The one where Pomegranite meets Saul from Homeland (yes, really)

Liz and I, for the most part, spent the long weekend working on two websites that needed to be launched on Monday. With deadlines met and very happy clients, we decided to leave work early on Tuesday afternoon for a walk around Lion’s Head for this month’s inspiration day.

It was a beautiful winter’s day in Cape Town – all blue skies and warm sunshine. After a brief chat about how work is going (summary: things are looking pretty exciting for Pomegranite right now), we broke into a gentle run on the contour path.

Not having been able to run for ages after two ankle surgeries and a whole lot of rehab, I was torn between the worry that I would turn my ankle on the rocky path, and utter exhilaration at being able to move at speed with the wind in my hair. I felt liberated, powerful, and downright graceful as I darted along the path.

“You look like a donkey newly escaped from a medical testing centre,” Liz observed.

As I said – graceful.

We made our way around the mountain, stopping to admire the view – and Instagram the sh*t out of it (obviously).

As we reached the wider road on the way down, we broke into a run again – this time not so gentle. Hurtling down the slope, we passed a group of people laughing as they sauntered upwards. I spun around to give Liz an “OMG-that’s-Marc-Lottering” look. Yip, full-on SA celeb spotted on Lion’s Head. Exciting times.

Little did we know what was in store for us.

We had reached the bottom, flushed with the exhilaration of the run and Marc-spotting, when I noticed an old couple just ahead of us.

Me: That guy looks exactly like Saul from Homeland.

Liz: It totally is!

Me: No, can’t be…

Liz: It is. It’s him! It’s totally him!

Being my father’s daughter (he would happily introduce himself to the queen – I’m not even joking), I was all for saying hello. Liz, it seemed, was not, which I gathered as she panic-ran to a safe distance.

Thus followed this (not at all embarrassing) exchange.

Me: Um, excuse me… Are you from Homeland?

Saul: Why yes, yes I am.

Me: (Struggling to make words) Um… wow! Um… wow! Um… welcome to South Africa!

(Liz in hysterics looking on)

Saul: (Amused smile) Thanks. Have a great day.

That’s right. The CIA told me to have a great day.

How was your Tuesday?

Question: How on earth are we going to top that for July’s inspiration day? If any of you chat to Ryan Gosling in the next couple of weeks, please let him know we’ll be waiting.

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Sorry, no pics of Saul – I wasn’t THAT brave.

The most powerful marketing tool

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a seminar on one of the world’s most powerful marketing tool.

Is it the hashtag?

Is it blogger relations?

No.

It’s word of mouth.

Being spoken of highly is the single most valuable marketing tool there is. We can vouch for it – Pomegranite has grown leaps and bounds through recommendations.

Other than always, always delivering a top product with exceptional service, there’s no direct way a business can create these positive conversations. That’s why they’re so valuable – they’re spontaneous and sincere. What brands can do, however, is make the most of the good relationships they have with customers and clients.

For us, testimonials are an important way to show that our clients trust us and are happy that they picked us to work with. They’re so important that we have them scrolling on our homepage and they’re displayed on their own page.

There are a variety of ways that a brand can squeeze every drop from a juicy, happy customer on social media. Reviews, testimonials, ratings, interactive content, forums, discussions and comments are all ways of boosting your brand in conversation which is a huge marketing asset. If it’s positive.

Our view? Build from the foundations. Always deliver and be a pleasure to work with.

Check out these amazing stats about word of mouth. They show why social media software company, Lithium, is expected to acquire online influence measurement company Klout for at least $100 million.

lithium wom marketing infographic

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The difference between 23 and (basically) 29

It was Liz’s birthday yesterday. To celebrate, we went out for a few drinks at Beerhouse – a local favourite on Long Street.

At one point during the night, a guy sat down next to me and attempted some pick-up lines of epic awfulness. We established that he was 23. And that I was not.

And then:

Him: So… are you going out tonight?

Me: What are you talking about? I am out.

Him: *Genuinely confused*

And that is the difference between 23 and (let’s face it – basically) 29.

The more I spoke to him (and marvelled at his persistence in the face of open laughter and incredulity of myself and my friends – poor guy), the more I felt the massive distance between his age and mine.

He was studying. Investment banking or something. Yeah, it was going really well, man. No he wasn’t really sure if that was what he, like, really wanted to do with his life. But, you know, did I come here often?

He asked what I did. I told him that Liz and I owned our own business. We built websites, handled content marketing and social media workshops, etc.

He looked vaguely impressed, and I thought – man, we’ve come a long way, Liz and I. From the days just after varsity when we were knocking on doors in Ireland, failing spectacularly to get people to sign up for direct debit orders for charities, and dreaming of the day when we might have a job inside. With a desk and a chair – the luxury!

And here we are, running our own business, working with amazing clients, loving what we do and celebrating birthdays with a few quiet drinks at the local pub.

Don’t get me wrong – 23 was fun. Ridiculously so. But I wouldn’t trade lives with 23 year old me. I’ve heard enough bad pick-up lines to last safely into the next decade.

Bring it.

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School websites: What story do you want to tell?

I read something somewhere on the internet (could I be more vague? No.) that has stuck with me. It said something to this effect:

“Ask yourself how you are different from your competition – and tell that story.”

In the last couple months, Pomegranite has built new websites for three different schools. On the surface, these schools could appear quite similar: they are all reasonably small, private schools within short distances of one another in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.

Yet, walking into each school, you notice a distinct vibe unique to each institution. The ethos of each school is different – and you can feel it.

The trick is translating this into their respective websites. I am a words person, so, for me, this distinctive storytelling happens predominantly through the content of each site. However, some people are more visual creatures, so it’s equally important that the look and feel of each website paints a picture of the character of each school. Sometimes it’s the functionality that sets a site apart – like image animation, online application forms or online payment facilities. But mostly it’s about understanding the story behind each school, what’s important to them and why – and integrating that into each element of the website.

A school’s online presence is hugely important – particularly these days, when the first thing that new parents (a generation with an affinity with the digital world) are likely to do when considering sending their children to a certain school is to look at that school’s website.

When we started building these websites we explored the online presences of a number of schools in South Africa – and abroad, but, let’s stick to our own shores for now. It seemed to be a general trend that schools created their websites years ago when they first recognised the need to be represented online, and they haven’t given their websites a whole lot of thought since then.

Your website is one of your most – if not the most – important marketing tools. It’s time to start thinking again about the impression that your school website creates. What is the user experience like? Does it accurately convey the level of excellence your school cultivates?

What story would you like your website to tell?

ridge school screenshot
st katharines screenshot
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