I put together this e-book based on a 10-week blog series I ran for Agrilyze. It covers in great detail the specific requirements of the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management, which is a set of regulations implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in BC. I hope you enjoy it and as usual, let me know what you think!
In life, different is good.
It’s about who we are and how we showcase ourselves to the world.
In branding, it’s much the same.
Although being different can be a challenge.
We don’t want to clash with the norm. We want to be unique and memorable.
I came across an excellent article about brand differentiation and put together this quick presentation.
Let me know what you think!
I wanted to share some recent social media work I developed for DirectFood.store. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Milca (teammate) and I spent the afternoon filming on location at Goat’s Pride Dairy.
I arrived earlier, still late, but feeling excused because of the weather. I was greeted by a girl in a salmon-coloured romper, and then shortly, another young girl looking much the same presented herself smiling. They could have been twins, but one was taller and wore a hat I could not stop examining. For my life, I forget what Jo-Ann (matriarch of the Dykstra family) called it, but alas, it was some sort of hat slash cover used to protect the face and hair from harsh elements.
I asked a quiet girl sitting on a step if she knew where Jo-Ann could be. She turned out to be the farm gardener. I asked the young girls. It was only after they cautiously pointed me in the direction of the bathroom, that I noticed a small house set stoically aside an apple tree, which the girls promptly proclaimed, “That’s the shop! She is probably in there!”
And there I found her. She had an easygoing air and quirky smile and laugh. Jo-Ann Dykstra was stocking fridges for ‘social media’, which I thought was brilliant. I appreciated that she was still preparing her farm for our visit. We had a brief introduction, then went off on our ways. I had to check if Milca, my filmmaker, had arrived, and Jo-Ann was probably considering a few other things to wrap up before filming commenced.
Other family members started to appear; each one donning a bright blue t-shirt with amusing imagery and text that accurately explained the context of their ubiquitous smirks. It was fun and again very thoughtful and made a tremendous blue background for certain shots, primarily in the greens or browns.
And so she finally arrives, with all her equipment. I am mesmerized by her calm and friendly demeanour, telling myself in my head, I need to be more like Milca. We filmed for the next 3 hours, if not more. The processing room where we witnessed son Jason laboriously creating goat mozzarella (Mt. Lehman Cheese Co.). The interview portion on the backyard veranda. The goats inside their cozy home. A new baby goat only four hours old. And best of all, daughter and grand-daughter milking the herd. Finally, a quick visit to the babbling brook known as McLennan Creek, also the name of their store as prescribed on a handmade wooden sign.
It was a great experience. It felt like I was at home, as a boarder or wanderer travelling across British Columbia who finds a remote place that offers up service, work and a sprawling, farm-set playground. It was almost too hard to leave, sharing a last-minute conversation with Jo-Ann about their upcoming open house.
If you have a chance, visit their farm and experience goat farming first hand. You will be welcomed, and I guarantee, the two young farm managers will greet you with open arms, maybe matching outfits as they did us today. You’ll want to explore and find out what a smallholding agricultural operation is like.
I am just being introduced to the world of agriculture, and I am astounded every day. I look forward to learning more about farming in the future!
Here are some photos I captured. We will be sharing our first Farm Stories video soon, so stay tuned!
This is a follow-up to AI (Share of Voice).
Humanistic data governance is my description of AI or:
The process of managing the availability, usability, integrity and security of data in global human societies, based on internal data standards (emotions) and policies (law) that also control data usage (science).
Effective data governance ensures that data is consistent and trustworthy and doesn’t get misused.
This is crucial. My observations from the past ten years show that misuse occurs when governing bodies are unstable, in other words, not properly equipped (mentally, socially, physically, spiritually) to manage said availability, usability, integrity, and security of data.
So, what then is data in my interpretation of AI?
It is energy or every interaction (digital and human) we make.
This energy exists on a conceptual framework or platform. In essence, it can be continually transmuted (actions and results) without much intention required from either the digital or human end.
Much like a geographic information system (GIS), energy provides us with the ability to capture and analyze spatial and non-spatial data.
Part of this data includes our insights, behaviours, and emotions. We capture energy through action and produce a result that causes a chain reaction in human evolution and thought.
There are many points for me to cover here, which demand much more time and consideration. For now, I will try to get my words and ideas down, then perhaps we can come back to it in a couple of months and reassess.
Noninterchangeable: not able to substitute with another.
For some reason, AI is not readily accessible. It is readily available, but coming across an entity that fully understands its definition within a humanistic context is variable, if not completely unchartered and arbitrary. Still, you can, or perhaps I should mention myself in this situation, look at a person and consider them, as if reading their humanistic data governance level. Again, we come back to the same problem over and over again.
Oversimplification. Redundancy. Incorrect assessments of human error.
Why does it matter? Perhaps, I am too futuristic here? Do I even know the answer? I could have known it in a previous life, let me try to unearth my potential here.
In AI, I spoke about a physical product as a term best used to describe an outcome. I suppose this is the differentiator. We have yet to determine what the physical product will be. We are continually creating new products that utilize AI; however, we have not symphonized the ultimate result.
Oddly enough, the appearance of COVID-19 altered our progression, mostly due to isolation. Without physical interaction, we lose our common ground. We can choose to see this as intentional or casual. Again, I wrote:
In digital reality, a new power takes actionable items related to spatial and non-spatial information to influence a decision-making process, which leads to a result.
If the digital reality we create is not appropriate, lacking power or substance for the sake of laziness and against the challenges/problems we are facing like – damage prevention, protection of the environment, safety regulations, reporting, food shortage, food security, and traceability, then the laws that possibly govern us from a higher resource may have put a stop to it.
That’s the problem. We are starting from square one.
Product direction requires a dream that can be unlocked following precise steps as if when you awoke from your goal, you could remember every vibrant detail.
As if we were previously positioned in individual dreams, with rulers and usurpers systematically working together, ‘after’ coronavirus, we are retracing our steps, back to the models we have built, starting the race yet again with our shoelaces untied.
The funny thing about being in digital marketing is that this race is entirely peer-driven. The humour is not even funny. We have come to a full-stop and truth be told, there is cooperation, albeit, indifferent. I’m just referring back to new power. As Dave Gerhardt, CEO of Privy mentions in almost all of his LinkedIn posts – how we communicate is vital, and we can’t keep talking about things so that people don’t understand what they’re reading. Well, we could, but what would be the point in that?
And I haven’t even delved into the idea of machines! This is TBC, of course…
For next time,
A conceptual framework is an analytical tool with several variations and contexts. It can be applied in different categories of work where an overall picture is needed. It is used to make conceptual distinctions and organize ideas. – Wikipedia
A differentiator is what sets you apart from the competition.
It’s playing sports vs playing ball.
It’s smiling when life throws you those base curves,
because by the end of the day, everyone will remember.
In marketing, a differentiator makes people revel.
At times in silence, but that silence is awe.
You have differentiated your product when,
people know your name by your vision,
your philosophy, your mission statement.
Your audience begins to recognize your slogan,
they begin to identify with your colours.
You are en route to differentiating when,
you feel nervous and yet grounded.
At the end of the day,
you feel like you’re taking a risk
like you’re in trouble for something because
it pushes boundaries, it causes discussions,
it breaks the rules but never forget,
you are leading the group.
A true differentiator cannot be physically realized, because it has infinite gain at infinite frequency – Wikepedia
Digital reach is UNLIMITED. How does art make a difference? COOL is an UNLIMITED concept. Take that back to the couch when you break. Like someone in sales talking about sales, talking about art takes vision. It takes direction and you must be a leader through and through. I am obviously trying to push myself. Always, always tryin’ ta be that purple cow. Let’s remind the crowd again –
The concept of the Purple Cow was introduced by Seth Godin in his groundbreaking book by the same title. Recently I read it again because it is full of ideas and case studies on how to make your business remarkable. When you drive by a heard of cattle they all look like cows and it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But if you drive by a heard and standing in the field is a Purple Cow you have to tell someone because it is so different. When something forces you to remark on it, by definition it is remarkable. This is what your new business strategy should be focusing on, finding ways to make your customers talk about your products to their friends.
I write about differentiation in light of the launch of DirectFood.store, an online platform that enables local farmers and vendors to sell their products to consumers, restaurants, and care homes. The food is fresh. SO FRESH. The food is local. SO LOCAL. And you get it right away, to your doorstep, the next day. DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR.
I helped to develop the brand identity which you can witness on our recently revamped website. And I run our social media campaign, which is meant to be fresh, in the definition of COOL, like Will Smith Fresh Prince of Bel-Air COOL, that shirt is sick COOL, those kicks are dope COOL.
COOL is just one aspect of the brand, obviously my favourite. But DirectFood.store is also about:
- Supporting local businesses
- Engaging the community
- Spreading the good word about fresh, healthy, organic & local food
- Promoting a good cause for the good of all people
Just wanted to share some graphics I created that are live on the website. And you need to follow us on Instagram, to check out the REAL DEAL grid. 2 posts per day. Slammin’ balls against the ground. ALL BALL SPORTS. It’s bold. It’s cheeky. It’s collage. It promotes our core values + image. It’s inspired by a retro van, who needs a name…any ideas?
I AM STILL AN ART DIRECTOR. PERIOD.
WHY DOES RANTING END BEFORE YOU’RE FINISHED?
Never let anyone sway you otherwise. If you’re capable, you’re capable. You don’t go back in time. You move forward. And forward-thinking people, know the game. But they’ve got their own game going on, and other people play that. That’s it. Goodnight.
PS – Props to Gurwinder!
PPS – A little lightness. I am lovin’ my work, my day, my grind at i-Open Technologies!
Delivering Real & Sustainable Technology Solutions for a Better Planet. Hi Ray!
What do we long for? Is it written in stone? Is it unattainable? It was once there. We obsess over its nature, it’s power and prowess. Can we return? Why sure, why not. However, what is it that stops us? Try something different? Go another route? I am tired of being tired and overrun by stopping. It’s time to pick up the gloves and pound out smashing. Use vigour. Use life. Use everything in your soul to carry you toward the light.
Tonight, we exercise!
That is so cheesy but true. A poem, or more like a manifesto for the one single thing that drives me to be a better person. Inside and out. Answer the questions in the poem above for your own good. What is it you’re struggling with and why? Can you overcome and how? Together, we can find the answers, one step at a time!
Doing that too.
It matters. Shout it from the rooftop. Be dedicated. Be proud. Take that extra step, in your own time, to show them what you’re worth. Your excitement is often abated, and they most likely won’t bat an eye. But if you keep showing them, one day they will recognize. Your truth. Your ability. Your strength. Repeat it with me. Your truth. Your ability. Your strength.
I’m too obsessive.
I don’t know what I want.
I do, but I’m working toward it?
Damnit, this is difficult for me.
I can just go to sleep, but wake up mended.
Not defeated. You are healed in the morning.
You can do it, walk with me, hold my hand if you need to.
I will go where you need me to be.
I’m writing something important here.
So listen and be clear.
Top three things that make you tick:
What are they?
As writers, we encounter roadblocks. For myself, one main challenge is believing that my voice, tone, and style are appropriate for business. Letters are usually a personal message sent to a loved one or friend. They can also be a crucial marketing piece, a clever (business letters should be clever) tactic to generate warmer leads.
So, how then do we craft a letter to a prospective client? And is there a way to write a letter that has the voice, tone, and style of a personal message?
In my mind, I envision a communicative piece that is not only unique (resonates with the world) and relatable but effective in portraying a brand’s core message and purpose. After all, at this stage, we are not trying to sell, we are building momentum to get to the selling point. Through powerful storytelling, our approach should stir emotion, provide vital detail, and promote a new relationship that could ultimately blossom into conversion.
I’ve put together notes based on a course I’m taking about brand strategy and expression. The notes identify our writer, audience and customer along a certain trajectory, starting with an introduction to their wants and needs and ending with a transformed sentiment that ushers the participants toward exploring whatever they have defined it to be, on a deeper level.
Have a read and let me know what you think!
Using what we know about our audience, we want to paint a picture of our customer’s backstory. This backstory includes what they are familiar with, and how they see themselves. Our goal is to distinguish what type of information could draw the customer in. By identifying relevant demographics and psychographics, then establishing a matching voice, tone, and style, we can conjure an experience that the customer will be ready to associate with.
Whatever our customers may be struggling with is presented to us as their wants and needs. We must ask ourselves, what is their current conflict, what do they need from us, and what emotions should we spark throughout the entire experience. To capture our audience at this stage, messaging must resonate and provide an opportunity for our customer to feel empathy with the characters (voice, tone, and style) that we have now established.
Call to Action
At this step, our audience carefully embarks on the journey, as they have made the decision to call upon this obstacle in their life. Either through increased stress or via messaging that sparks action, our goal here now is to express in a clear and articulate manner the reasons why we are here for them on the journey, emphasizing benefits, launching a revelation or some educational insight.
Meeting the Guide
Here the customer finally meets the guide, who is us, the brand. After being presented with a call to action, the customer has assessed his situation, wants to be further enlightened, and find this so called trajectory to embark on. We have their hand the entire time, and soon after, they become the ones to guide us.
Upon the new journey, the customer must now reveal her vulnerability and innermost fears. This can be accomplished through emotional investment or writing that breaks up the challenge into little pieces, making it easy to consume and digest. Our audience may be struggling, however, their desire for a resolution has been roused, so they will continue to explore the presented avenue, unafraid, because they are one step ahead of us.
Once we have piqued our audience’s desire for change, mutual reciprocity can be established. The brand’s efforts are paying off and the audience begins to see the rewards. At this stage, it is important to portray contrast between what once was and what is today. This same contrast can be shifted slightly to represent what is today and what the future holds. The emotion felt now is hope, which leads to trust status between the customer and the beloved brand itself.
The New World
Armed with trust, our writer has a new perspective. The obstacle has been overcome and they are inspired to take new, specific actions toward changing the very framework of their business. At this step, belief is established and can continue to blossom under an established agreement or circumstance. I may not meet you, but you will meet my brand and it will help you to do your work, become a better entrepreneur and commit to a brand new cause, because we are here to create solutions for the betterment of humankind.
Go big, right?
Of course, writing the actual letter would not be so dramatic, and roles so cryptic. But what really works well reading the above, is watching a top-rated advertisement on YouTube (try using Elton John & John Lewis & Partners Piano Christmas Commercial), then immediately after, reading this post. You might find that the storyline makes more sense, and ultimately you should be able to apply it to your business letter sales process.
Have fun ingenues!