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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Why You Don't Need a Marketing Strategy

Why You Don’t Need a Marketing Strategy // eps 50 #inthelab

Why You don’t Need a Marketing Strategy

How many small startups have a marketing strategy? I’d venture a guess as very few. No I don’t mean a “marketing plan” I mean an actual strategy with tactics, objectives, and intended outcomes. Rarely do startups care about marketing because if you have to rely on marketing to make your product or service successful you’re not going to be.

How many recent extremely successful products or services have grown exponentially because of a marketing strategy? I’d guess very few. The reason something catches fire is one part luck and one-part remarkability.

Remarkability: The odds that someone will talk about your company, product, service or organization.

Most business owners think of marketing as logos and commercials when really it about getting people to spread your story. There’s nothing traditional about marketing in 2016.

You don’t need a marketing strategy. A lot of people will tell you you do. Professors of marketing, those who’ve never practiced their theories just taught them in the classroom are the worst at spreading the lies about why you need a marketing strategy.

They’ll say you can’t be “off brand” and that every communication you make needs to be consistent.

“Mind your four p’s!” they’ll tell you, even though three out of the four are almost obsolete or useless for your company. Price, Place, Product, Promotion.

Marketing needs to start at the beginning of the planning process of your product or service.

I love the Seth Godin quote “Advertising is the tax for the unremarkable.”

Advertising is the tax for the unremarkable

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Do you think people want to follow a faceless company online

How The Golden Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy // eps 45 #InTheLab

How The Golden Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy

Common sense is not so common when it comes to social media. “Businesses act too much like businesses online” – Conrad Hewitt

Conrad shares with us why he thinks a lot of companies get it wrong with it comes to social media and their online marketing presence. Running accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram he sees it all right now and from the sounds of it he’s not happy! It’s easy to sound professional and to echo “business jargon”, it’s hard to create a personality that people come to like and trust.

It’s hard to argue against developing a personality online with so many local examples (@ReginaPolice, @KiltedBroker, @Eric_Dillon@BradWall, @Nenshi). All these folks don’t exactly “follow the rules” when it comes to social and their fans absolutely adore it. Don’t take yourself (or your business) to seriously online.

With the amount of options we all have to buy what you are selling from someone else, you have to figure out a way to cut through the clutter. Being different is now the safest thing your brand can be.

I wish your pictures on Instagram were more business like

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What Does Strategy Lab Actually Do?

I was in a meeting this year and a lady, not knowing what we do, asked this most important question I had ever been asked around a boardroom table.

What do you actually do?

Simple right? Unless you’re a part of a brand new marketing strategy company who specializes in Social Media, marketing strategy and web design. What do we actually do? Make organizations smarter.

What we actually do is quite simple. We find out why you make sales, we find out why sometimes you don’t make sales and together we try and do more of the stuff that makes more sales. We find the best parts of your business and put them online for the world to find.

We base our strategy on the methodology, research, create, engage, measure.

Research: we find everything we can about your organization and your competitors.

Create: we develop your story and begin telling it somewhere (yes somewhere, we’re not sure until we talk to you, it could be Facebook, Twitter, a website, who the heck knows where!)

Engage: we establish a communication strategy including a method of acquiring feedback from your customers.

Measure: finally we develop a way to measure sales increases based on online lead generation. Yes we measure social media, no it’s not impossible we’ve done it lots before. Besides measuring lead generation and conversion rate we also use a lovely customer service measurement tool called Net Promoter Score. And remember, if someone tells you that you can’t measure social media, give them a Ken from Street Fighter uppercut.

We don’t claim to do anything we can’t, and we don’t try to be bigger than we are. We help smart companies who want to grow, with their marketing and strategy. We help you make more informed decisions based on data. We help you measure what matters to your business.

If you think we might be able to help you or if you just have some questions on marketing we’d love to chat. Leave a comment below or check out our contact us page (it’s pretty sweet…)

Video: On How To Stand Out

How do you stand out?

In Practically Radical Practically RadicalBill Taylor introduces the concept of “Vuja de thinking”. A way to look at a problem from a completely different perspective, or lens, like if this was the first time you had ever looked at this problem. (replace ‘problem’ with ‘strategy’) The book gives a lot of great examples of organizations that just think differently.  Here’s a good little PDF on Vuja De Thinking.

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People don't pay attention to boring things.

Video: The Future of Marketing – Social Objects

If you think it’s social media is the future of marketing you are way off kilter.  Social media is merely a means to and ends, a tool, a medium for communication. Social media is not a strategy.

What happens when communication goes from being expensive (press releases, billboards, 30 second spot) to relatively free (website, blog, Twitter account)? We get a fire-hose of information, which makes it much more difficult to standout amongst the crowd.  (more noise than signal)

Enter Social Objects, they are the videos we share with friends, the pictures that get retweeted, the reason we tell stories about companies, the reason we remain extremely loyal to some brands.  It’s all because of social objects.  If something is worth sharing then it is a social object.  Billboards can be social objects, commercials can be social objects, products can definitely be social objects.  Anything that’s worth telling somebody about, is by definition, a social object.

As a marketer it is now your job to create social objects.

Here’s a video on Social Objects:

Sidenote:

Social objects aren’t created over night.  What usually seems like a major breakthrough, is the result of a long process of improving upon the first iteration.  The iPod for example may appear to have been a remarkable social object that happened overnight for Apple, when actually it was the product of many different versions improving upon the prior version.

Because creating a social object is difficult, many companies purposely try not to, if it was easy everyone would do it.

Video: The Only Two Reasons You Go On The Internet

There are only two reason why people go online; to either solve a problem or to entertain themselves, nothing else.

Think about it, you never just “waste time”, you’re solving a news, banking, work, vehicle, or home related problem or you’re entertaining yourself.  Gossip sites, games, the news, all forms of entertainment.  Twitter can be both, entertaining and solving a problem.  Reddit, YouTube, Facebook, are mostly entertaining but can solve problem for us.  E-mail newsletters for the most part don’t solve a problem, neither do they entertain, hence why average open rate for e-mail newsletters is dismally low.