Archive for April, 2015

Are you encouraging a Deletist Culture?

DATE: April 24th, 2015

Marketing professionals have stupendous skills in creating jargon. In this case we may want to pay some attention. The “Deletist Consumer”, a term coined by Aimia, refers to our penchant for mindlessly swiping irrelevant emails from brands. A new study from the Aimia Institute (the research arm of Aimia) reports that 72% of Canadians say they receive useless junk email every day. Frankly, that seems a little low to me. Perhaps Canadians are generous to brands that over mail and under engage.
What’s more 53% opt out of the “the majority” of email communications they receive from brands. 71% have unfollowed/unliked brands on social channels and 73% have closed accounts and subscriptions because they don’t like the communications they received.
Increased use of smart phones makes it a quick swipe to lose the message. Don’t get the research wrong. Canadians love e-mail or updates from brands they love AND send relevant information. In fact, 74% are generally happy receive marketing offers and 55% share personal details to receive relevant offers. So here’s my beef… I already did a whole blog on Shoppers… but here’s a company that has copious amounts of data – from how often I purchased Reactin to my favourite brand of mascara. Now, as my eyes drip and my nose runs in the spring mold and I really need that waterproof mascara, I get the exact same offer as everyone – more loyalty points. The teaser line “A personal offer for Gayle” is a train wreck. The only part of “personal” that comes from their excellent data is “Gayle”. Even the least savvy data can do that.
OK – rant done.
So here’s some advice:
1. If you’re messages are not personal – don’t say they are. Authentic brands don’t sell snake oil.
2. Find the perfect match between frequency and relevancy. This is an art, not a science. Good friends chat daily. Long distant relatives – not so much.
3. Understand the psycho-social trends of your audience. I know – it’s old school marketing – but understanding your audience is still relevant.
4. Whisper. There is a lot more power in a whisper than a shout. If you have a secret – share it to your best customers, it’s human nature to love to be the first to hear.
5. Use social as a conversation not a soap box – conversation means a dialogue between two or more people. Make sure you respond to people who are talking to you. The more personal the better.
Enough advice for a Friday… marketing is an amazing opportunity to share good news with the people who care about your brand. Have fun with it!

Barefoot News

DATE: April 17th, 2015

I have ignored the blog for weeks, the discipline of writing slipping out of my hands as I balance clients, strategic growth and moving. This fall Kevin and I were day dreaming about the next phase of Barefoot. We had seen tremendous growth in the first ten years of the business. It was exciting, invigorating and, well, just a little daunting. As the economy slipped into recession, we re-evaluated our business model. We decided to down-size to reduce management and administrative tasks, building a team that was much more agile and responsive to client needs and, most of all, free to create not manage.

As we changed things internally, we realized our current office space really didn’t work for us.

Partitions, boring walls (even though we painted them bright blue and green), file cabinets (paperless???). Then the train rushed through our office rattling windows, startling Dan’s Gnomes into a tremulous dance and fluttering papers across the desk. I no longer even heard the train — after more than 10 years I had become numb to its movement — but most of our team had not. Underneath the new plaster and carpet the building was over a hundred years old and the train was about 14 feet from our back windows. The whole building trembled when the train would pass. Clients would stop mid-sentence, wondering if they should run for cover.

Then when the UPS man was held hostage to the failing mechanics of our only elevator for an hour or so, we thought….”Hmmmm, maybe it’s time to move.”

So we started the search.

We looked at strip malls…. nope, that wasn’t really going to work for us. Wrong feel totally.

We looked at high rise office buildings…. yeah, yeah — same old, same old.

The, by happenstance, we noticed a little stone cottage in the village of Breslau. Kevin and I had looked at the building more than 5 years ago. It was just a little quirky, but we both were intrigued by the possibilities.

We looked at it again…

We brought our team to look at it….

We met the landlords…

We shook hands…

And then we filled all sorts of green boxes with stuff and moved into this lovely cottage..

office front

The myth we heard about this lovely 19th century cottage is that is housed the first corporate head office of Zellers Canada. While that would be a lovely story to tell… I did a little digging and I don’t think it is anything but a myth. But it may be (and I haven’t been able to unearth any actual facts), that this was the farm house that Walter Phillip Zellers ( who started Zellers in 1931) grew up in, one mile from Breslau (That pretty much works out).

What we did discover was that it is PERFECT for Barefoot.

The cottage’s stone walls are two feet thick and the window ledges are crying for beautiful plants (our challenge is to keep them alive, not proven to be a strong point in the past). There are windows (that open — which is always a bonus) throughout the offices, even the new addition built on to the back is chalked full of windows. And it is quirky — perfect for a creative agency. The addition was trimmed in Knotty Pine — which may have been a fashion statement, but I can’t think when. So we painted over it. Thank you Laird — now the offices are bright and efficient while retaining the history of the cottage.

We are so excited.

Located right in the hub of Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge, the office is so close to all of our local clients. Toronto, Canadian and international clients can skip the KW traffic jams and come through the corn fields … it’s a beautiful drive and so easy to do. We are right by the International Airport — so Ken you can just walk to our office when you fly in!

We have more space than we had on Victoria Street and the space is awesome. Our board room, the full 2nd floor, is a great space to dream, plan and build creative strategies to help companies, organizations and non-profits reach their goals.

Our formal Open House is on June 19, 2015 from 12 pm to 6 pm…. but you can drop in any time.

Join us in celebrating a new season for Barefoot — a season of increased creativity, imagination and focus on doing good for our local community, our province, our nation and our world. Great communication impacts change.