HOW TO SUSTAIN YOUR STARTUP SUCCESS

business, creative collaboration, digital content strategy, Email Marketing, Influencer marketing, instagram, instagram insight, Instagram marketing, Marketing in the Moment, marketing muscle, marketing plans, social media, social media marketing, Technology, the future of branding

This list of market building business tips about how to stay on course while you design epic products and services for the world was originally created for my daughter who is a hard-working, bad-ass fashion designer. Like every child ever born, she asks for advice daily and then ignores a lot of it. SO THAT IS WHY THERE IS SO MUCH EMOTION BEHIND THIS POST.  All of these tips apply to anyone making anything. They work and they are important and today is a SPECIAL DAY because she is FINALLY heeding more of this advice. Amen.

Sure she’s nervous, as any startup who has achieved a bit of success would be. You might be nervous too – the big question – how do I sustain the success? Especially in the finicky world of Insta-fashion.   Here, I humbly give you YOUR GUIDING STRATEGY FOR STAYING  & GROWING SUCCESSFULLY.

WAKE UP, DESIGN, REPEAT

Design EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY.  Do not let a morning go by without designing. That means you don’t answer emails or texts or schedule meetings unto 1 pm every day. Why? Because the life of your authentic brand depends on you DESIGNING. Designing can mean sketching, shopping vintage, eating something delicious, going to an inspiring store, museum, listening to music – WHATEVER MAKES YOUR CREATIVE MINDFLOW BABY. The only reason you are in business is that you designed epicness in the first place. There is a lot of stuff people can buy out there, they are choosing to drop their bank on yours. KEEP THOSE CUSTOMERS HAPPY.

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DEVELOP SYSTEMS FOR REPETITIVE STUFF.

What is a system? A set of rules that a baby monkey can do. They just learn the system (written or video instructions) and they do it.

Develop a system for responding to customers emails including templates for their frequently asked questions.

Develop a system for making sizing 1,000% CLEAR for all customers. Put it on the website.

Develop a system for ordering office stuff – like your favorite drinks, food, printer ink. Yes. make a list for the intern or assistand – where to go, when to reorder, how to pay for it. Make it so YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TELL HIM OR HER WHAT TO DO.

Develop a system for packing items for shipment – include the surprise and delight gift – write it down or video it for the new interns. Then make them watch it. Show them PRECISELY HOW YOU LIKE IT DONE.

If you are complaining that an intern or assistant isn’t doing something the way you like it, it is YOUR FAULT. You didn’t set up the easy-to-learn systems.

TAKE PRE-ORDERS ON ALL NEW DESIGNS

The best rule of business is to MARKET BEFORE YOU MANUFACTURER. This is done by the best, most SUCCESSFUL companies. Create the demand BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY MAKE THE style. How?? Start sharing the backstory of design on your Instagram and Pinterest (YES PINTEREST) accounts. Show your customers the inside scoop. Tease them and then create a link to a page where they can GIVE YOU THEIR MONEY. Let them know they are going to be the FIRST TO HAVE IT. How exciting is that?? And give them a little something special for supporting you in the meantime. Make the “landing page” really JAZZY, sexy & FUN. Show the super special parts of designing, what inspired you. What is a LANDING PAGE? It is a special page on your website that you LINK TO THE BIO in your Instagram account every time you POST about that one design to INSTAGRAM. Don’t wait for the customer to SAVE your post. Make it EASY FOR THEM TO SHOP THE LINE. Stop with this I DON’T WANT TO BE TOO “PUSHY” CRAP. THERE IS PUSHY AND THEN There IS MAKING IT SIMPLE & EASY. DO THE LATTER.

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SAVE SOME MONEY FOR GOD’S SAKE

Stop f-ing WASTING YOUR MONEY on stupidly expensive food. That $6.00 matcha drink isn’t good for you. Don’t buy into it. What is good for you is PEACE OF MIND THAT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT ISN’T NEGATIVE. Lack of money is the most stressful thing that can happen to you. You can lose your lover, break a leg, create something stupid that people will laugh at, but if you don’t have dough in the oven, life will SUCK. Make it a habit. Open up a BUSINESS SAVINGS ACCOUNT TOMORROW. Do it after you finish designing. Move $500 over IMMEDIATELY and then add reminders to your calendar to drop $500 in every month. DO THIS NOW. More if you can. Save, save, save. We are going to INVEST that money too, so your money can make baby money. GROW THAT ACCOUNT BABY.

LET THOSE DAMN HATERS HATE

It’s their job. That is what they do. Haters are going to HATE. It’s GREAT to have haters. Why? Because you are actually doing something that get’s noticed. Hater’s don’t hate on something that isn’t getting any attention. Why? BECAUSE HATERS DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT HATE. That is how they get their ATTENTION. MORE MONEY, MORE HATERS. That’s okay. Hell, some brands actually pay to have more HATERS. It’s called Facebook and Instagram ADVERTISING.

CHILL YOUR ROLL. TAKE A BREAK.

Every day make sure you do something ridiculously extravagant and/or luxurious. GO AHEAD WASTE SOME TIME. Whatever that means to you. A pedicure, a bike ride, a hello fresh meal with your partner. This business building thing is NOT A RACE. It is YOUR LIFE and you need to enjoy YOUR LIFE. So make some time every day to do something fun that you enjoy. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. Just do it. Just like you design, you also  take time to RELAX every day.

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IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY – MY ASS

Anytime you can call out some creep ass KNOCK OFF cheater brand copying your original designs DO IT. Make them feel like what they are GREEDY, UNORIGINAL A-HOLES. That’s right. Call them out. Call them out in public in a CLEVER AND FUN WAY. Like you care but you don’t care. Unless they are HUGE creepy conglomerate – a dinosaur – looking to stay relevant. Then EMAIL CALL & SCREAM at the CEO & Founder and their BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Remember, however, when YOU are INSPIRED by something to REDESIGN IT and make it your VERY OWN. Best thing to do really is KNOCK OFF YOUR OWN DESIGNS and start a second business in the weird ass bowels of eBay. LOL. P.S. Don’t spend too much time on this and try to design something so ahead of the curve that the market has to catch up. One step ahead baby.

MOST PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS ABOUT HOW FAST THE WORLD IS CHANGING

So, don’t listen to MOST anyone, except maybe people like Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil and maybe me because I have made it my business to stay RELEVANT, ahead of the CURVE and on top of my game.  I AM FASCINATED WITH CHANGE AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO. NO JOKE. Every business is being disrupted by technology. This includes INSTAGRAM. You have to start emailing  & MEETING with your customers and clients. WHY? Because Instagram may become the old people’s party and then how you gonna find them customers? SnapChat?

But doesn’t everyone hate email? Hello, people DON’T CHANGE THEIR EMAILS. Some still hang on to their freaking yahoo and aol accounts. Emails are a tighter connection. Better YET get the cell phones of your VIP customers and take them to DINNER. Just, whatever you do, DON’T BE BORING. Create an email you WISH SOMEONE WOULD SEND YOU.

GROW UP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS OR KEEP ATTRACTING THE YOUNG GUNS

Yeah, your 25-year-old Insta-hottie is going to have a baby and all of a sudden that cropped off the shoulder number isn’t going hide her love handles and/or mother belt.  Oh, am I “body shaming”? Read the HATERS note above.  This is reality. Have a plan as to how you will keep moving forward with your biggest fans now or the babies coming down the pike.

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EVERYONE IS GOING TO WANT A BIG BITE OF YOU. CHOOSE YOUR PACK WISELY

Why? Cause your haute, hot, HOT right now. Yup. Especially the has-beens and the wannabes.  Be DISCERNING. Be choosy. Be SUPER SELECTIVE about who you chill with. Why? Because if you hang with the reckless and wild, you will become reckless and wilder. If you chill with the sorry asses, you, in turn, will be a sadder one. EVERY dedicated entrepreneur experiences a bit of FOMO at times. There should be a LONELY HEARTS CLUB MEETUP for those building something big. Get out, dance, laugh and then get back to work. That BULL SHIT ABOUT WORKING HARD & PLAYING HARD is for drunks and trust fund IDIOTS without a purpose. Balance your work and play and stay away from the MDMA. Seriously, it’s not worth the emotional roller coaster ride.  Get HIGH ON LIFE.

SELECT WHO YOU WANT TO DO BUSINESS & SCREW THE 15 MINS OF FAME

Stop getting so flattered every time someone wants to COLLAB or PARTNER WITH YOU. You are WORKING YOUR ASS OFF and deserve to be noticed. Say NO to anyone not willing to collaborate with respect or who brings their headaches to the table. You have enough of your own problems to solve. If it’s not a HELL YEAH immediately than it’s a F NO. If you have to THINK about whether you want to sleep with someone, then it’s A F NO and collaborating is a lot like sleeping with someone. Create a list TODAY of the discerning people or businesses you want to align yourself with. SAY NO to anyone else who reaches out. Say it nicely. Always be kind. Kind always works. 

You WON’T MISS OUT. Andy Warhol was WRONG and RIDICULOUS about that 15 minutes of FAME. Not true. Most people remain anonymous their whole lives. You may never be famous. Who cares? It’s better to BE GREAT.

KNOW WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU

Stop measuring your success by other people’s stupid ideas of success. SUCCESS IS SIMPLY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Life is short. Everything else is BS.

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IT ALWAYS TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK.

Whether it’s sex with an ex or a check-up at the dentist or building your first prototype or sample. So STOP with the anxiousness.  IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS. Even Google, the FASTEST growing business in the history of the world took 15 years to become a GIANT. SO SLOW THE HELL DOWN.

Best Practices for Brand Publishing Part 1

Brand Awareness, brand publishing, branded content, editorial know how, reputation management, the future of branding

brand-journalism-typewriterYes you can write, film, photograph and post on your blog or you can do something even more exciting and valuable- like start a movement, a community, a tribe that will take on a life of its own while creating a place with a reason for fans to come back – think American Express Open Forum.

Even more beneficial for you and for your brand, this new community hangout will turn into a lab for market research, trouble shooter for complaints and a discover place for service/product problems as well as a potential loyalty builder.

shutterstock_110730098While your brand’s content – blog, video, photographs will be created to acquire potential new customers, it is not a direct convertor of customers or sales leads. Your brand’s blog should be created to build familiarity about your products and trust with your customers. The content you create must be exceptional, inspirational, unique and credible.

The criteria for your content . . .

  1. . . .to be of service to those customers and clients you work with or want to work with in the future.
  2. . . .should help to create customer and client confidence in your services and products.
  3. . . .will connect with those who need/want what you’ve got.
  4. . . . consistently respond to the most frequent questions that customers/clients are asking.
  5. . . .will encourage customers and clients to share their thoughts and questions.

Distributing your brand’s content

Not as specific as a Facebook campaign when it comes to demographics and geographics, services like Outbrain will help to drive organic traffic, supply analytics and help target geographically.

Competitors like Taboola  started out by considering how people consume content and the patterns they follow as they search the web for things they didn’t even know they were looking for in the first place. Taboola will help build your brand blog audience by recommending your content on websites like Time, USA Today, TMZ and Cracked.

Native advertising is the placement of branded content in the content feed of a publication. The placement is matched to the layout of the site but clearly labeled as an advertiser-promoted article. Examples of native ads are Promoted Tweets on Twitter and Sponsored Stories on Facebook.

The trick is to have your shared content be contextually relevant. Delivering information at the exact time that is relevant to what a customer is currently reading and or watching. A leader in native advertising, Nativo  claims they’ve nailed contextual relevance.           

The Art of Sampling

Beauty pr, Brand Awareness, brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, PR Agency, press liaison, Sensorial Branding, Sensorial marketing, social media marketing, the future of branding

 

 

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           Companies often feel weary and even resistant to shell out free products and services in fear of inventory loss, associated costs and the negative connotation that sampling carries; having no tangible, added value. What companies fail to realize is that the customer’s willingness (or lack thereof) to further invest in the brand is contingent upon their experience with the product/service itself. If the hardest part in selling is physically getting the customer to try your product, why not expedite the process by putting the product in their hands?

           Companies should take notes from successful big player brands like Proctor & Gamble and Unilever who are paying supermarkets for booth space in efforts to scale out as many giveaways for new product launches. Sampling is a simple and relatively cost-effective strategy in a world where advertising budgets exceed six figure digits. Consider companies like Birchbox, Nina Garcia’s Quarterly Box, and Allure Magazine’s Beauty Box exposing consumer products in small trial-size dosages to appease risk-adverse and skeptical customers. And if there’s an app for it, you know it’s on the brink of something. Pinchme and SampleApp give any user the opportunity to test trial products for free and purchase those they deem worthy. These business models work in successfully guiding customers into new, diehard and bespoke products they may have overlooked based on price point or weak brand exposure. If people live by experience, then letting them experience your product on their own terms is one step closer then two-steps back.

           Sampling is rooted in striving to transform an individual into a loyal and avid customer. In order to extract profits from samplers, one must identify why that particular product is being sampled (i.e. a company’s best seller, a new product launch or an undervalued product in dire need of exposure). Once the rational behind a sample is made, an execution strategy consistent with the brand’s business model follows. Ultimately, sampling may be the deal-breaker for your product’s survival, especially if it’s very core competencies are physical and sensor-based. Remember, sometimes it’s just as simple as “Try it before you buy it.”

The PR – Tech Paradigm Shift and How to Stay Relevant

brand reputation, building brand trust, Marketing Trends, social media marketing, social networking, Successful Networking, the future of branding

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During a time when the tech landscape masks and molds everything in its path, it’s baffling to imagine that PR is much recently experiencing a laggard affect in its evolution towards a tech-embedded model. As ‘Ad Tech’ took the advertising industry’s helm several years ago, Public Relations is realizing a movement towards a new frontier contingent upon technology’s ability to calculate facts and figures. Therefore, PR budgets can be visibly measured as well as their results, further backed with tangible hard-facts. PR has become something like a science. In order to stay relevant with today’s tech climate change, PR must do what it does best; centralize its methods in successfully communicating magnetic and captivating messages with an authentic, endearing and ambitious voice. Ultimately, think as marketing pioneer and investor Geoffrey Moore does, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” With today’s tech tools, measuring PR costs will allow companies to see the need for word-of-mouth, reliable exposure during an age of overwhelming advertising presence. An environment coded with hyper-exposure to advertising will inevitability, exhaust its members, having them subconsciously veer for something more real and less forced. Amidst the chaos of visual ad overload of 2,000+ daily advertisements, tailored emails and the like, the need for authenticity and depth will certainly outcast itself. As Eloquently stated by Jeff Pyatt, the head of PR at Outbrain featured in Mashable’s recent article, Will PR Tech Be the Next Marketing Frontier?”

“PR has always produced powerfully persuasive content experiences — especially earned media. But what’s changed in the content landscape is that we now need scalable distribution, engagement, and ultimately attribution.”

Trend Spotting & Anticipating Demand

personalized brand experience, the future of branding, Uncatergorized, unique media platforms

How does one go beyond simply understanding current customer needs to spotting trends early and predicting where demand will go? Trend Spotting fascinates us.

One way is to look at customer and consumer trends (lifestyle, workstyle, fads, demographics) to anticipate how to interact with emerging trends.

Another way is by anticipating demand. You should pay attention to what people are looking forward to in the near and not to distant future. Authors can use this information to decide what to write about and companies and brands can decide what to manufacturer and market.

Take a look at what’s powered by Trendrr a New York-based business intelligence platform for digital and social media.

NY Magazine Anticipation Index (what people are most excited about in entertainment and pop culture)

VH1 Buzz Cast and Bravo.TV’s Tweet Tracker which engages fans in an interactive experience that increases a user’s time on page and compliments on-air activity.

PR Prep –Branding for National Television

brand management, PR Agency, the future of branding, Uncatergorized

We are currently working with a fashion/beauty video production team on an international beauty program that airs in Paris, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden. The program also airs all over the web.

The format is brilliant.  Celebrity stylists/facialists/makeup artists, etc  in front of the camera demonstrating professional beauty services. Think Frederick Fekkai as Rachael Ray dishing up at-home buttery blonde highlights.

The missed opportunity that we have found is that some of the top hair/skincare/makeup/nails and spa talent that we have invited on the show, do not have the branded marketing collateral to maximize their on-air time.

Now we aren’t talking about blatant “in your face” branding, we are talking about the simple and sophisticated things you can create to get your logo on camera for a more memorable brand capture. Think of it as “branding without boundaries.”

If we call on you – be prepared

1. If you wear a professional uniform, have your company logo embroidered or screened on the pocket.

2. Brand your combs, brushes, make up tool kit, what ever it is you use to demonstrate your skills with your company name.

3. If filming in your location –ie. salon/spa/store, make sure you have in-store signage in the camera frame (permanently on the wall) so that viewers can jot down your name and Google or visit you.

It could be a branded hat your wearing, a pen your holding, a product you are using with your company name/logo. Get creative and of course, call us for ideas.

Seen in All The Right Places

digital advertising, online marketing, the future of branding, Uncatergorized, unique media platforms, video marketing

Everyone is attempting to create their own strategy on how to use video to increase the quality and quantity of visitors to their site and more clicks to their cart. New startups are popping up claiming to be good at getting your content seen and shared on the right social networks by the right people.

Video seeding technology allows for relevant video using semantic technology to automatically match videos to your respective audiences. Today we were told (by a leading video syndication company) that video on your site can increase engagement and length of time spent with you by 50%.

There is a difference between social video seeding vs. video ad networks. Click here for a decent explanation.

Video Seeding companies

Selling distribution but outsourcing their delivery

 Video Ad Networks

 If you are creating your own video to syndicate consider this:

  • Video should support editorial content
  • Content should spark interest and be enjoyable to watch
  • Celebrities are a huge draw
  • For bigger syndication, stay away from user generated video and/or blatantly branded video
  • Create a calendar of videos to launch that are themed and timed to release around important events
To stay ahead of trends in video, check Reel SEO

The Fascinating Art and Science of Retailing

Engaging Customer Service, experiential retail, retail marketing, Storytelling, the future of branding, Uncatergorized

Welcome to The Lab Store.  Pictured here, a cloud of your favorite cocktail is poured into the glass. Breathe deep. Smell the buzz.

As the production arm of ArtScience Labs, a new retail store in Paris, The Lab Store produces and sells designs that emerge from cultural experiments at frontiers of science, typically involving collaborations between leading international designers, artists and scientists. A breathable energy drinkwhiffable vitamins and an air filter that absorbs toxic gases.

One of our favorites,  The Pumpkin, a new sporty way to carry up to a liter of water, or any favorite liquid drink within a convenient bag.  Designed with the potential to carry very large quantities of water in conditions where clean water sources are scarce, this first edition of The Pumpkin is tailored to the needs of an active urban life.

Their mission – to create and deliver designs that are conceived with ecological and health benefits in mind.  Many are culinary innovations including the foodlab, a culinary experimentation lounge and creative space where you can relax or work for the day as you enjoy the unique culinary experiences that The Lab has to offer.

Sometimes products are so fresh, so forward, so cool, they don’t even need a branding team. They just need a press liaison to share their story.

Read the Crowd

building brand trust, Collaborative Consumption, creative collaboration, Marketing Mavens, marketing muscle, the future of branding, Uncatergorized

 

One of our clients is a social media company that empowers, embraces and connects women around the world. It is a community that was made by the people and for the people. By the way, it took 14 years to grow.

Now, this group of women, this “community”, just can’t hold back. They review everything (products, services, you name it) and they do it candidly. No one edits their comments or cages what they have to say. It’s truly organic and very, very real. Just the way social should be.

After reading our client’s website, one very smart product manufacturer discovered that this community of women (1.5 million unique each month and growing) did not find their product offerings to be effective or worth the money. Ouch.

This bright company did something that not many others are willing to do, perhaps because of their big egos.  They rolled up their sleeves, put their ears and eyes to the pages and listened to the community, rather than fight the comments and criticism, they asked these women on our client’s website, how to do it better.

They asked these women (their potential customers) what they wanted from their products. How could they make a better product for them? What results were they looking for? How much could they or would they pay? And then they went back to the lab and started all over again, developing products for the people and by the people.

Now that’s reading a crowd.