February 2014

Five tips for working with small businesses

Generally, by the time we work with small businesses, they’ve survived early development, have a strong sense of who they are, and are ready take their marketing and branding seriously. This is never more true than with small businesses in the fashion industry. But how is working with these types of clients different to others? Here are five tips that worked for us with local fashion businesses, Soul Society and White Rabbit Days.

Before we get cracking, here’s some White Rabbit Days fabulousness:

 

1. Listen

While these clients have lived their brand since they were brave enough to go out on their own, they generally haven’t been asked to articulate it formally, so discussing business plans and marketing strategy is often a first foray into outlining strategy. Our workshops have proved valuable in these situations by giving the client clarity and strategy to build on, and by giving us insight into the business.

It’s only by really listening that you can get a sense of what makes the business different. And, in the end, that’s the story you need to tell.

2. Figure out what they need from you

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Rather figure out why they came to you. For instance, Soul Society already had a great website and really strong branding. What they needed from us was help telling their story, which is exactly what we did for them.

3. Evoke the juice

Find out what makes the brand you’re working with special and communicate that. For instance, Helen, the designer behind White Rabbit has a really animated way of speaking – making up words and cracking jokes all the time – and we used that sensibility across the copy in the website. For example, the name White Rabbit Days comes from the way Helen used to explore a new city with friends on her travels.

You pick a direction, choose a road, a door, jump on a bus; follow the white rabbit (in a non-druggie way) and see where it takes you, what treasures you find, who you meet and where you end up.

4. Be flexible

Small businesses have particular pressures. Often the person you’re liaising with is also responsible for many other things like manufacturing, distribution and accounts. They’re juggling problems and opportunities all the time and this means that you might not have direct access all the time. Once you can arrange it, however, you can make decisions with the client very quickly.

Cash flow is another things that can be difficult for small businesses. Being flexible is crucial to being able to have a good working relationship.

5. Stay in touch

You never know where these businesses are going and who they’re connected to. Every big business was once small – stay in touch and who knows where they might take you!

Here’s some Soul Society fabulousness:

Soul Society

 

Select a brand to go to their Facebook page:

Soul SocietyLogo White Rabbit Days

 

Featured (top) image source

What makes you happy? Do more of that.

It’s quite surreal to get to a point when you no longer get the Sunday blues. No dreaded Carte Blanche music to round off your weekend with that all-too-familiar leaden feeling in your stomach. I find that I don’t mind going to work on a Monday at all. In fact, I actually quite enjoy it – particularly when we’re working on projects that mean a lot to me.

I know you might be harbouring some feelings of resentment towards me right now, so let me distract you by telling you about one of my favourite projects to date: a website for my old primary school, St Katharine’s School, in Joburg.

St Katharine’s wanted a new look and feel for their online presence, and, being an old girl, I felt like I was in a good position to translate the unique ethos and atmosphere of this amazing little school (no bias, obviously) into an online space.

I loved putting the website together, crafting the content, learning things about the history of the school that I’d never heard before (for example: during the 60s, the headmistress’s favourite form of punishment was to have the offender sit under her desk in her office for a given time), and generally creating something beautiful for a place that is very special to me.

What made it even better was the positive feedback that we got from the school, parents and old girls. A happy client is a wonderful thing.

So ja. I like this whole liking what you do thing. It’s working for me.

st ks

[Feature image source]

vine

Rise and Vine! Get the low-down on this micro video app

Over on our Facebook page, we recently launched Vine Vednesdays (Wine Wednesdays are still alive and well, remain calm). Named after a ‘Vignette’, a short impressionistic scene, this mobile app enables its users to create and post short looping video clips.

Why it works

The limitations of time (7 seconds) and editing (the camera records only while the screen is being touched) has forced users to become increasingly creative and to plan their precious moments. The result? Some really original entertainment.

In terms of watching Vines, the brevity of the looping clip makes the app mesmerising.

What people are doing with it

1.Capturing moments: watch cute kittens getting tickled or the view from  parasailing over turquoise waters.

2. Making moments: check out guys pulling off amazing tricks and some slightly bizarre theatrical moments.

3. Dorseying: founder, Jack Dorsey loves to take a selfie (usually half a selfie actually) with a scene, landmark or moment going on behind him. Dorseying has inspired many an entertaining parody.

For a taste of what’s out there, check out Vine’s Twitter account or just keep an eye on our Facebook feed for the best of the best every Vednesday.

vine infographic

Sources: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100807818,
http://eggboss.com/technology/10-facts-probably-didnt-know-vine/

What you really want to say on Valentine’s day

Fancying someone makes you a little crazy. The early stages of a ‘something’ with someone (heaven forbid you actually put a label on it!) are fraught with doubt and tentative steps. Throw in a whole day in which you are expected to create the magic of romance, the swoops of desire and affection, the wonder of finding a soul mate, and it’s bound to freak both of you out. Here are some cards that say what you actually want to say this Valentines day (unless you’re all gooey in love, in which case move along to Hallmark!)

awkward-valentines-card-1 card31 o-I-HEART-YOU-570 o-VDAY-CARD-4-570 o-VDAY-CARD-7-570 o-VDAY-CARD-8-570 o-VDAY-CARD-9-570 o-VDAY-CARD-10-570 o-VDAY-CARD-11-570 o-VDAY-CARD-12-570 o-VDAY-CARD-15-570 o-VDAY-CARD-19-570 o-VDAY-CARD-21-570 o-VDAY-CARD-INTO-YOU-570 o-VDAY-CARD-THING-570 o-VDAY-CARD-TOGETHER-570

Got any great finds to add? Hit us up in the comments below.

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10 amazing social media stats (to make you sound like you know what you’re talking about)

I wasn’t a huge fan of numbers at school. Maths was my worst. WORST. The day I wrote that final matric exam was possibly the greatest feeling in my life to date. Ok, let’s call it top five…

However – as I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve come to appreciate the power of a good statistic. Here is a little fact for you: quoting an (accurate and current) statistic makes you sound like you know what you’re talking about. It just does.

So I’ve compiled a little list of 10 amazing social media stats for you to quote in your next meeting/dinner party/awkward conversation that descends into silence and badly requires you to make words.

1)    72% of all internet users are now active on social media. My mom is one of them. The other day she invited people to like a page. It’s happening guys!

2)    5700 tweets happen every second. Every. SECOND.

3)    As you might expect, the majority of Pinterest users are female, but those demographics are shifting. Right now the divide stands at 68% female and 32% male.

4)    There are currently over 1.15 billion Facebook users, 23 percent of whom log in at least five times per day. (Where do you stand here? More or less? Be honest…)

5)    Approximately 50% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 check Facebook immediately after waking up.  More than half of these individuals check their Facebook pages on their smartphones before getting out of bed. (Guilty)

6)    Instagram now has 150 million active users, and the most followed brand on this platform is MTV.

7)    Facebook users share 2.5 billion pieces of content each day. I can’t even wrap my mind around that number…

8)    Twitter has 560 million active users. It’s not quite Facebook’s 1 billion, but it’s growing at a rapid rate – particularly in SA. Not one to be ignored!

9)    79% of LinkedIn users are 35 and older. Let’s be honest – this is not the most exciting platform. But I know a few people who have been offered jobs through LinkedIn or generated leads. It has its place for sure.

10) 71% of users access social media from a mobile device. So often, in fact, that it’s hard to go to dinner with friends without someone picking up their phone mid-conversation to check a tweet or Facebook update. New game? Upon arrival, everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table. First person to touch their phone buys dinner for the table.

[Sources: Mediabistro, jeffbullas.com and lifementalhealth.com]

[Feature image source]

#Neknominations: Why South Africans WIN at this (ridiculous) social phenomenon

This week, my Facebook timeline has been taken over by two things:

1) The whole “My Facebook Film” phenomenon, which I actually love more than I would like to admit (that emotive music – it just gets me every time); and

2) #Neknominations. ALL the #neknominations.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, people who are nominated by friends on Facebook are required to make a short video of themselves downing a drink before nominating two more people to do the same within 24 hours. The concept started in Australia but has spread around the world over the past couple of weeks.

Don’t let the title of this blog post mislead you. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my timeline fill with people downing drinks in increasingly creative ways. From Power Ranger dance moves to tiger suits, (manual) beer fountains, sheep(ish) farmers, risqué bubble baths and swan dives off boats in exotic locations – it’s been hugely entertaining.

People who are not active on Facebook at all have come to the party, answering their nominations, sometimes most impressively. What interests me is what it takes to get such a vast community of people so actively involved on Facebook, when they are otherwise somewhat indifferent to the platform: the call to down a drink in the most entertaining way, to be watched by, one would hope, by a considerable audience.

Humans are strange creatures.

Don’t get me wrong – I fully include myself in that judgment. Downing a beer and dancing around in a Power Ranger suit while someone dressed as an Arab sits in the corner reading a newspaper, while a cat looks on confusedly? Love it! Play it again! Comment! Like!

But where this social phenomenon really won me over is when people (read: South Africans) starting turning it on its head, harnessing the momentum of a (somewhat ridiculous – let’s be honest) viral movement and adding to the beer-downing-crowd-pleasing nominations the challenge to do some good too.

Most of the #neknominations I’ve watched over the past two days include people handing meals to those who need them, pledging to clothe people in need, give soccer balls to underprivileged kids, or challenging those they nominate to give back in any way they choose. And that’s in addition to the element of the ridiculous that made the #neknomination concept go viral in the first place.

And this is why I love South Africans – a nation full of people who are not shy to look like idiots if it means making someone laugh. People who have such big hearts.

Unfortunately I can’t show you the videos I’ve been loving on Facebook, because, well, Facebook. You know. But here’s the one that started the whole giving back vibe in SA.

The internet of things

Did you know that more things are connecting to the internet than people? That’s right. In 2010, that number stood at over 12.5 billion devices. And do you know how long ago 2010 was in internet years? Flipping ages!

The infographic below tracks Cisco’s predictions of the number of devices that will be connected to the internet by 2020 – and what that might look like. All I can say is, if my meeting was pushed back 45 minutes, and this was communicated to my alarm clock, which then allowed me to sleep a bit later, I would be quite a fan of the internet.

internet of things

Feature image source

Infographic source