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Why the internet was invented: Humans of New York

I use the internet every day. My appreciation of the world wide web is mostly from quite a hum-drum perspective. Every now and then, though, I come across something online so awesome that I feel like I need to stop, take a moment, and just be grateful that the internet was invented. And not just because my job wouldn’t exist without it.

Case in point: Humans of New York.

Brandon lost his job trading bonds in Chicago. Without much of a plan in mind, he decided to move to New York and take portraits of strangers on the streets. His mom was chuffed. As you can imagine. But, so far, things have gone pretty well for Brandon. Humans of New York has nearly 4 million followers on social media, and has become a #1 NYT bestselling book.

Each day Brandon walks the streets of New York and takes portraits of the people he meets. The best part? He collects quotes and stories from these people, which he displays alongside their portraits. The blog provides people around the world with a snapshot of the lives of New Yorkers. The success of this project speaks for itself – people are fascinated by these glimpses into the lives of strangers. Myself included.

When I first came across HONY I spent hours scrolling through their Facebook posts. There is so much joy in the portraits and their accompanying stories – but there is also a pain and vulnerability to many of the portraits Brandon captures. It’s just a beautiful snapshot of humanity, really. Do yourself a favour – follow HONY on Facebook (if you don’t already). It’s quite astounding, the poignant moments Brandon captures and the insights he comes away with after just a few moments of conversation.

One of my favourite portraits is of a man in a beanie, looking away from the camera. He leans against a wall with a skateboard in his hand.

“I told her that if she wanted to start over, to meet me where we first kissed,” his caption says. “She was supposed to be here 15 minutes ago.”

And that is all you get. That tiny window into a moment in this man’s life. A man who lives a million miles away. A man you will never meet. But for that moment, as you read those two sentences and look at his portrait which tells its own story, you are connected to him because, on some level, you identify with him. You know what he is feeling. And that, right there, is the beauty of the internet. Of social media. That it allows you to do that.

HONY makes me think. If someone came up to me on the street and took a photo of me right now, and left with one caption, what would it be?

What would yours be?

I'm not too emotional of a guy. People say I have a good heart, but they're wrong. I have principles. The heart is a fickle thing. There's no way I can love everybody. So I'm not even going to try. But I can respect everyone whether I love them or not. And that I try to do."

“I’m not too emotional of a guy. People say I have a good heart, but they’re wrong. I have principles. The heart is a fickle thing. There’s no way I can love everybody. So I’m not even going to try. But I can respect everyone whether I love them or not. And that I try to do.”

4)"What was the happiest moment of your life?" "When I married Joe." "What was the saddest moment of your life?" "When Joe died." "What was your favorite thing about Joe?" "He was oh-so-romantic." "What's the most romantic thing Joe ever did?" "Let's just say that he was good with his loving."

“What was the happiest moment of your life?”
“When I married Joe.”
“What was the saddest moment of your life?”
“When Joe died.”
“What was your favorite thing about Joe?”
“He was oh-so-romantic.”
“What’s the most romantic thing Joe ever did?”
“Let’s just say that he was good with his loving.”

3)"What's your greatest struggle right now?" "Struggle? What does that mean?" "Challenge." "Ah! Being a good grandmother." "What's the toughest part about being a good grandmother?" "Oh, I don't know if I can answer in English. Let me see.. Be Present. Listen. Be Loveful. Did I say that right? Loveful?"

“What’s your greatest struggle right now?”
“Struggle? What does that mean?”
“Challenge.”
“Ah! Being a good grandmother.”
“What’s the toughest part about being a good grandmother?”
“Oh, I don’t know if I can answer in English. Let me see.. Be Present. Listen. Be Loveful. Did I say that right? Loveful?”

2)I asked what he wanted to be when he grew up.  He screamed: "A benny!"  "What's a benny?" I asked. "That's his name," said his mom.

I asked what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He screamed: “A benny!”
“What’s a benny?” I asked.
“That’s his name,” said his mom.

5)"Well there's this girl that I'm friends with, and you know, I like her, but I don't know if she likes me..." "Do you mind if I share that?" "I don't know, if you share it, she might figure it out." "She'll definitely figure it out." "... do it."

“Well there’s this girl that I’m friends with, and you know, I like her, but I don’t know if she likes me…”
“Do you mind if I share that?”
“I don’t know, if you share it, she might figure it out.”
“She’ll definitely figure it out.”
“… do it.”

 

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]

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.

Source
Source
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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

Life on Long Street

When I worked from home, there was a school next door, and the sounds that would drift in through my window were excited shrieks and yells of break-time games and netball matches. (Side note: teachers should get paid ALL the money.)

Now, in our new offices, it’s the sounds of life on Long Street that filter in through the window – traffic, conversations of pedestrians (both foreigners and locals), sometimes singing, laughter, taxis calling out their destinations, people getting on with things. It’s not that hard to choose which I prefer.

Stepping out onto the pavement, there is so much to see and explore on this vibey street. Each day I notice something different that I haven’t seen before, even though it’s been there all along.

Here is a little taste of life on this famous street.

long street 3

long street 4

long street 2

long street 6

long street 5

It's called Long Street for a reason. The right footwear is crucial for exploring.

It’s called Long Street for a reason. The right footwear is crucial for exploring.

Social media trends for 2014

So we’ve all finally got our heads around the fact that the working year has begun, and the trauma of early mornings and no afternoon naps has been faced. Let’s get our grown-up pants on, stay on top of our game and check out the trends forecast for social media in 2014.

Stop following me!

Like we used to hang out in our parents’ cars and play CD’s during their lame dinner parties, teens are fleeing social media platforms where their parents (gah just leave me alone!) are encroaching and are carving out their own social spaces online. The fleeting nature of Snapchat seems most appealing – Fast Company reports that “with more than 360 million photos shared – and deleted within seconds – this company is proving that a younger generation is in fact cozying up to the idea of private moments.”

If you can’t beat ‘em…

Google Plus had a rough start with a reputation for being unintuitive and obscure but an obligatory SEO tool for anyone wanting to please the great Google. Brafton predicts steady growth on the platform and hails its unique features: “Google+ offers a lot of functions that other networks don’t have, such as Communities, Hangouts and the ability to share specific content with targeted groups.”

Content is king

To kick off the year, Mashable asked nine successful entrepreneurs how they are planning on altering their social media marketing strategies in the next six months, based on their predictions for the new year. Here’s what Andrew Howlett from Rain had to say:

“To achieve a deeper connection with your customers, a company needs to engage on a deeper and more intelligent level. Short videos, infographics, quality imagery and polls are all ways to engage deeper. Companies need to look at the content they put out and ask themselves, ‘Is this shareable?’ […] Also, companies need to focus on the fans they have and not the fans they want. If your message is always trying to reach out, you’ll bore the fans that have chosen to connect with you.”

Image source

Make your presence felt: Pomegranite workshops

Why do I love running workshops? Apart from the snacks (obviously), I really enjoy helping people craft their voice online – whether it’s through helping them go back to the core and articulate their brand or teaching them the skills to use social media platforms effectively.

Never before have brands needed to be so personable. To stand out in the virtual cocktail party of social media, individuals and businesses need not only to be competent at using social platforms, but also something far more alluring: themselves. It’s easy to be safe, to hide behind generic advertising speak, but when brands go for it online and show some character, it’s magic.

Brand strategy

We work with small and medium-sized businesses – people who started with a great idea and have thrown themselves in and grown it into a viable business. Often, it’s only when they come up for air to consider marketing elements like a website or social media that these businesses realise how important it is to be able to articulate clearly who they are, what makes them different, and how they’re going to communicate that personality. Clients often want to have a brand workshop before we build their website or run their social media for them.

Social media training

Our social media training caters to everyone, from wary individuals to corporate teams. What I’ve learned is that everyone gets a kick out of becoming comfortable with a new way of expressing themselves. Some of our clients are individuals wanting to develop their voice online in order to make their mark in an industry; some are businesses wanting to use their team (who better?) to represent their brand. -One thing is clear across the board: a strong voice online is valuable currency.

If you’d like to chat to us about booking an affordable workshop, just pop us a line – we’d be happy to see what we can do for you.

 

 

No laughing matter: Launching comedians’ online presence

The way things are going these days, if your business doesn’t have a website, people tend to trust you a bit less – or at least consider you slightly less professional. Even if you get up on stage and make jokes for a living.

Towards the end of last year, Pomegranite was approached by two Cape Town-based comedians – Kagiso “KG” Mokgadi and Angel Campey (yes really, Angel) – who needed websites. Both had impressive Twitter followings, but they needed a platform where people could find out more about them and book them for events.

Kagiso “KG” Mokgadi is a quintessential comedy heavyweight. We built him a site with a subtle boxing theme – informed by his tagline: Heavywieght comic with knockout gags.

Kagisi "KG" Mokgadi website

He was chuffed with the result and had lovely things to say about us. Flattery – it will get you everywhere.

Angel – yes, her name really is Angel – is a relatively new face on the South African comedy scene and she has already started to make her mark. Given the name Angel at birth, she didn’t have the career luxury of becoming a doctor or lawyer and her options were limited to being a stripper or stand-up comedian. After a few test runs in front of her own mirror she chose comedy as it made the neighbours boo less violently.

Angel already had a blog, but she needed a professional website that allowed people to contact her and book her for what she does best: MC events. Comedian. Comedic Writer. Tweeter. Blogger. Opinionater and Converting Oxygen to Carbon Dioxide (Free. Special).

angel screengrab

We had a lot of fun working with these guys and it’s always great when clients love the end product. Just one example of some of the awesome people and projects that Pomegranite has brought into our lives.

Who’s next?

 

Microphone image source

Step inside our offices: A photo tour

On 6 January, Pomegranite moved into our new office space on Long Street. 127 Long Street to be exact. It’s been the best decision we’ve made – after starting Pomegranite. Obviously.

While working from home had its perks (like a fridge occasionally full of food and a dressing gown), being in an office space with other humans just makes us feel… a bit more real.

If you’re in the area, pop in and say hi. In the meantime, here’s a little photo tour.

office 1

Yes. That is a phone on the wall. Also, a cow being friendly.

office 7

Just because this phone is pretty awesome…

office 3

The meeting/workshop area, plus a bit of our desks. And what is a desk without Ouma Rusks? Nothing. That’s what.

office 8

Old school chairs

office 6

Looking towards the entrance – and our desks in the background

office 5

Looking out on Long Street

office 4

And one last time – this guy. Just because.

‘GIRLS’ talks to its viewers in their language

Love it or hate it, GIRLS is back and they’ve developed a great online presence ahead of the launch of their third season, which aired on Sunday night. I’m an unabashed GIRLS fan, so move on over if you don’t smile with fondness at these ladies (I’m a lady, you’re a lady, she’s a lady, we’re the ladies.)

 

girls7

 

Wednesday night

shoshray

The show hasn’t gone without criticism – indeed the above images show a group of well-off twenty-somethings staring at their navels – but if you happen to be a twenty-something ‘girl’, it reflects your messy existence better than anything else out there. It’s refreshing to laugh at your own ridiculous naivety and self involvement through this group of undeniably hilarious characters.

The show’s target audience is of a similar age and that market is online. All the time. “For us, this is an increasingly challenging demographic to reach with traditional means,” Sabrina Caluori, HBO’s vice-president of social media and marketing, told Mashable. In the lead-up to the release of season 3, HBO has made some great marketing choices, reaching viewers through a range of current platforms.

Because the show is so quotable, an early mark online was the ‘GIRLS’ Tumblr page (previously WhatShouldWeCallGirls), which posts a bunch of GIFs, memes and fan-art, allowing fans the satisfaction of in-jokes and reliving moments from the show. Their Facebook page has run a fun campaign giving character portraits through emojis (Shoshana’s signature mode of communication) accompanied by translations. Over on Twitter, it’s a family affair with cast and crew members live-tweeting during the show, and answering fans’ questions after the show, starting with episode three using #GirlsFYI. These strategies have been adapted for emerging platforms such as Instagram, Vine and even Snapchat, as well as the usual social suspects like  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The biggest move so far has been the release of the double-episode season premier on Youtube just 12 hours after its release on HBO.

While the show may not speak to everyone, GIRLS is doing a great job of using online platforms to reach its audience.

Five things I’m looking forward to in 2014

I don’t know about you, but lately my Facebook timeline has been full of New Year resolutions. That and engagements (ALL the engagements!) – but that’s a whole other story! People are looking forward to the fresh start that comes with a new year, whether it’s because last year was crappy, or just because 1 January brings with it a whole set of untapped possibilities.

Here are five things in particular I’m looking forward to in 2014:

1)      Working in a real, live office
We’ve been in our office on Long Street for a week now – and it’s been amazing. While working at home in the early days of Pomegranite was ideal (let me just remind you that we started in July, in the cold and the rain, when working in a dressing gown was more appealing than I would like to admit), being in an office with a bunch of other people, listening to the sounds of vibey Long Street drifting in through the windows, feels wonderful. It all finally feels real. And I suspect that we are going to grow more quickly into the business we would like to be because of this new step.

2)      Finding ourselves
Don’t be alarmed – we won’t be embarking on a trip to India armed with a backpack, fisherman pants and a copy of Shantaram. Rather, with each new project we complete and client we meet, we get a clearer idea of the kind of business we want to be, and of the way in which we would like the business to fit into our lives – both now and in the future. I think that 2014 is going to be a time when Pomegranite grows into what we want it to be. And that is very exciting, because we can decide, in a significant way, what we want our lives to look like in 10 years’ time. We can make that happen – and it all starts now.

3)      Exploring Cape Town on two (working) feet
In 2013 I spent a lot of time on crutches. And by a lot, I mean about eight months over the last three years. By a lot, I mean that, at one point my guns would have given Sylvester Stallone a run for his money. So – 2014 is my year of exploring this beautiful city on two working feet. This year I will be hiking, running, swimming and dancing all over Cape Town…. Just as soon as the biokineticist gives me the green light.

4)      Meeting awesome people

Pomegranite has brought so many awesome people into our lives. We have met jewellery designers, environmentalists, race car drivers, teachers, comedians, architects, property developers, actors, designers – the list is extensive. I can’t wait to see who 2014 will introduce us to.

5)      Whatever comes of tough decisions

I’m going to be honest with you – 2013 was full of some horrendously tough decisions. The kind that make you look long and hard at your life and make some big calls about what you want in life. There have been times when it all just felt a bit impossible. But I think, at some point, the universe has to give you something back. A cosmic noddy badge of sorts to say: “Well done, human, for being brave and for taking those leaps. Here is your reward.” Right? Well. Let’s put it to the test, shall we?

[Image source]

Sarah Gurney

A ballerina and part-time vet: Ten things you didn’t know about Sarah

So a couple weeks ago when it was my turn to do the Friday blog post, I decided to ask Liz some… thought-provoking questions. When her turn came to ask me some questions, she took, what I imagine to be, some pleasure in saying: “Why don’t you just answer the same questions? You know, for symmetry’s sake…”

As you will see, they were not as easy as I originally thought, these questions. No wonder she was complaining!

1.    What did you want to be when you grew up?

A ballerina and a part-time vet.

2.    What’s your favourite thing about living and working in Cape Town?

This city is so beautiful – even the highways are beautiful. I’ve lived here for just over a year and, still sometimes, at odd moments, I’ll look up and see the light catch the top of the mountain or the sea a ridiculous shade of blue, and be blown away that I live (and work) in a place this lovely.

3.    If your life was a movie, which actress would play you?

Mmmm Emily Blunt. I’ve been told I look something like her, and I like her vibe (for want of a better word). I think it’s the British thing. I always like to watch interviews with actors and actresses – they don’t often come off well. But she usually does. She’s less vapid than… others.

4.    If your life was a book, what would the title be?

I would like to say The Pursuit of Happiness but that has Will Smith written all over it. Um… Right now it might be something like These are the Days That Must Happen to You (with permission from Walt Whitman). But… overall? To The Best of My Ability (which may or may not be my primary school motto. Look, it’s late. These questions are hard. No wonder you were complaining).

5.    If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?

I’d like to be able to fly, but I suspect it might actually terrify me. Not a fan of heights. So I think I’d like to be able to teleport, so I could instantly visit someone I miss, no matter where in the world they are.

6.    What song best describes your work ethic?

Gah this is so hard, I wish I hadn’t asked you this question… I have been trying to think of something with a fast tempo and a “go, go, go” element to it, but I think I’m going to go with “Lost in My Mind” by The Head and the Heart. I tend to focus and tune everything out except the task I’m busy with. I am usually the last to know what’s going on in an office environment.

7.    What’s the best piece of life advice anyone has ever given you?

My uncle once said to me: “You never know what bee is biting someone else’s bum.” This is so true, at work and in your personal life. People have their own stuff going on – their own stresses to worry about. More often than not, if they take things out on you, it’s not you – it’s them. Or something else that’s “biting” them. Don’t take it personally. Not an easy thing to learn, but a very valuable one.

8.    Having worked with me for six months now, what is one thing that you think people should know about me but don’t?

You have a (surprising but impressive) knack for figuring out html coding and will often say things like: “Right, stand back, I’m entering the matrix,” or “Yip, I just hacked the mainframe.”

9.    You walk into a bar right now and order a drink. What is it?

Savannah Dry. With lemon. Or… maybe a glass of merlot. It’s always a toss-up.

10.  What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own business?

If at all possible, find a business partner and do it together. It’s much less scary with two. And having someone to bounce ideas off is so important. But find someone you can trust. Find someone who you will be able to have difficult conversations with – because, trust me, there will always be difficult conversations. But, at the end of the day, if you can get through those conversations, be on the same page, and enjoy working together, you are winning. Also – there is nothing quite like the freedom of being your own boss and building something that is your own.

Sarah on her first day of school

So this is me on my first ever day of school. Luckily I’m still just as adept at hiding the fact that I’m nervous.

A thousand words: The rise of the visual social network

We’ve said it before – images and video are becoming increasingly important elements when it comes to social media and your online presence. People would much rather watch a quick video clip than read a whole page of text. And if they are going to read a page of text, they’ll be much more likely to do so if it’s peppered with interesting and appealing visuals.

Just look at the top three fastest growing apps in 2013: Vine, Flickr and Instagram – it’s all about the images and video. The online audience is hungry for visually-rich material, and it is the brands that deliver this on social media platforms that are winning followers and recognition.

A recent example from South Africa is the Soweto Gospel Choir and Woolworths’ heartfelt and beautiful tribute to Nelson Mandela – a video that left me with tears and lasting goosebumps.

The infographic below, created by @ManwthePlanigan, unpacks this shift to the visual in the online space, and provides brands with a few ideas to navigate this ever-changing landscape.

visual infographic

Hamba kahle, Tata. Go well.

It’s a strange thing, to feel so much love for someone you never met. Or to feel such grief on hearing that they have died.

But I do love Madiba. We all do. Because he loved South Africa – in the most remarkable way. The lessons he taught this country – and the world – still bowl me over. Nothing and no one make me prouder to be South African than Nelson Mandela.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I sat glued to Twitter, wishing I had a TV, listening to 5fm until the early hours of the morning as South Africans from all walks of life called in to share their collective sorrow. In a country that is so divided on so many issues, it feels bizarrely wonderful to be so united in our love for such a wonderful leader. A wonderful man.

Each new caller said something that touched me. A young, black lawyer who couldn’t get out of his car, he was so struck by the enormity of Madiba’s passing – the enormity of what he had fought for and what he has given us. A nightclub owner who stopped the music and announced the news to the club-goers, who all stood in silence, together. A white woman in a relationship with a coloured man who was so grateful for the freedoms we enjoy that were hard-fought, hard-won.

As the tributes pour in from around the world, the beautiful things that are said make me feel warm and lighter.

Mark Gevisser captures our nation’s feelings so beautifully in the Mail & Guardian: “The words ‘Nelson Mandela is dead’ feel strange in the mouth today, almost impossible to say, given the unique way he was both martyred and canonised during his lifetime. He embodies a paradox: on the one hand we love him for his humanity; on the other, he already passed long ago from the world of the flesh… In person, he was not notably affectionate, but his image beams a very particular sensation: you just look at him and you feel held, hugged.”

Goodbye, Tata. Thank you for all you have done for us – for South Africa and the world. I am honoured to call the same country home. It is a place I love fiercely. And so much of that is because of you.

Hamba kahle. Go well.

[Image source]

Five blog post topics when you’re stuck for ideas

In order to get your SEO right these days, you need to constantly develop authoritative and interesting content that people want to read and share.

The trouble is, it can be a bit exhausting to keep coming up with ideas for blog posts – particularly when other aspects of your work get busier and more demanding.

Here are five ideas for blog posts that are easily adaptable and have proven to be topics that lead to a *click*.

1)      Top lists
People love lists. Example: “Top five shirtless pictures of Ryan Gosling”. Aaaaand *click*. Luckily, this works for less, um, sexy topics too. Ten blogs to keep an eye on in 2014. Twenty great gift ideas for your in-laws. You get the idea.

2)      How to … in X days/weeks
Giving people a roadmap to reach a goal they’d like to achieve in a certain period of time is always going to be a popular topic for a blog post. How to get real-live abs in three weeks. I would read that.

3)      Interviews
You may have noticed a little while ago that I published an interview I did with Liz on our blog. Why? Well, I had no idea what to write about. So I decided to make her do the work instead give you all a bit of insight into the mind of my awesome business partner. Doing interviews is a useful way to get new content for your site, and to introduce some voices people in your industry would be interested in hearing.

4)      Any useful tools that you use?
People are always looking for tools that would help make their job easier. By using your own business as an example and telling people about the tools that you use, you’ll be helping people out and offering them the kind of useful info that will keep them coming back for more.

5)      Made any mistakes?
So, remember that time we deleted an entire website the day before we were supposed to show it to a client? Ja. That happened. And we wrote a blog post about it because we like to keep you entertained and we’re nice like that. Not everyone gets things right the first time (and if they do, they’d be advised to keep quiet about it around the rest of us). Sharing what you’ve learnt from your mistakes can be helpful to others in your industry – even if it’s just to let them know that you’re all in the same boat, a lot of the time.

ryan-gosling

Because you’re welcome.
Image source. Feature image source

 

 

BIG NEWS: The Long and the short of it

You guys – we’ve been sitting on some big news for a while now, waiting ‘til things were signed and sealed before we told you. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Liz was rearing to go – and I was putting the breaks on until things were, you know, o-fficial. That’s generally how our work relationship goes.

But, yesterday was the big day. Contracts have been signed and sealed and – DRUM ROLL…. Pomegranite will have office space in January! Not just any old office space, mind. Office space in Long Street! I know! Could it get more exciting? No, it could not.

We can’t wait to be a part of the bustling life on this iconic street in the Mother City – or just around the corner from our friends at Chandler House.

It doesn’t even feel real yet, for me. But don’t pinch me. I bruise like a freaking peach.

So, in the new year, come and say hi at 110 Long Street. If you time it right, you could pitch up in time for drinks on our balcony, while eyeing the beautiful Mungo and Jemima dresses across the street (I know, right? Meant. To. Be.).

Yip. 2014 is looking pretty damn exciting for Pomegranite. Thanks for all the encouragement and for coming along for the ride by following our blog.

Onwards and upwards!

The evolution of logo design

A brand is the way that a business is personified in the minds of consumers.

I didn’t say that, unfortunately. Melissa Bolton did. But she’s right. Your brand speaks to people and makes them want a part of whatever it is that your business offers – or it should.

When building a brand, your logo is one of the most important aspects to consider. It conveys the personality of your brand.

Below is an interesting infographic showing you how the logos of famous brands have evolved over time.

What does your logo say about your brand? Is it time for a revamp? What should you consider when thinking about designing a logo?

Well – think about how your brand is least like other brands. And tell that story.

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