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.

7 Buzzwords You Need to Stop Using at Business Meetings & in Life in General

7 Buzzwords You Need to Stop Using at Business Meetings & in Life in General

We all have come across those winners in meetings that love to use the latest business buzzword. You know the ones? They recite words and phrases you know they just heard for the first time while watching the Dragon’s Den last night.

You realize soon after school that the vocabulary you use has very little to do with your life and is more so correlated with pretentiousness. Yet the words below are used everyday, some times more than once, in offices and during meetings all over the world in hundreds of different languages. Well I’m sure other languages have their own overused meaningless terms that tend to follow the commerce crowd.

Before you start remember these are just opinions, please don’t be offended. Instead add your own overused word or phrase. Heck lets make this list longer!! Comment below with yours!!

Let's form proactive synergy restructuring teams

1. Synergy

The obvious one. Just stop it. Nothing says I’m a first year business student than using Synergy on purpose in a sentence. The exception to the rule you say? There is only one. Unless you work in the Easton Hockey stick Museum and you’re referring to my gold 2001 Easton Synergy Hockey stick you should never ever use the “S” word in a sentence.

 

2. Networking

Just a fancy term for people who don’t know how to make friends. Pro tip, stop networking and start doing things that matter. Volunteer, run for a board, help a non-profit, coach, be a big brother, do something that isn’t easy. Just showing up to an event and putting on a name tag isn’t hard. Volunteering countless hours for a great cause is a brilliant way to make new friends.

Do ANYTHING other then go to specific events just to “meet” people for the sake of a business relationship. Yuck.

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Can I buy you a like

Can I Buy You a Like? | Edgar Alan Poems Vol 3

A Facebook page IS free but technically so is annoying your neighbour.
Yes you can have a Facebook page but it’d going to take some labour.

No one cares about your business online, especially not on Facebook

No one cares about your business online, especially not on Facebook.
If you want to more customers in time, maybe try a new hook?

Don’t tell people to like your posts, post things that people want to like.
“I got 5000 engagements the manager boasts!” But not the slightest website traffic spike.

So how do you do it? How do you get tons of people to like your page?
Do you have to shock and aww? Post videos of Jimmy Page?

No, treat them like humans, have fun and create a personality.
Never try to sell, your promotions won’t work, that’s the reality.

That’s why you must bribe them with wine!
Just kidding you can’t give away alcohol online.

But you can hold a contest, it doesn’t have to be that hard.
Find a local store and give away a gift card!

Lastly if a tribe is something that you don't want to grow and you'd rather ride bikes

Lastly if a tribe is something that you don’t want to grow and you’d rather ride bikes,
Don’t worry, you can go to Fiverr and purchase all of your Facebook Page likes!

 

If you liked this one you may like “The New Age Marketing Rap

Monetize the website monetize the Facebook monetize our blog! Figure how much profit we can make

Monetize the website monetize the Facebook monetize our blog! Figure how much profit we can make

The New Age Marketing Rap | Edgar Alan Poems Vol 1

Everyone thinks they understand the marketing game.
But when you see their work, they’re so afraid to go against the grain.

“It doesn’t work on me”, everyone thinks they understand advertising.
Then they only buy pop-culture products by name brands, to me that’s not surprising.

The marketing world has been based on selling more eye balls, I need more exposure, more impressions, more branding!
The smart companies know that if they spend more on Customer service and making a better product, when the smoke clears they will be the ones left standing.

We’re about to enter the marketing war, you have no choice in this matter.
But it’s not about a bigger megaphone to try and create more useless banter.

We're about to enter the marketing war, you have no choice in this matter. But it's not about a bigger megaphone to try and create more useless banter

That’s what we don’t like, your boring message that’s supposedly tailored to my “demographic”.
Really you don’t care about my opinion of your product, you’re making a feeble attempt at increasing your website traffic.

The war of traditional versus the future, we’ve seen this battle before.
Older people don’t like to change but the younger generation can hardly wait for what’s in store.

Agencies have ruled over the marketing world for long enough, I wonder how they’re going to adapt.
When you work for one and offer an idea outside TV, radio, or print, you’re bound to get your hand slapped.

“Recommend billboards or TV, we make a quick 15% off every ad we sell!”
It’s this mentality at agencies that makes me think their business model is about to go through hell.

Monetize the website, monetize the Facebook, monetize our blog!
Figure how much profit we can make, heck put our logo on that dog!

You think I hate mass media, commercials are bad and have no use for the newspaper.
It’s not the medium, it never was, it’s your attitude I have a problem with, you sound like Don Draper.

it's your attitude i have a problem with you sound like don draper

You assume people want to hear about what your company has to say.
But for 98% of us we could care less about your company while going about our day to day.

Stop trying to get more exposure and stop interrupting me while I listen, watch and read.
Focus on the 2% and make sure you’re there the second your service is in need.

Have a conversation with your customers and realize you need feedback to grow.
Your other option is to listen to no one and change nothing, this last opportunity you will inevitably blow.

As marketing budgets get slashed and business models turned upside down, bankruptcy is no longer the “unthinkable”.
If you don’t want to adapt, if you don’t change the course. Always remember the titanic was touted as being unsinkable.

Experience will tells us it’s too risky to change, “focus on your strengths, don’t follow fads”.
Instagram and Snapchat seem like effort, it’s much easier just to buy ads.

Now here’s your warning, I’m delighted to let you know.
If you ignore the conversation and keep interrupting us, it’ll start to show.

You’ll alienate your loudest customers and they’ll be sure to let everyone know,
what an ignorant company you are and to your competition they’ll go.

The companies that will win have something you can’t get from an agency.
A dedicated tribe of people who care dearly about your company.

So fire the marketing department and hire a philanthropist or nine.
Begin your tribe by telling your story to the world online.

Written in January 27, 2012. Originally titled “The Marketing Rap”.

Your Favourite show you've never seen

Your Favourite Show You’ve Never Seen // #SocialTV Season 2 eps 1

Welcome back to another exciting season of #SocialTV. With your hosts Greg Moore and Jeph Maystruck.

A couple years ago at Access Communications for channel 7, Greg and Jeph hosted a show together called “Social TV”, the show about local social media stories. We had a riot!! But our viewership never really took off much past my friend Garth. Garth PVR’d every episode. So between Greg’s family and my friend Garth we didn’t have a major following. That didn’t deter us!

Now our dearly beloved Social TV is now onto Season Two of social media madness on air. This time around we’ll be able to share the videos ONLINE, in a medium that doesn’t attempt to control the message. Funny how it took us this long to truly make social TV, well, social.

Greg has a brilliant mind on marketing(works at Look Agency) and he does a podcast on hockey too. He also sends me articles like this….will this be on the test?

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Stratlab a year in review

2015 Year in Review at Strategy Lab || ep 42 #inthelab

Growth, experiments, and a whole lot of page views! The 2015 wrap up of Strategy Lab Marketing, the little marketing engine that could do the impossible!

4 new @stratlab t-shirt designs

6 new posters

7 new postcards

11 new stickers

42 #inthelab episodes filmed and published

48 presentations given

56 websites Built

85 websites monitored in Google Analytics

1,205 likes on Instagram

1,242 lottery tickets given away

1,575 keywords tracked weekly in Moz

89,983 website page views on strategylab.ca

1,161,000 pages crawled weekly in Moz 

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Upliftingstshirts dot see eh website

The Aftermath of UpliftingT-shirts.ca | eps 40 #InTheLab

“It worked, it really worked!”

We went into this class not knowing what to expect. It was my first time teaching entrepreneurship and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity for some hands on learning!! A few weeks back before we started UpliftingTshirts.ca I filmed this #InTheLab episode asking the question, how do you teach entrepreneurship?  At that time I had no idea what would happen with our newly founded company disguised as an experiment disguised as a class.

A business disguised as an experiment disguised as a class

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We all see the world through a different lens

Perspective: The Most Underrated Quality in Creating Design || Eps 38 #InTheLab


This week Eddy and I are talking about perspective. Why do we trust designer? What do create professionals see that others do not? What’s so special about having taste?  

Trust your designer

There’s a reason they are a designer, they have perspective. Trust them. Any creative needs some free reign over what they’re doing, they are artists after all. Don’t micro manage any creative process, that’s a great way to create something extremely mediocre.

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