The Modern Day Security Blanket

The Modern Day Security Blanket

Have you ever been out in public, bored or not knowing what to do and your first reaction is to grab your phone? You do it all the time. On dates, with family, during meetings, that device is becoming the death of you.

Just like any child you need to understand what you’re doing so eventually you can leave your security blanket behind.

I really encourage people in our office to turn off notifications on their phones. All that beeping and buzzing is annoying, really think about what those notifications are. Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat? Email? Really what you’re doing is getting small shots of dopamine to your brain, it’s exciting, it’s verifying you’re “cool” but how much of it is just noise?

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The Only Two Things People Actually Want to Buy

Seth Godin has long been an inspiring figure around our office. His “be remarkable” mantra has been the foundation of a lot of what we do at Strat Lab. For a time our logo even incorporated Seth’s “purple cow” concept. So when I began searching for podcasts to listen to during my drives to and from the office and meetings last week Seth’s name naturally came up. While Seth doesn’t appear to keep up a regular weekly podcast himself, he makes frequent appearances on all manner of podcasts to do with marketing, business, and life. I happened to stumble across Krista Tippett’s amazing show On Being and cued up her interview with Seth, during which he dropped a concept that blew my mind a little bit.

It’s like this. There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to society and the economy. One is that people by their nature need stuff. Their main motivation is to buy as many “things” as possible. Success is determined by the number of things you have versus the people around you, and businesses should strive to create the shiniest things for the lowest possible price. Seth calls this mindset the “Walmart Economy”. Doesn’t quite sounds right, does it?

The other school of thought says that people don’t actually care about things all that much anymore. Our generation has gotten used to the instant gratification that comes with having “stuff” and its appeal has drastically worn off for us. Gone are the days when people prided themselves for having a slightly better barbecue than their next door neighbour. Instead, people only really care about things that can give them one of two things: Time and personal connections.

These are the two things we find ourselves lacking more and more as we seem to get busier and more plugged into a digital world that feels increasingly isolating. We tend to focus less on the bells and whistles of a product or service and instead prefer things (be it a gadget or an app) that save us much-needed time that we can spend doing things that we actually want to do. If it doesn’t save time, it better create ways to connect with other people in a meaningful way. Products that create communities give people the validation they used to get from having the shiniest new car. As a society that feels increasingly disconnected from one another, the companies that allow us to connect with like-minded people are the ones that will get our business.

This is the future Seth sees. In the world of Amazon where we can quickly and easily get the things we need with the click of a button, the things we want will be entirely things that achieve these two ends. So ask yourself, is my business saving people time or connecting people? If not, it might be time to rethink your widget.

 

You can judge a company by the way their people treat you

You Can Judge a Company By the Way Their People Treat you

You can judge a company by the way their people treat you

There was a moment I’ll never forget that made up my mind we needed to unfriend them on Facebook. A Stratlabber was on the phone with one of this companies main people and the conversations went something like, “do you think I have time to figure out where you’re going to setup your camera’s? I have more important things to do with my time.” It was harsh, it was completely uncalled for and I couldn’t believe someone would be so pompous. The ironic part was we were doing a video on this companies new and innovative approach to their industry. Wow, did we feel dumb. We trusted them. We put their logo on our website as a pride piece (have since taken it off).

It’s 2017 if you want to berate someone over the phone because you think they’re wasting your time all the power to you, but just know there are consequences. You can’t yell at someone too many times before they stop listening and stop caring all together. It’s a sign of your culture, if your people are that stressed out on the job that they scream and yell at the folks they’re working with, something needs to change. I don’t think you can operate like that for very long. Turn over increases, quality decreases, and anyone working there isn’t doing because they want to, but because it’s just a job.

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How To Be The Best Salesperson in the world

How To Be The Best Salesperson In The World

Lie to people

It’s unethical. It’s immoral at times. But if you want to be the best salesperson around just lie to people. Stretch the truth, “you look great in that shirt!”, “You definitely need the F-350!”, “You should go with the full rebrand package, it’ll be the best for your company!”

Lying to people may help you make a sale but you’re ruining a future relationship. People don’t forget.

There was a story of Patagonia, the retailer. They are known for being kind to the earth, their customers, and employees. I heard a story about an all-star salesperson. She was easily making her budgets sometimes setting records in the company for sales. So much success that the CEO had to go see how this person was doing such a bang-up job!

The CEO goes to the store to congratulate the employee, but instead instantly fires her on the spot. He had just witnessed this “all-star” employee lie to a customer so that they would buy a jacket. The CEO explained in a heartfelt email that Patagonia doesn’t want to simply just sell products, they help people what whatever it is they need. Over-selling to someone is a great way to lose a customer forever.

Just help people, no questions asked

The problem is people trust you, when you’re in a position of power (yes any salesperson is in a position of power) people look up to you, they assume you have their best interests in mind. When you take someone’s trust and use it to increase your sales, you will lose. Maybe not immediately, but in the long run you can’t keep finding new people to sell to, you’ll run out of repeat customers and won’t understand why.

You’ll blame marketing or sales. You’ll put more pressure on your salespeople, they won’t like that, they either get sleazier and “make a sale at any cost” or they quit. Both terrible options for the long-term viability of your company. Every time someone leaves, they tell more people about what you’re doing. It’s easy to blame marketing or sales for business strategy problems. Maybe it’s time you took your team off commission based pay, it’s ruining relationships.

I still think the worst people are the people who lie to you to help themselves out. The worst. Putting money before people is wrong.

 

Stop blaming sales start reinventing how you sell

Stop blaming “sales” start reinventing “how you sell

No one likes “selling”. I mean they probably LOVE the money from it but c’mon, convincing people to buy your wares? What is this? 1933? No one wants to buy from you. We want to be entertained, we want our friends to tell us about you, we want to fall in love what you do.

That’s hard, any new strategy in 2017 will be, but as long as your strategy is difficult you’re on the right track. Stop trying for the “easy sell”. The low hanging fruit exists in every industry, don’t fall for that, do what’s hard.

Go for the long sale. Don’t over sell. Remember, everyone has a much better memory now that you share on Instagram every day.

We remember when people fuck us over

It’s hard to forget when someone uses and abuses us and our wallets. If you do it, or work for a company that does it, be prepared for people to never hire you ever again. I remember people from 10 years ago that made a sale, not caring about the consumer (me), you just remember the feeling you got after. It’s very unpleasant.

You don’t need to make that extra recommendation. You don’t need to oversell to everyone, McDonald’s does that, you don’t need to.

How do you “sell” in 2017?

You be really, really, good. Give people a reason to hire you. Show the value in what you bring to the table and believe in yourself. Word-of-mouth has been and always will be the most powerful form of marketing, use it to your advantage.

Find moments to do the right thing, when there’s no monetary value

Caring about your people, helping other organizations in your community, doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. This is the new competitive advantage. Leopold’s and Victorias group in Regina, every year in December give away thousands of dollars to charities in the communities they operate. Victoria’s alone gave away $12,000 last year at Christmas time. When you have a choice of when to eat or drink it hard not to at least consider going to Leo’s or Vic’s because you probably know someone who was affected by the give-a-ways. I know I was.

Thank you @theunderstandus for doing what you do in our community! We are happy to support you!

A post shared by Leopold’s Tavern (@leopoldstavern) on

Both Leopold’s and Victoria’s had to do something different this past December, so why not try help in the fight against drinking and driving? Yup, offered free rides during the month of December is what they did! These are pubs that serve food and all they do for marketing is try to be “a good corporate citizen” is what business school called it, I call it the new cool! Because caring about your community is the new cool.


Hardpressed coming into the Queen city to sell their wares!? How do they get away with it? They are a Saskatoon company and people from Regina simply LOVE their clothing. Why? Yes it’s very comfy, yes it’s very stylish, but last year Hardpressed donated $8,000 to Carmichael Outreach after one of their pop-up sales. Do you want me to love you forever? Support the Non-profits that mean a lot to me. Hardpressed, Leopold’s and Victoria’s have done just that.

I’ll support these to organizations because at their very core, they believe in doing the right thing as a part of their business model. That’s something I can get behind.

 

 

In a society that profits from your self doubt-liking yourself is a rebellious act

You Have To Love Yourself First

Loving others begins with being able to love yourself.

On a recent Tim Ferriss podcast I was listening to, Morgan Spurlock tells the story of Touré visiting Kanye West at his home.

“He went to Kayne’s house. So he’s inside Kanye’s house, and inside Kanye’s house there’s a big, giant picture of Kanye, like, right inside the living room. And so Toure said to him, he goes, Kanye, why do you have a giant picture of YOU on the wall?’ And Kanye goes, Well, I gotta cheer for me before anyone else can cheer for me.'”

And that’s why Kanye West has a picture of Kanye West in his own house.

You have to be your own champion first. If you can’t cheer for yourself, why would anyone else cheer for you? An important lesson Kanye West has taught me.

Then today on Instagram I saw my friend Tiffany’s post. I commented on it but it made me want to post this story. Liking yourself isn’t easy sometimes but you have to try.

In a society that profits from your self doubt

On the door of one of the offices at StratLab there’s a poorly designed poster with a weird smiling Alien that says (in Star Wars font) “GEBY”.

  • Gratitude (showing you care about something or someone makes you appreciate it/them more)
  • Exercise (see documentary “23.5 Hours” thanks Barb!)
  • Breakfast (you need some fuel)
  • You (do something for you)

Every morning if you do these four things you’re going to have a great day. Ironically, also learned on a Tim Ferriss podcast (the one with Noah Kagan).

What’s your hobby?

You have to start taking time out of your day to care for yourself. If you don’t know how to, ask someone how they do it. You’ll find it fascinating because generally no two people have the exact same things they do to take care of themselves. Or you’ll find people will give you a weird look like “I don’t do anything for myself I have (insert excuse here).” Generally I don’t keep exploring the conversation with those folks, they’re happily in their bubble of comfort.

Start loving yourself.

It’s rare in the business world. People are very willing to backstab a competitors, a coworker, even friends. People who do these things have no respect for themselves, and no respect for their reputation. In the end, you will be judged on how you treat others but also yourself. If you love yourself you have no reason to try to take stabs at others. You’ll have no reason to look at other people in a negative light. It all starts with loving yourself first.

In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act. 

 

“You Shouldn’t Take Moral Issues To The Stock Market, You’re Going To Be Disappointed”


Betting on Zero, a chilling documentary on the reality of how far a business is willing to go to increase shareholder value. 

I don’t like the stock market. This documentary reaffirms my beliefs in that.

The movie Betting on Zero is the tale of one venture capitalist versus another. A good battling evil story for the ages. But if you’re anything like me you probably Googled the company before the end of the documentary and were completely disappointed with our world.

Herbal Life is a pyramid scheme but it continues to grow and the stock price has increased since the movies release

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the marketing of medicine

The Marketing of Medicine

Who would you rather have operate on you, a newly minted Doctor recently out of her residency or a surgeon with 16 years of experience?

The statistics would indicate the later is more error prone than the former. That means if you think experience in the operating room matters you may be wrong. This post uncovers the hidden side of the medical industry that you never knew about. Freakonomics did a three part series called Bad Medicine, below are the three podcast and one marketers banter. 

What else could we simply be wrong about in the medical establishment? 

Prescription opioid use has gone up about 300-400 percent since the year 2000.

83% of all Oxycodon sales come from the United States.

Medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

Prescription opioid use has gone up about 300-400 percent since the year 2000

Do you think that the United States has 83% of the World’s pain?

America is a world leader in the consumption of painkillers? We’ve created a pill dependant society always searching for the next quick fix. It’s always so easy to ask the doc for one more prescription, just something different, maybe a new pain killer will work. Maybe not.

Bad Medicine Part 1 – The Story of 98.6

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social media by banksy

The Most Infamous Street Artist of All Time 

He stands up for what he believes in. Love him or hate hime, Banksy makes you think different.

One of the most prolific artists of our time and the most famous street artists in the world. Banksy’s style of anti-authority and entertaining political commentary within his art, makes him loved by many and hated by some. One thing is for sure, you can’t ignore street art. It makes your city look better and it creates inspiration out of a blank space. The more artists the better.

 

this was not my dream-banksy

“This was not my dream.”

Let them eat crack

“Let them eat crack” beside the infamous Banksy Rat. A spin on the ol’ “let them eat cake!”.

 

A caveman delivering a fast-food meal.

The crying kid might be my favourite, I think it sums up our society quite well.

“Kissing Coppers”

Einstein with a bottle of Jameson is the funnier part of this Banksy piece. To top it off he adds “Just Google it!”, another comment on society’s addiction to simple solutions and no longer worries about the bigger problems in our world.

Many people recognize the original sayings he’s using, then he makes it “Banksy” by adding “cancelled” by the desperately looking painter.

Stop Wars.

The stop and search painted in Palestine.

In Palestine….

Enjoy your lie.

banksy tidying up your sons face

Making sure he’s go to go for school. A constant reminder that unconditional love is unconditional love.

banksy-no ball games

No Ball Games!

banksy-robot grafiti

Robot Graffiti.

graffiti is a crime

“Graffiti is a crime”

what we do in life eccos in eternity

What we do in life echoes in eternity.

if graffiti changed anything

If graffiti changed anything-it would be illegal.”

 

if at first you don't succeed call in an air strike

Pretty relevant in our world today. We’re so quick to call the boss, manager, Mom, teacher or whoever, and call in a preverbal Airstrike.

banksy crayons as bullets

No parking.

one original thought is worth

 

“One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings.” -Diogenes

Saskatchewan in Keywords – May 2017

May 2017 will go down in history as the month of the fidget spinner.

For any of who don’t know, Google Trends is a wicked cool tool that allows you to view real time Google search query data by location visualized. You can view the top search keywords in a given industry or generally across the the country or province over the past day, week, quarter, month, or year. Typically the top Google searches from month to month are more or less what you’d expect (some iteration of “Google”, “Facebook”, “YouTube”, “weather”, “news”, etc.), but what I find more interesting is the fastest rising keywords in a given month, or those which have experienced the highest increase in search volume. You can view these above by clicking the bottom right-hand arrow and selecting “Rising”. Here are the search terms which will now and forever define May 2017 in Saskatchewan.

 

Cinco De Mama

Topping the list by a wide margin are searches related to the tragic suicide of Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell last week. Everyone’s favourite excuse to drink tequila at 11 in the morning Cinco De Mayo also topped this month’s search queries. Predictably, searches spiked dramatically for Mother’s Day as absent-minded sons and daughters (myself included) scrambled to remember what day it actually was, only to forget and look it up again a few days later. You’ll also notice a fairly significant increase in searches related to the latest craze in boredom-suppression: fidget spinners.

 

Despacito Means “Slowly” in Spanish

In addition to raw web search results, Google Trends also let’s you view to the fastest rising search terms on YouTube specifically. This month Miley Cyrus’s latest hit Malibu drew a great deal of attention and, correspondingly, a considerable amount of search traffic. A tearful performance at this week’s Billboard Music Awards didn’t hurt either. Topping the charts for increased search results on YouTube this month was…Wait a second…Fidget spinners again? What the heck is going on?

Okay, let’s try one more thing. Finally, Google Trends allows you to narrow keyword searches to those used in Google Images. There has to be something interesting there, right?

 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME FIDGET SPINNERS AGAIN. The only discernibly higher search phrase for images in Saskatchewan with an increase of 150% was fidget spinners. Wow.

May 2017 ladies and gents, the official month of fidget spinners in Saskatchewan.

 

PS: For reference, here’s what the trend line for fidget spinners looks like over the past year. Wild, right?

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