Archive for December, 2010
My friend Amy Bondar always takes time to reflect at the end of the year on what she is grateful for in the year past and what she envisions for the year to come. We recently met up for lunch to share our thoughts and realized she came with a full retrospective of 2010 and I showed up with some dreams I hope to make come true in 2011. So in Amy’s honour, I thought it would be a good exercise for me to take some time out of the busy holiday season to truly think about the amazing moments of 2010.
A few months ago, my sister started speaking “brand.” She was suddenly talking about why people like her love the Lucky brand, or why some people prefer Ed Hardy and how lust was causing me to buy an outrageously priced Starbucks drink. She talked about what causes us to identify with certain brands. I was stunned. How the hell did she instantly have a wealth of knowledge on brand that was equal to my 10 years of marketing experience?
The book with all the secrets
“Fascinate,” she said. “It’s a book by a woman who I heard on the CBC.” She kindly lent it to me when she was done reading it. I gobbled it up.
Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers To Persuasion And Captivation by Sally Hogshead lives up to its name. It is indeed fascinating to see her deconstruct the seven triggers that can be activated to get your desired result (in the case of most companies, it’s to get consumers to buy, and ideally to buy for an illogically high price).
I’m not the kind of person who waits till New Year’s Eve to start thinking about how I’m going to change my life. This year the desire to do something different came in early December and it had nothing to do with flossing twice a day, getting to the gym more often or eating healthier. I decided I was going to go big or go home. I decided, instead, to make an outrageous commitment.
Here’s how I define an “outrageous commitment:”
- It’s not time-bound. It doesn’t have to happen in the next 12 months starting on January 1. It doesn’t even have to happen in the next decade. It’s just something you want to do at some point before you die. If you want a time goal, you can define the period.
- It comes from deep within. It’s not rational, it’s not logical, it may not make any sense to the mental mind. It’s just a desire that burns within and is dying to be acknowledged and expressed.
- It’s surprising, even to those who know you best. It’s best if it surprises the people who think they know you best because that means it’s truly something that’s from deep within. It’s even better if it surprises you!
- It’s a commitment you make for you and only you. It’s not something you are doing to prove to anyone else (or even yourself). It’s just a commitment that you want to make.
Okay, so here’s my outrageous commitment: I am going to do yoga teacher training. I’m aiming to do it in the next two years but if that fails, before I’m 40 is fine. Now, you tell me, what’s your outrageous commitment?
On the eve of Christmas eve, I got a surprising email from Vince Panero at Coconut Bliss. Here’s what it said:
Congratulations! I wanted to let you know that you were a selectee for this year’s SHARE YOUR BLISS campaign. You ‘shared your bliss’–full of art, video, poetry, photos, music! We appreciate that you took the time to share it with us.
And now the best part–we’ll be sending you a “A NIGHT OF BLISS” tasting party kit. They’ll be mailed out to you in the next few weeks! Please open them when they reach you, look over the contents of the package and please let me know if you have any questions. They will include:
a) free pint coupons for Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss
b) a ‘bliss bowl’ courtesy of our local artist, Amy Palatnik http://www.etsy.com/shop/amypalatnick
c) a Coconut Bliss ‘Chico Bag’
d) a bottle of Holy Kakow chocolate sauce to dribble over it…
e) a pack of Grizzlies Granola to sprinkle on top
f) a pack of nibs from our friends at Earth Circle Organics, as another topping
g) bliss! bliss! bliss!
Congratulations from all of us here at the Coconut Bliss office & thanks for helping to make this year a huge success!!!
I often complain about not ever winning anything, so imagine my delight when I got this email in response to a blog I wrote earlier about Coconut Bliss ice cream.
A winning brand
I have to say, I’m impressed with the marketing and product teams at Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss. They are really engaged (see Kiley’s responses on my $9 ice cream blog), they make it personal (getting an email from the Director of Marketing instead of a generic corporate email saying I was a winner), they give away complementary products to winners from equally desirable brands (I love Etsy!), and they truly create some of the finest non-dairy all-natural ice cream I’ve ever had. They’ve really got all the ingredients for a winning brand.
From one winner to another, congratulations on being a great brand, Coconut Bliss!
Last night I decided to drop by my co-worker’s blog, www.versusboredom.com, and write a guest post about a movie my family recently watched: Cooking with Stella. It’s about an innocent Canadian diplomatic family that moves to New Delhi for a term only to meet some very wily Indians. It’s full of surprises (some good, some not so good), quick-witted one-liners and some beautiful cinematography by Giles Nuttgens (who shot Water for Deepa Mehta).
Lots of people are asking how the hell I managed to burn my butt cheeks and my hand a few weeks ago. Many theories floated around the office (involving bath tubs, hot water tanks, wax and tea) till I got back to work to clear up the stories. So I figured it’s probably best that I just tell you what happened. I apologize in advance for the lack of progress pictures. I thought about it but since the burns affected my right hand, it was very awkward for me to take photos. Sorry.
One day a long time ago, my best friend Sarah, asked me to go to a “cleaning party.” We’re in our thirties, so this kind of an outing is considered a girl’s night out. And much to my satisfaction, it proved to be eye-opening, educational and entertaining.The only thing I wasn’t expecting was dropping over $300 in cleaning supplies. But what’s a night out without a little surprise at the end?
Norwex: The clean way to clean
We were introduced to Brandy Corcoran, the Norwex lady. She started her presentation by introducing us to a line of non-chemical cleaning products that keep your home healthy and clean while saving you time and money. They carry everything from laundry detergent, cleaning cloths, bath and face towels, window cloths, athletic products, toilet cleaners, toothbrushes, mops, dusters, mattress cleaners, scrubbers, you name it. Many of the products are guaranteed to work for up to two years, and if anything isn’t quite as you expect, it’s super simple to get it replaced or get refunded.
My friend Edith loooooooooooves her dog. Almost two years ago, she adopted Rogue, an astute little Blue Heeler/Border Collie cross. Since then I’ve seen a whole new side of Edith. The “dog person” side of her. The side of her that always asks how Gracie (our Labradoodle) is doing. The side of her that wants to meet up at the park with the dogs when she’s otherwise not such a social person. The side of her that would rather be teaching Rogue how to whisper than spending time in the kitchen preparing culinary delights (she was a sous-chef for years before the adoption).
Premium pet supplies without premium prices in Calgary
The other day I got a phone call Edith telling me that after many painful months of paying through the nose for good pet supplies for Rogue, she decided to sign up as a distributor at Anipet. From one dog person to another, she wanted me to know that she was going to be ordering some of the best brands of pet supplies at deep discounts for friends and family. For example:*
- Bags on Board poop bags 4 pack or dispenser with 2 rolls for $4.99 or 2 for $7.98 (compared to $9.99 at Petland)
- Bags on board poop bags 8 pack for $8.99 or 2 for $14.99 (compared to $18.97 at Petland)
- Chuckit! Ultra balls at $7.99 or 2 for $14.99
- Chuckit! Glow balls at $6.99
- Chuckit! launchers starting at $6.99 (pocket size) or $9.99 (original size)
- Chuckit! tennis balls standard 4 pack 2.5″ for $5.99 or 2 pack for $3.49
- Three types of booties, all park tested for stay-on power
- ECOgear backpack in green, orange, pink or blue from $27.99 – $45.99
- Meteorlite LED glow ball for $14.99 or $25 for two (we use them and they are awesome for winter!)
About a month ago, I was cruising urbanspoon and discovered Tango Bistro, a new Calgary restaurant that rated an impressive 89%. Let me tell you it’s earned every percentage point; both Bruce and I absolutely loved the philosophy, the atmosphere, the experience, the service and, of course, the food!
Only tapas, smaller sized portions, local and regional fresh ingredients, no heat lamps, taste above all else. Reasonable prices (lots of stuff under $10).
Wooden floors, not too loud/not too quiet, wine bottle feature walls, large dining tables perfect for families, great little inlets for privacy, casual but stylish. No long lines or waiting at the door forever for a table.
Too many companies fall into the trap of thinking making money is the goal. It’s not and when this becomes the goal, you’ve seriously lost your marbles. The problem is that you can make money all sorts of ways that aren’t sustainable or good for the customer. For example:
- Add hidden fees
- Increase prices without increasing value
- Shed low-margin products that customers like
How about thinking about what you truly want to do for your customers, or better yet, what you want to do for a community or niche? Then think about what they need that is in your realm of competency. And give it to them. And charge them the right price for it.
Revenue is not an objective. It’s the outcome of solving customer problems well.