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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at joelkellyATgmail.com

Monday, September 7, 2009

We're moving

I'm moving my blog over to its new home (http://ingenioustries.com/blog) over the new few days. So apologies for any issues experienced while it's in transit.

Video Monday 11: SM/PR for promotion

Once more with feeling.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Video Monday 10

With special guest Ben Boudreau.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What does your work *say*?

What does your art say about the people who buy it?

If you want people to buy your art and hang it in their apartments, houses, office reception areas, corner offices, and so on, you should be able to explain what owning that piece of art says about the person who bought it.

If someone has a party and pulls out some organic, locally brewed beer from their fridge to serve to guests, that says something about that host.

If people arrive and the host is playing 30s jazz on the stereo, that says something about her.

If she has your art hanging on her wall, what does it say about her?

Hugh Macleod
calls the statements that these things make about the person who purchased them and what they reveal "social markers." He says that if you can't identify how your product (or your art) is a social marker, you should give up.

I'm saying that you should be able to articulate, if you intend to sell your work, why it's unique, what it says about the purchaser, and why anyone should care in less than three sentences.

Once you can identify what your work says about the people who buy it, you can figure out how you should write your blog, who your audience should be, and how you can connect with them.

This is pretty much step number one.

It's not just about what your work means to you, it's what your work says about the people willing to give you money for it.

By describing what it says about you in your blog or marketing pieces, it adds meaning to the work that someone else can take and have it mean something to them.

Basically, art is like a child. The artist, or parent, has all these deep personal feelings about the child. Why they love them, why they want the best for them, and there's a rich and important history behind the creation of that child.

Now imagine you had to write a resume for that child so that she could get a job. Suddenly all that history, all those feelings have to be distilled, and in some cases dismissed, in favour of figuring out why anyone else should care.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Links you should check out v2

Here are couple links you should check out:

"The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20."
Great post about the value of ideas: They are simply a multiplier of execution.

"Purely theoretical beer."
Post about beer companies competing to make beer that tastes the least like beer (and advertise it as such).

"Business guys on business trips."
A look inside advertising agency life. Much more accurate than Mad Men, that's for sure.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Video Monday 9: First Steps to Marketing

I walk through a few of the first steps to making a marketing plan.

Read more about Social Objects or "Social Markers."

More about a "Purpose-Idea."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I'm working on these days...

It's been a while since I've chatted about what I'm doing at my day job, so I thought I'd let you know what's going on these days.

Begin Shameless Work Plug:

I'm working on a very cool project called "Going to the Max". Basically, in events in St. John's, Charlottetown, Halifax, and Fredericton we'll be getting people out to roll down hills in giant plastic spheres.

But of course there's more. We're going to have cameras running inside the spheres recording each rider's reactions. These will be played on giant screens after each run, and everyone in the crowd will get to text in their votes for their favourite reaction.

This voting will carry on online after the events, and the top vote-getter will win a pretty sweet prize.

So, essentially, it's four big parties brought to you by Lotto Max.

Hope you'll check out the Facebook Fan Page, follow @goingtothemax on Twitter, and RSVP to your local event.

End shameless work plug.

P.S.: We were out testing the spheres the other day (video here) and it is awesome. Both to ride in one, and see others doing it. Seriously folks, this is going to be fun.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Send me your questions!

For an upcoming Video Monday, I'd like to answer some viewer/reader questions about blogging/marketing.

Send me your questions and I'll try to answer as many as I can in the few minutes I have in a Video Monday post.

Email me at joelkelly@gmail.com

Thanks!

Things you should read

Here are a few awesome articles I've read lately that I really think you'll enjoy if you're into the kind of thing I talk about.

Hugh Macleod on "Random Acts of Traction"

The Ad Contrarian wondering, "Why Can't Marketers Talk Straight?"

Paul Graham on the difference between the "Maker's Schedule and Manager's Schedule"

My mind's been pretty all over the place lately. I'm working my day job, helping some friends sell their art in my free time, and talking about all manner of nonsense in the time in between. But those articles have made me really pause and think, for quite a while each. They must be saying something pretty on the ball.

Hope you like.

Image from Pictures for Sad Children, my favorite webcomic. Check it out, too!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Video Monday 4: Applying the Storytelling Blog Formula

This post applies my storytelling blog formula (story, content, offer) to a friend's blog project. Hopefully this illustrates it a little better and shows how you can approach your blogging projects.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Does tweeting lead to more action or less?


So at last night's Third Wednesday we discussed social media for social activism. Or, more accurately, if doing things like joining Facebook groups or tweeting about a cause even counts as activism.

The discussion was kicked off by some great points by Allison. She suggested that, well, tweeting is lazy and it doesn't really accomplish much by itself, but it's better than nothing.

The discussion was fairly animated, with lots of different points and points of view.

Here's where I stand, and I'd love to hear what you think:

Ala Clay Shirky's points about social media and action, I think that the more people you make aware, the more people you'll have actually do something. This is because you're always only ever going to have a small percentage of people willing to get off their asses. But, if you make tons and tons and tons of people aware (like, by tweeting) that small percentage will amount to a fairly large number of people. So, if only 1% of people who are aware will take action, it's better if there are tons and tons of people aware. So, in that sense, tweeting can help.

BUT: '"Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed," writes Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby. "Once you’ve told people of your intentions, it gives you a 'premature sense of completeness.'"' Link.

So, does tweeting count as doing something or talking about something? Does this mean that some or many of the people who tweet about a cause have made themselves less likely to actually do something, because now they feel like they already have?

But wouldn't people who are likely to get off their asses feel that tweeting isn't enough even if they do send out a couple just to tell other people?

I think I'd still suggest that more awareness could likely lead to more action. Yes, talking about something might make some people less likely to do something, but it would probably make a larger group more interested in taking action. Yes, I just used the words, think, likely, might, and probably.

What do you think?

Image from flickr user Petteri Sulonen

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Traditional" media isn't a thing


Traditional doesn't mean better.

"Traditional" doesn't even mean good. It means what we used to do, for a long time.

The traditional way to cure illnesses is by draining blood, or using magic herbs, or any number of other things that don't really work all that well. Or at least not as good as newer, better things.

But why would we refer to "traditional" media as something worth doing, just because we used to do it?

The "traditional" way to get from New York to California is to ride a horse there. Or maybe the train. Or hey, maybe even to drive. But that's not the fastest, cheapest, or at all most efficient way to get there, is it?

Does it matter if your method is "traditional" or not? Is it good? Will it work the best? The traditional way to lose weight is by eating well and exercising, which is still the best way.

That's all that really matters. I'm not saying that some older ways of doing things aren't still the best ways. I'm just saying that old doesn't mean good anymore than new does.

Also, using the internet isn't new, it's now.

Breaking budgets up into traditional and new (yes, some companies do this) is dumb, too. Break up budgets into stuff we really, really think will work, and stuff that might not, but is worth trying. And just because it's the older way, the way we've always done it, the traditional way, doesn't mean it's any more likely to work.

Buying lots of targeted Facebook ads to drive traffic to a website will probably work. Is that new media, or traditional? It's a pretty simple, tried and tested approach for getting people to a website. It works, I've done it many times myself. But it's also using Facebook, which isn't that old a platform.

So do the words "traditional" and "new" really help us? I'm not so sure.

Thoughts?

Image by Flickr user Otto Phokus

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My uncomfortable infatuation with Batman

Because some people want to miss the point, I need to state here that, yes, I know that Bruce Wayne isn't Batman right now.

So, I love Batman. Like, probably too much.

If you've seen me speak, or have had more than one or two conversations with me you know this.

I'm not a comic book expert, I haven't read all of the Batman books, and I don't know every detail (not even most details), but that's not the point.

My desk at work is decorated with Batman toys and sticker story adventures that someone sent me. I don't wear bandaids that aren't Batman themed. No one who knows me has any trouble thinking of something to buy me because I'm always happy to get something Batman-related.

So, why? What is it about Batman?

It's the character, it's the story, it's the context. It's the fact that everything that happens to Batman, and everything he does, everything he is, is informed by his past.

There's a depth to the character's history, a yearning, a powerful reserve of sadness and hope that defines him.

There could be a Batman book where all he does is go shopping for new Bat-socks and it would mean something. Because we know so much about Bruce Wayne, how he thinks and feels, that we could read into every single thing he does a deeper meaning.

And a Batman bandaid means something to me because of that. It's not a bandaid, it's part of a story. It's meaningful, if only slightly.

Because of all the context.

And the context of Batman, the backstory, the mythos, the whole deal is just incredible.

That's why I love Batman.

Who knows, maybe all this "context" and "storytelling" nonsense is actually important. Maybe we can all learn a thing or two from Batman.

Before you start reading the comments, you might want to go and click the Drama Button. Link via Ryan Deschamps.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Video Monday 2: What's a story?

My second Video Monday post about what a blog story means to me.

Video is shaky at the beginning of this one. Video Mondays are a work in progress.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The keys to a storytelling blog

To get people to care about your blog they have to not care at all about your "blog." And they shouldn't. Just words on a page, after all. They need to care about things much more interesting than that.

Those things are:

The story. The content. The offer.

I'm going to run through what each of these pieces mean, specifically, and hopefully provide a few examples that make sense.

I'm not certain this is perfect. And this mostly applies to blogs that have a key person or character behind them.

The Story
The story is the overall narrative of your blog. It's the lens through which your readers view your work and share it with others.

Is your blog about limiting your net carbon impact on the planet? Then the story is your journey, your struggle, your experiences. Conflicts, crises, resolutions, successes, and so on.

Is your blog personal, talking about what happens in your daily life? Then you are the story. What's happened to you before, what's going on right now, and how that affects what you do and write about.

It's like a novel. The individual pages are the content (see below), and they build upon or draw from the story (what's happened before, what you know about the characters, etc.), but the two are somehow separate pieces of the same book.

The story of your blog is, well, the "point." What do you care about and why are you writing in the first place?

The Content
Each post (or podcast episode, or vlog, or whatever) either builds upon or draws from the story. It fuels the greater conversation about your blog.

This is the stuff you write everyday, that you control. Ideally, each of these contain their own stories that play off of the grander story of the blog.

When someone reads a post, or shares it, or talks about it, or feels something because of it, it's all done through the lens of the greater story. The posts themselves are the content, the story is the context, and they combine to fuel the conversation and help sell the offers.

The Offer
This is the Why Should Anyone Give a Shit? part. When someone reads your blog, what do they get out of it? What can they get out of it? Are you literally selling something they might want to purchase? Or are you teaching them something valuable?

In the case of the No Impact Man, maybe you're just making them feel like they're better people for caring. That's pretty huge by itself.

You can have more than one offer, or sell, too. Hugh, for instance, sells marketing knowledge, keys to creativity, and he literally sells stuff. They all offer you, the reader, something big in return for caring about the blog.

The Combination
So it's in figuring out all these parts and having them work together smoothly that leads to an interesting formula for producing something worth caring about. This sort of combination is what fuels interesting conversations. Gets people talking about your blog, and you, and why anyone should care.

I think.

So if you've got the drive to write, or are tasked with maintaining a blog for your company, you might want to try working out what each of these pieces will be for you, and see what happens.

Examples

J-Money's thetypingmakesmesoundbusy.com: The story is Jelisa's life. We know she's kind of broke, loves running, and has had plenty of hilarious dating misadventures. And she's trying to get more professional writing work. The content are her posts about what goes on in her life. If she talks about running, or writing, it builds upon what we already know about how she feels about those. The offer is that her posts are hilarious, they give you something to chuckle at. And you can hire her to write for you if you want.

Hugh Macleod's gapingvoid.com
: The story is Hugh living in Alpine, Texas, doing some futile marketing and making awesome artwork after having been a traditional ad man for 10 years. The content are his cartoons and marketing insights (often the same thing). The offer is learning about marketing, inspiration, what you can buy from him (plus many more things).

vegandad.blogspot.com: Story -- A, well, vegan dad who wants his family to be healthy and eat great food. He's got a few boys and a brand new vegan daughter, and he wants to share the cool food he makes for them with other vegans. Content -- Amazing recipes. They're usually fairly simple because we know from the overall story that he's a busy guy. Offer -- Great recipes that you can try yourself. And you get to learn that no matter how busy you might be, you can always find time to eat right and cook great food.

Jesse Thorn's maximumfun.org: Story -- Jesse Thorn, 28, is living his dream of hosting a public radio show (and podcasts), despite the odds (it doesn't really make him much money). He struggles, he finds success, and you're on the journey with him of living his dream. Content -- The episodes and blog posts themselves. The things he creates and controls. Each episode of his show or podcasts are framed by the fact that he's young, fairly broke, but having a huge amount of fun interviewing his heroes and hanging out with his friends. Offers -- His shows are hilarious and informative, he asks for donations to support his work, and you feel like you're part of an exclusive club of awesome.

So what do you think?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So I guess this is a beard blog now

Most of the comments on my first ever video post (how exciting and modern!) were about my facial hair. And there were lots of tweets about the beard, too.


I'm not entirely certain how I feel about that (yes I am, I think it's rad), but in any case it brings up an interesting thing to consider.

Nobody gives a shit about your video post, or about the content. The only important thing is whether people want to talk about it.

Sure, people didn't talk about precisely what I'd hoped they would, but they (you) talked.

It gave people something to talk about on a Monday. The conversation about my horrible beard probably made a few people chuckle. Not the video, not the beard, but the conversation.

That's interesting, that's cool. And maybe that makes this blog a little bit more worth coming back to.

Conversation is the point, after all. Rad.

EDIT: See Anonymous's great comment (2nd one down) about this. He/she makes some great points.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My first video post

I'm not going to apologize for how crappy this video is.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The best blogs tell stories

So I’m helping a friend get a little more social with the marketing of his art. And some of the advice I’ve been giving him is that the best blogs tell stories.

They give you something to follow and care about, not just something to return to. The best blogs aren’t easily replaced by another blog talking about the same thing. They make a stronger connection than that. And they tell you that, by reading this blog, you’re doing something. You’re learning, you’re laughing, you’re getting closer to where you want to be, or closer to someone you want to be like. Or someone you just plain like.

So my artist friend is going to take this approach with his blog. It’s going to be about what they don’t tell you in art school. Namely, how to actually make money. It’s just not something that comes up.

It’s going to follow the story of a man trying to figure out how to make money from art. By reading his blog you’ll be following his story. Oh, and you’ll be learning about what works and what doesn’t if you’re an artist. Or if you’re not, you’ll learn about how you could be one. It tells you that if you read enough of his blog you could quit your shitty day job and take up that artistic endeavour you’ve always dreamed about. It tells you that by reading this blog you’re getting a little bit closer to it everyday.

The No Impact Man blog is the very compelling story of someone trying to do the right thing. And it tells you that, by reading this blog, you’re learning about how you can do the right thing, too. In fact, you’re doing the right thing right now by reading it. You’re a better person than the people that don’t read it.

Chris Brogan’s blog isn’t about marketing, it’s a lifestyle blog. It tells you that by reading about Chris, and by learning from Chris, you’re becoming a little bit more like him. You could be just like him one day if you keep reading his blog every day. If you're a mid-level manager at your company and you read Chris's blog, you're reading it because it tells you that you could do the sort of thing he does where you work.

So what about my blog? What’s the story, what’s the point?

I don’t rightly know. Still working that out. Maybe a 20-something working in a fun but flawed industry trying to make sense of it all? Maybe. I don’t know.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So apparently I'm on vacation

From work, and from this blog. I'd like to think I'll actually be having a vacation from work, and I'd like to think that I'll be ending my vacation from this blog.

Because, you know, writing a couple short posts a month is so hard...

I've been sitting on a post for a while that referenced something Hugh had written about how 95% of advertising sucks.

My thought was, well, if someone came into an ad agency and explained that their business produced 95% crap, but that they banked on maybe, hopefully, producing 5% of something that was actually worth paying attention to the agency would tell them they're in the wrong business. Right?

So what are ad agencies doing?

What they've always done, I guess. Monkeys in a cage.

So what now? For this blog I mean. I don't know about the agencies thing. I haven't figured that bit out yet.

Should probably start with, what am I doing? What do I need to be writing about?

Vacation's over, time to figure that out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why I unfollowed a couple people this weekend

They weren't posting much that I was interested in. So I didn't feel like following them on twitter anymore.

That is all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My interview about unfriending and unfollowing

I was interviewed earlier today over at Haligonia.ca about unfriending, unfollowing, and managing your social network contacts. Please check out the video here.

Thanks for having me on the show, Giles!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Superbowl half-time shows suck

The music acts are so uncontroversial now that nobody cares enough to be able to hate them, which means nobody loves them.

You only watch it because it's on.

I was reading Stuart's blog yesterday about the personal/professional separation and he said that you have to put yourself into your work. You have to have enough personality that people can actually like you, which means that some people are going to hate you.

Most of us get that in our day-to-day lives, but how many businesses will see it the same way? If you want people to love your company you have to accept that some people are going to hate it. If nobody hates you then you're probably boring. And you're giving people nothing worth loving.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Conversation is the real king -- a continuation

Last week Marc on twitter said that "conversation is the equivalent of a saw...it processes/transforms content but with out the wood the saw is not needed."

I really can't agree. It feels to me like a underestimation of what conversation is and how it relates to marketing especially. The content is the wood, the conversation is the building it makes. The building materials aren't king, the building itself is.

I'd posted a quote from Cory Doctorow stating that content isn't king, conversation is. I suggested that this applied to marketing because content should be created with a view to inspiring and participating in conversation, making the conversation the king.

This was met with some strong disagreement. Some very spirited, uh, conversation.

The content I created was only a couple paragraphs long, but the conversation it sparked continued for days, and in fact is still a subject of some discussion here at the office.

Such little content, such a huge conversation. The conversation has taken on a life of its own, has become so much more important than the content ever was.

To suggest that the content is the "king" here, the important bit, is to totally misunderstand the power and expansiveness of conversation. Carman reminded me yesterday that my little bit of content was my contribution into a much larger conversation about content (Cory had already written about it, and people talk about content being king all the time), and it sparked even more conversation on the subject.

The content itself served only to encourage more conversation. The conversation was the point, it was the goal, and the content was written merely to help it along. It served a larger beast. It wasn't king at all.

So how does this apply to marketing? Well, let's take the swine flu, shall we? Marc suggested that the difficulty in getting people to stop calling it that (and refer to it instead as H1N1) is due to the power of that "content."

But the content is a mere two words. The conversation surrounding how we talk about pigs, the conversations we have at work reinforcing the naming, the jokes we make about how weird the name sounds, etc etc, hold the real power. To change that is to change massive conversation, to reverse the effects of millions of discussions.

The content started it, but it holds no power. The conversation changes minds.

But not all content is created to spark conversation, right? It's just meant to teach, or change minds, or inform. Well, you might have written it for that purpose, but what you've done is created content that's by definition unremarkable. If nobody wants to talk about your content it isn't very good. So sure, you might make content like that, but why would you? If you're creating content to teach or inform and nobody uses that content to teach someone else, or contribute to a conversation about it, or use it in future discussions, you've created useless content.

But the content came first and it sparked the whole discussion, so it's king, right? It's the important bit? That's like saying that because the plane got you to the Caribbean and it started the whole thing that it's "king", it matters most. Of course that's not true. The plane isn't the point, it's not the goal, it just gets you on the right track. It serves a higher power -- a vacation. And the value in vacations is, oh right, the conversation.

Tell me in the comments why I'm wrong and I'll write another post.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Content isn't king

Cory Doctorow once wrote, "Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about."

This applies so strongly to your marketing strategy. Is your ad just content, just a message telling people to buy what you're selling? That assumes that convincing people that your product is best is enough. But it's not.

Content isn't king, it's not the point. It's the conversation that surrounds your content that's important.

"But nobody's talking about my content," you say.

Well, that's bad. You should probably do something about it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recent Speaking Engagements

Just trying to keep a list that I can link to of speaking engagements I've done over the last year. Gives me a post I can update as I do more.

"Using Social Media for Social Change" - Session hosted at Mobile Tech 4 Social Change Halifax about how to use social media to gain awareness (and raise money) for your charity or non-profit.

"Going Social" - (Atlantic Internet Marketing conference) How to make your marketing more effective by giving people something worth talking about, and helping to facilitate that conversation

Interview on Haligonia.ca about unfriending on Facebook and managing your social network contacts.

"Unfriend Someone Today" - (Podcamp Halifax) Presentation on managing your social network contacts

While an employee of Cossette Atlantic I gave presentations on social media and web 2.0 to:
Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership
Bell Aliant
Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia

Monday, April 27, 2009

Everybody needs an elephant


So I spoke at the AIM Conference in Halifax this week about how businesses can make their marketing more social. You know, giving people something worth talking about, and helping facilitate the conversation. I thought I'd write about one of my favourite points in the talk.
Everybody needs an elephant.

Well, something like that. This came to me while having a conversation with a friend a couple weeks back. The inevitable and obvious question of "What's new?" got asked, and neither of us had anything particularly interesting to say.

So he suggested that he should just buy an elephant. That way, there would always be something to answer that question with.

"Just trying to figure out if I'm going with an Indian or African elephant."

"Oh, I'm still haggling with the owner."

"Would you believe it? Damn thing's caught up in customs."

You could go on and on about how the paddock construction is going. How much food you have to buy, and on and on. Actually, the thing never really has to arrive.

It's just something to talk about.

And everyone's looking for something to talk about.

People will go to extraordinary lengths to have something new to talk about. Hell, we'll even pay tons of money on a vacation just to have the subject of new conversations.

Does your business do anything that might give me something to talk about? Are you at all helping me buy my elephant? Are you so interesting that you can replace the elephant?

Does your business have a blog that's regularly updating with things I can bring up with coworkers? Does your packaging include funny or fascinating takes on the industry you're in?

If you make cutlery, why doesn't your packaging say how many forks are made worldwide in a day? Why don't you tell me a bit about the history of modern cutlery? When company comes over, I'll have something to talk about.

If not, I guess I have to keep trying to buy that elephant. And that's a bit of a pain. Too bad you couldn't help.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boobs don't sell

There's this ridiculous notion out there that they do. They'll get guys to watch your ad, sure. Hell, they might even DVR it and watch it again.

But to assume that some Pavlovian instinct will kick in, increasing their propensity to buy is kind of silly.

You could bank on that, I suppose. You could hope that guys will associate boobs with whatever you're selling and start drooling and pick your product up off of the shelf.

Or you could remember that what people think doesn't matter.

If it did you could just describe why your product is better than your competition's, or a necessary part of their lives and they'll buy it.

But that's not how it works.

What people say matters. What they believe matters. What they feel matters.

Not what they think.

Boobs don't sell. The belief that buying your product (or better yet, buying into it) will increase the likelihood that they'll spend more time around boobs might do it.

But that's a separate issue. That's the Axe factor. Convince pubescent boys that spraying themselves with some nasty skunk scent will help them live life as if girls will be flocking toward them, and they'll tell their moms to buy them Axe from now on, sure.

That's a dream. That's emotional.

That has nothing to do with showing boobs.

They don't actually think it will happen, but using Axe connects with their need to be wanted by other people.

There's a difference.

Think beer ads versus Axe ads. Beer ads show half-naked women.

But there's nothing about most beer ads that would convince you that buying it makes women like you more. There's no dream there, no connection. It's Pavlovian and empty. There's nothing about that connection that gives a person something to feel deeply.

But Axe sells you the dream of being wanted, special, important. That's fulfillment and emotional, and something worth striving for.

Those kids aren't buying deodorant, they're buying desirability.

Know the difference.

Monday, April 20, 2009

You're probably trying to sell the wrong thing

Apple doesn't sell computers or phones.

They sell pieces of the future.

That's why people buy them.

That's why their competition can't actually compete with them and keep making ads that suggest they make phones or computers or whatever as good or better as Apple does.

Well fine, who knows, maybe they do. But nobody cares because that's not what Apple was selling in the first place.

There's a reason people called the iPhone the Jesus Phone, both fans and haters. Because that's how people felt about it. Like they were holding something completely unrelated to a phone. They weren't holding technology. They were holding something spiritual, something they'd assumed was unattainable.

And the haters saw this and mocked them for thinking so highly of a phone. As if it had anything to do with making calls.

They were holding a piece of the future in their hands, and everything else seemed like an antique in comparison.

Blackberries, by contrast, aren't selling you the future. And they're certainly not selling you a phone, either. They're selling you professionalism and formality. That's why people buy them, because it's the closest thing you'll ever get to having a corner office downtown.

And that's why when Blackberry tried to compete with the iPhone they failed miserably. Who the hell wants a shiny bit of technology from them? Nobody. In fact, Blackberry trying to sell the future is off-putting at best.

So when Microsoft says, hey, don't buy a Mac, you can get the same functionality from us, for cheaper, you can do the same things with a PC, it just sounds empty. It doesn't mean anything.

Why? Because Microsoft is selling efficiency and cost, and Apple is selling the future.

People buy PCs because they can't afford to buy the future, or aren't interested in owning it. Or they think that Apple trying to construct the future just makes their products cumbersome and overly flashy (to the detriment of user-experience).

So what are you selling? If you describe your business as selling a product or a service, you're probably doing it wrong.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

HOW-TO Unfriend IRL

So I've already showed you how to unfriend people on Facebook, how to remove Twitter followers, and how to make your coworkers not like you, but how do you unfriend people in real life?

It's easy to get people to stop talking to you anymore -- just make them enemies. But that's indelicate and can make things overly awkward. What if you're forced to see them again? Wouldn't you prefer that they just feel uncomfortable around you and want to leave the party?

Step 1: Delay responses to their messages.
As you know them personally, they're probably still friends with you on Facebook. If they write on your wall, or send you a message, or even just email you, make sure you take at least two days to respond. When you do, write something like, "Sorry, been busy." Then write a very brief, straightforward response to any question they've asked. Do not ask about them.

Avoid emoticons.
They send mixed signals.

Step 2: Openly *not* invite them to things
Obviously you've stopped inviting them to social engagements by now, but if they don't know they haven't been invited they won't get the point. Make the event public on Facebook, post it to your profile, but do not invite them. If they ask, respond with, "Sorry, missed your name in the list." And nothing else.

Step 3: Always have another thing
They may invite you to an event or two, in an effort to maintain the friendship they treasure and see breaking down before them. But always have another thing. If you're talking to them on the phone, sound sincerely disappointed you can't make it to their event, but offer no suggestion of rescheduling, and do not invite them to your event. This can be difficult, but you'll know it's worth it by the quiver of grief in their voice.

Step 4: Prefer strangers
If you see them at a party, be obvious about being more interested in meeting new people than spending time with an old, still emotionally invested friend.

Step 5: Pretend nothing's wrong
This is the final, and most important step. Pretend you haven't changed, they have. If they ever ask what's going on between you two, make sure you frame every response as if you've been the one hurt. If they ask why they weren't invited to your party, say, "I was just getting the impression you wouldn't be interested."

This will deeply confuse and hurt them.

Soon, they'll stop asking at all.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Landlord Lou! (Shameless Work-related Plug)

Plug for work stuff:
We just launched the new Landlord Lou site and videos for Killam Properties. It's really funny, I promise: Book Now or Live in a Dump!

My previous favourite Landlord Lou campaign, "Blockbusters," is here: http://www.landlordlou.ca/blockbuster/

Saturday, March 21, 2009

HOW-TO Make friends at the office -- UPDATED

So I've already told you how to dress business casual at work, and now it's time to throw down a little wisdom about making friends at the office.

It can be a grueling thing to do, as most people are kind of, well, boring, you know?

But it's important to try because someday you might need them for something. Like money or drugs.*

Step one: Assert yourself.

Find someone in upper management whose personality you find abrasive and show them what's what. When they try to be nice and ask you if you'd like to join them and their colleagues for lunch, say, "yeah.... not so much."

Then they'll know that you make the calls around here. They won't make the same mistake again.

Step two: Be a little coy with the women.

Some days the office will be a little quieter while your coworkers are out "making deals," or sleeping in. If you sit near a member of the opposite sex, make sure you respond to their comments about how quiet the office is by saying, "yeah, there's no one here to hear you scream."

The silence is golden and laced with friendship.

Step three: Have priorities and make sure people know them.

If anyone asks you a work-related question, make sure you say, "shhhh, I'm watching a YouTube."

Step four: Don't listen a single thing I say.

Seriously, I've done every one of these things and @a__money and @pirie can attest that it's not helping in the friend-making department. But what would those jerks know?

*Like alcohol or Benylin Night

UPDATED: @a__money reminded me of another piece of advice I should pass along:
Step five: Know how to put people in a good mood.

People can be a little testy on Monday morning, so make sure you're able get the day off to a great start. I recommend having a "pump up" song to get everybody smiling as you set off on another busy week. Here's the song I play a few times a day to make sure office morale stays high.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Hiring Announcement

I don't normally talk about my day job here specifically, but I thought this would be cool to show you.

Colour, my new employer (yes, the website is a single page of Flash... I know.) has announced my hiring and @pirie's appointment to Vice President, Social Media using a social media news release. Traditional press releases are difficult to parse if you're just looking for some quick facts or quotes or pictures, are annoying to post to social networks (as they're so often just PDFs), and are typically lenghty reads when you're just trying to find out what the main point is.

So Colour is now doing all their news releases as social media releases. Check out the latest, "Social Media Growth at Colour Leads to Promotion and New Hire."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

HOW-TO Dress "Business Casual"

I wrote a guest post over at the lovely @aliasgrace's blog East Coast by Choice about how to dress "business casual" for your office job.

2) Jeans. Notice I didn’t says “pants,” or “bottoms.” This is non-negotiable. If you’re not wearing jeans don’t whine about not being comfortable: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Jeans = comfort. Except if you accidentally buy jeans with a button-fly at the Gap because you’re terrified of clothes-shopping and store clerks and dressing rooms and taking your pants off. If that happens (I have this friend who says it can happen and that you shouldn’t judge him!) then you’re in trouble and you’ll only wear them when your other jeans are dirty or something, or you can’t find them because they’re lost in the pile of dirty clothes and sadness somewhere on the carpet of your bedroom floor. Where was this going?
Go check out "Joel Kelly’s guide to dressing sensibly in an office environment."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Social Media Meet Up THIS Wednesday

So I'll see ya there, okay?

5pm on Wednesday, February 18th, at the Foggy Goggle on Argyle Street in Halifax, NS.

Deets and (free) registration here: thirdwednesday.eventbrite.com

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Niche Show

My buddy @nickcalder has a cool podcast called the Niche Show you should be checking out. Two funny guys talking about how to make business work in a world of long tails.

Where have YOU been?

Because I've totally been here, posting all the time, being insightful and whatnot but you've just missed it.

Umm...

Yeah, okay, maybe not so much. I am not going to make any excuses (because, as a rule, I REGRET NOTHING), but I am going to let ya'll know what's going on.

Basically, new, crazy busy and exciting and awesome job. Which is kind of consuming all of my time/mind. Which isn't bad, per se, but it makes the blogging a little more challenging than it had been.

But, here's the deal: This blog, well, I'm kind of tired of the way it was going. Kind of really tired.

New direction: More fun. For me at least. Ya'll might hate it.

Basically, more links to things I think are cool/interesting, more random posts about whatever, etc, etc.

More things that I just want to talk about.

So that's the deal. New posts to come real soon, real often.

Seeya'll on the other side.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My "Unfriend Someone Today" PodCamp Presentation

Sunday was Halifax's first PodCamp, and yours truly held a discussion on how and why you should unfriend people.

You can watch the full thing here in five parts: http://vimeo.com/album/60055 (thanks to @paulwesson for recording and uploading!)

And @philswinney gives a great review of it on his blog, along with a summarizing video: http://blog.philswinney.com/?p=128