of winter time.


There is no filming here, sorry.


The summer cars waiting.

The winter time.

The snow time of Regina.

The life in Regina.

My new ring is coming.

Ford models rule Regina winter time.

The lights of green mile, Riders go!

The end of the line road.

The YMCA of Regina is the best gym to work out at.

whens the last time you bought something from a salesperson that you weren’t in the market for

If you want donations to your cause don’t ask for money 

If you want me to buy something the last way to do that is by trying to sell it to me. What you need to do is pitch me your why. 

I still remember the Tweet. It was from Kayla Kozan, she said “Someone trying to sell you a watch is probably a watch sales-person.” Meaning, if someone is trying to get you to buy something you should simply say no because they obviously have an interest in you buying it from them.

How do you sell in a world where Vacuum Cleaner sales people no longer exist? 

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Youtube sask pavilion Jeph

The Worst Month of My Life

​One of the worst parts of my younger years was ironically during the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics. I say Ironically because unless you’re a close friend of mine, you’ve never heard this story. And it really wasn’t that bad looking back, while I was there I was going through utter turmoil .

My videographer friend (Riley Moynes) and I were hired to be the online video bloggers for the Saskatchewan pavilion during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics! What an unbelievable experience I said, you have to do it I said to my self, at any cost. At any cost. 

And boy did it cost a lot, but my trade off was I learned so much while being there, a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.

When we agreed to do it we thought we could have a lot of fun doing Rick Mercer style interviews while producing Vice style video blogs. That’s wasn’t what we were hired to do. The Government representative flat out did not want this to come across as fun, no no, she had a much different idea. We were to report back to her with all video ideas before we were to shoot them. She’d send the ideas about to her counterparts in Saskatchewan and decision by committee made our lives pretty shitty for a while. Talk about micromanagement! I loathed it.

On top of terrible working situation I was staying in an apartment with a friend that was a bus, then train ride away to and from the Sask Pavilion. We didn’t have a fridge, 45 minute commute on a good day, a hour and a bit on a bad day. It was hell on earth. I know why people in big cities are miserable a lot of the time, it’s draining to commute so much. Every day the same, every day no more fun just shitty videos. I had to eat out every day on the same budget I was used to in Regina. I ended up using my credit card way to much. But I had no choice, it was a once in a lifetime experience, you don’t give up during those experiences. You bite your tung, you lie to yourself, you say everything will be alright. 

I got home sick. So home sick my friend Derek asked if I wanted him to fly my girlfriend out there. It was a nice gesture, I declined.

My saving grace was Riley. He talked me off the ledge several times there, one day I had my head set on leaving early, but he convinced me to stay. We Sushi’d lots, went to a couple Olympic events, and one morning we almost lost him to a riot downtown Vancouver. He edited the videos we shot every day, he was a machine, I really don’t know how he did it. He had to work way more than I did, but that’s why I’ve always looked up to him. That’s why I still look up to him, he did everything I had to do without complaining. Incredible.

Towards the end of the Olympics we started just shooting our own thing. We thought “what the hell! They can’t fire us now, right?!”. Ironically those are the videos you won’t find on Tourism’s Youtube channel. HA! My favourite video to shoot was when Riley convinced me to wear green tights, a green cape and a watermelon on my head, we were going Rider fan hunting!! By far the funnest day. We had people from all walks of life yelling at us, heckling us with most of it in good fun.

Now I look back on it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. A once in a lifetime experience that’s for sure. Most days we had a blast! We went to a curling semi final, women’s hockey game, and got busted one night for bringing a Mickey of rum into the pavilion. (beers were like $100, you can’t blame me, blame Vancouver!).

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Purple Cow

Welcome To The @StratLab Office

Marc’s first day

 if-you-want-to-go-far-go-alone

Kind of a motto around here. “If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far join us.” Stop trying to do things on your own and find an all-star team to help you.

Super Hero Office

We have a lot of “Super Hero” symbolism around the office. Jordan Mcfarlen told me a story about a time he visited Silicon Valley. He went to a place called “Draper University” and in the incubator part of Draper they had a “Hero Alley”. A place where the walls inspired you to be a hero. To be selfless, humble, hard working and to be a great teammate. We love it and our office will always have Superhero’s in it!

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