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

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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If Vacuum Cleaner Sales People No Longer Exist How The Hell Do They Sell Vacuums

If Vacuum Cleaner Sales People No Longer Exist How The Hell Do They Sell Vacuums?

Ask Dyson or Roomba.

You don’t sell by selling anymore, you sell by doing something different.

Different enough to get someone to talk about you. That’s it. Not different to be goofy, no, different to be top-of-mind in your market space. That spot is left to the most innovative companies in the world, and you can do it too.

Vacuum cleaner sales people no longer exist. At one time what a great profession! Think about it, you choose your own hours, you get exercise while working, you get to meet new people all the time and you choose how much money to make. Based on the amount of hours you put in, you can make a lot in a very little amount of time.

You can see why many people went into this profession, good wages, fun work, what more could you ask for. The better you could manipulate sell people on a vacuum, the more money you were to make. The problem is that way of thinking doesn’t work anymore.

i am the future

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iphones-personality - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

FREE downloadable smartphone wallpapers to give your phone some personality!

Ladies and Gentleman Edwardo Alvaro has done it again.

Whether it’s “Pizza is my Bae” stickers or inspiring cartoon posters, Eddy sure does not disappoint. These free downloadable smartphone wallpapers can show people how you feel without even telling them! Imagine that!

Lost your voice at the Lot club last night but what to let your friend know you’re feeling happy? Send em a screen shot!

Cute! - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

(Happy)

Happy - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

(Freakin’ Excited!!!)

 Mad - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

(Rather Perturbed)

Sad - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

(Lazy and Upset)

Silly - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

(Just ate a sour souther)

Tired - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

(Just got bad feedback from a client)

iphones-personality - Downloadable smartphone wallpaper

What emotions should Eddy make next?

If we pick yours and Eddy makes it, Jeph owes you a lottery ticket!

chews-me-alex-painter

The Best Resume Ever

you-can-either-fit-in-or-stand-out-not-both

“You can either fit in or stand out but you can’t do both.”       -Seth Godin

Ladies and gentlemen I introduce to you Alex Painter. I met Alex years ago on a Realtor competition. He wore a bowtie then and he still wears a bowtie.

Yes he IS Gumin’ At You!

Gumin' at you!

Alex is a different character, he’s creative, well spoken and generally the type of guy you want to be around. Alex was moving to Banff and wanted a job in the hospitality industry, but not just any job, an awesome job. Thinking there would be a lot of competition for jobs in Banff, Alex wasn’t going to make a resume like a shmuck, Alex needed to show potential employers who he really was. He needed to show them he was “Gumin’ at them!”.

He’ll tell you the idea came from a friends Dad who was trying to help him standout amongst all the other boring job applications.

chews-me-alex-painter

“Chews Me!” it reads along with Alex’s contact information and a picture of himself. If you cut open the pack, his references are on the inside. To cap it all off included is actual spearmint gum*(see the comment section for the type of gum).

cut-here-for-references

Off to Banff he went with several packs of “Chews Me” gum in tow.

How brilliant!!!

So the real question is did it work?

You better believe it. Of the first three places he dropped off “gum” at, two places offered him a job on the spot. Wow.

The next time you want a “cool” job, remember how many people are handing out resumes. If you want to standout to a potential employers don’t be afraid to do something that shows who you really are. Alex is a one-of-kind gentlemen who isn’t afraid to push the status quo of resumes and job applications.

In a world where we’re dying for creativity, it’s ideas like this that get talked about and shared. When you risk doing something different, usually you get the reward you were never expecting.

You want to keep people around you who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries on what is possible. You never know what the real benefit is until you try.

 

* – I actually have no idea what kind of gum he used, I assumed it was spearmint but who knows!  See the comment below…

are-you-hiring-strategy-lab

Are You Hiring? // Eps 56 #InTheLab

Are you hiring?the-best-companies-are-always-hiring

I get this question more and more. The answer is always YES! And then the conversation usually goes to, “well can I drop off a resume?”  and my response is always the same, “no”. I don’t want your resume because that’s not an efficient way to tell if you’re going to work well with our team.

I want to know what you bring to the table. What’s your super power? What are you REALLY good at? What could you do endlessly for hours and hours without needing a break? These are the things I need to know.

It also helps being a part of a successful team. Just because if it was a successful team then you know they had to check their ego at the door.

We want team players, we want people willing to learn, people who never say those horrible words “I can’t”, people who don’t give up and people that actually care about something. Those are the people I want to work with.

It was Lorne Schnell in University who told us something I’ll never forget. “The best companies are always hiring, they may not be displaying a help wanted ad but they’re hiring, you just need to make the right pitch.” It’s not verbatim but you get his drift. If you speak in terms of the company you want to work with, what problem can you solve?

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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

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.

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